On December 10, we celebrate Human Rights day. This day also marked the end of a 16-day annual international campaign that kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
As we mark the end of this important campaign, we underline the link between firewood collection and gender-based violence.
Dangers faced collecting firewood
Women worldwide risk their lives daily to put food on their family's plates. The blazing sun is too hot in heavily deforested, vulnerable areas to collect firewood during the day. This, plus the fear of being punished for illegal firewood collection, forces many women to wait for the cover of night to walk alone through the forest in the dark, avoiding the noise of larger groups and thus forgoing the protection they confer.
Studies conducted over the past decade indicate that instances of Gender Based Violence (GBV) during firewood collection are as high as 54% in humanitarian/refugee camps settings (Statistical Snapshot: Access to Improved Cookstoves and Fuels and its Impact on Women's Safety in Crises, Clean Cooking Alliance).
Reducing wood consumption
At SNV, we work to develop markets and create access to improved cooking technologies that reduce or eliminate firewood consumption, thus reducing the amount of time women must forage for wood fuel. Several of our projects address the needs of refugee camps and host communities with the highest vulnerability to these risks.
In contrast, for many of us today, we will turn the dial on our gas stove-- let's take that moment to remember how blessed we are and why we are doing the work we do at SNV.
For more information
To learn more about SNV's improved cookstoves projects, visit the following webpage.
Written by Inga Bril, Energy Sector Leader Tanzania.