Lorena cooking stoves help schools cut down costs on wood fuel
In National Management Environ- mental Authority (NEMA) re- port released in 2009 revealed that Uganda loses about 6,000 hectares of forests every 30 days and if there is no action taken, by 2050, Uganda’s per capita forest cover will be zero. Firewood continues to contribute to the high deforestation rate in the country, which NEMA points out as a major threat to the climate, among other effects. Schools are among those that consume a lot of firewood.
Many schools depend on firewood for cooking and this affects the environment. We are happy as Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE) that schools are heeding to use of Lorena stoves that use few firewood. Shitulwa Primary School located in Mbale District, Nyondo Sub- county, Nyondo Parish, is government aided school.
Pupils of Shitulwa Primary School play during their break.
It is one of the primary schools that has adopted the use of local Lorena stoves constructed by METGE as opposed to the three stone stove which uses a lot of firewood to have meals ready for pupils.
“For years we have used the traditional three stone cooking stove. This type of stove consumed a lot of firewood about 250 and more pieces of firewood per week,” Mr Timothy Buyi the head teacher says.
In a month they have to spend about shs120,000 and in a term they have to spend Shs360,000 on wood minus transport costs.Mr Buyi says, this has been worsened by the hike in prices of fuel as they search for wood from other villages because this at times is not readily available near the school.
“We almost use 3 per cent of our total budget which I do not want to disclose,” Mr Buyi says, adding that the funding from government is not enough as the school has so many priorities.
He adds, they cannot ignore the fact that pupils must have meals at school for proper learning because when pupils are hungry they will not concentrate.
“We learnt about the fuel wood saving stoves and we could not miss the opportunity. Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise through her implementing partner Bungokho Rural Development Centre (BRDC), constructed for us this stove at no cost. Our biggest problem of buying firewood will be solved. We are hoping that the money we spend on firewood will reduce as the stove uses few sticks of wood” he says.
Mr Timothy Buyi, headteacher stands besides an energy efficient Lorena stove constructed in the school kitchen by the project staff.
Namatsale Primary School, Mbale District also, is a great beneficiary of the tree planting programme. According to Mr Rajab Wanda the Deputy Head Teacher, the project staff from METGE through her implementing partners were able to construct a Lorena energy saving stove for the school.
“As a school the issue of buying firewood to cook food for about 70 pupils was a challenge. But this stove is wood efficient. We use less firewood and this is now manageable,” Mr Wanda says.