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Innovation and women

Logo https://interactive.snv.org/innovation-and-women-under-iap

Introduction

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!
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Problem and solution

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 effects.

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.
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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.
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In this video Rose Twine, founder and owner of EcoGroup Ltd Uganda, investee of Innovations Against Poverty, explains about the innovative solutions of the Ecostove and the impact on women.
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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. 
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The solution offered by EcoGroup

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“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.”

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This 360° video shows one of the rock collectors of Ecostove, an innovative solution by the Uganda company EcoGroup Ltd, that is part of Innovations Against Poverty.
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“It 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.”

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This video shows one of the distributors of the Ecostove, an innovative solution by the Uganda company EcoGroup Ltd, that is part of Innovations Against Poverty.
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“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 food.”
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This 360° video shows one of the customers of the Ecostove, an innovative solution by the Uganda company EcoGroup Ltd, that is part of Innovations Against Poverty.
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Conclusion







"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
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