Innovations and womenIn this series of visual stories we zoom in on inclusive innovations that specifically support women.
Innovations Against Poverty supports private sector that bring innovations on the market to tackle poverty. Let's have a look how the company Eco Group Ltd addresses health and income increase of low income women and their families, deforestation and CO2 reduction!
The problem of cooking
Uganda meets almost 90% of its energy demand with biomass, 10% with fossil fuel and only 1% with electricity (Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) 2016). When it comes to cooking, an important part of the energy
consumption of a household and the country, this is done with the traditional use of wood
fuels. Wood is an energy inefficient source leading to deforestation. Moreover,
the time for collection of wood fuel largely affects women and girls, besides their health
problems around cooking with wood fuels and other negative environmental
Reports of Uganda's National Forestry Authority indicate that Uganda’s forest cover across the country tremendously declined from 24% (almost 5 million hectares) of land area in the 1990 to less than 9% (almost 2 million) in 2018. With forests gone there is also clear indication that traditional cooking methods expose family members to numerous pollutants causing health problems.
The innovative solution
The SDGs, especially goals
3, 5, 7 and 13 respectively emphasize on ensuring healthy lives and promoting
well-being for all ages, gender equality, energy access for all and climate
action. That is why Eco Group limited, an investee of Innovations Against Poverty, manufactures
cook stoves that use volcanic rock for fuel. The rocks, with a
burning property once lit produces and retains heat over long period, do not
produce smoke and are re-usable for a period of up to 6 months when used daily
before they eventually shrink.
Rose Twine, Founder and managing director of Eco Group Limited, estimates that cooking with the rock can reduce household wood or charcoal consumption up to 75%. The company is expanding marketing and distribution of both the cook stove as the rocks in Uganda with the ambition to completely replace the wood fuel consumption and improve the economic and health situation of many families.
About the Ecostove
The stove uses volcanic rock as fuel.
The volcanic rocks burns without smoke and can be re-used by household for cooking for
at least 6 month before replacement.
The solar battery that powers the stove fan can light three bulbs, charge phones and is inbuilt with a radio receiver and thus provides an all-in-one solution for off-grid customers.
Cooking with rocks is able to cut down the cost of household charcoal consumption up to 75%. This is significant in enabling a household to save money to meet other needs.
The product addresses the problem of reducing the increasing cutting down of trees to burn charcoal.
Next to the Ecostove for household use, the company offers tailor made solutions to large institutions such as schools and prisons, additionally reducing the consumption of wood fuel and charcoal in the country.
Meet one of the rock collectorsNyirazanika Rose
“I am so happy with this work because it makes me not fully dependent on my husband. I can earn UGX 150,000 (around USD 40) on a monthly basis which adds to my other source of income from knitting. This enables me to contribute to my children’s education and I can also meet other households and personal needs easily.”
Meet the owner of an Ecostove salespointNakawesi Evelyn
makes me proud to be an entrepreneur, to develop myself and to be independent.
Before I used to work in a nursery school, but after discussing with my husband
we invested UGX 2 million into an Ecostoves stock. Currently we are selling
through saving groups and in the future I would like to have a bigger shop than
the current sales point. Per month we are able to save UGX 600,000 (around USD
160) which is triple the income I used to earn per month.”
Meet an Ecostove customerNakalema Gladys
“I find the Eco stove
easy to use and we enjoy listening to the radio! More importantly, instead of
spending UGX 4,000 (around USD 1) per day on charcoal, I am now spending the
same amount or less per week on charcoal. The savings are mainly used for additional
"This entire value-chain involves women to earn a living to improve livelihood for themselves as well as their loved ones."
- Rose Twine, Founder of EcoGroup Limited