I am Kemisa Grace, I am 29 years old and a mother of three, 2 boys and one girl. I am married though not staying with my husband. The oldest is nine years, 7 and 2 years respectively. I am currently living in Maaji II refugee settlement because I am a refugee from South Sudan in Eastern Equatorial province in a village called Loa.
I am a South Sudanese refugee by circumstances that were brought about by the tribal clashes across South Sudan that didn’t spare me and my family, except for my husband who opted to stay back and keep our property despite the enormous life threatening challenges he has gone through.
We were forced to flee to Uganda because of the relentless torture by government forces who thought that we were hiding the rebels. Many people were tortured and many lost their lives each day.
On arriving to Uganda in 2017, among the challenges that I faced most was the source of fuel for preparing food for my family. I thank God that UNHCR at least managed to give us the basic food that we needed to survive. The only available source of fuel is fire wood that have to be collected from the
neighboring Zoka central forests reserve which is mainly a host community side. Now, we were terribly disturbed by the nationals on that side, many didn’t allow us to fetch the firewood and some women could sometimes be abused.
So that’s how Grace was getting the firewood for preparing food for her family until ADRA Uganda came in with an innovation to improve on the efficiency of stoves by introducing an energy saving stove made from mud called The Lorena energy saving stove. These stoves are built to improve on the efficiency of the firewood hence the food cooks faster and the firewood burn slowly thus saving on the number of firewood used for cooking each meal.
Before getting the Lorena stove, Kemisa Grace was cooking using the traditional three stone stove which consumes firewood in no time.
Grace is one of over 2000 beneficiaries of Lorena rocket energy saving stoves by ADRA in Maajji II, Pagirinya and Bolori, host and refugee populations.
In the same area (of Maaji II),ADRA has supported a community group with briquette making technology, which is a technology that converts biomass into char briquettes. These can act as substitutes for charcoal and firewood. Grace hopes to also try out this new technology in order to save her from the burden of collecting firewood.
Though Grace stills collects firewood from the nearby forests, she’s proud that she doesn’t have to do it more frequently thanks to the Lorena energy saving stoves. Secondly, Grace is relieved of the tiresome traditional three stone stove that is too manual and produces a lot of smoke plus of course burning fire wood so fast.
Grace says, “At least I am now relieved of the burden of frequenting the forest for fire wood, the burden of fear of sexual harassment from the forest. I love this stove because it requires less firewood to prepare a meal, it is very efficient, using one inlet with two cooking stoves and cooks faster. I pray that in the near future I will completely do away with fetching firewood from the forest, and if possible try out the briquettes.
STORY COMPILED BY:
Jerry Kiwanuka ( Environment Protection Officer) ADRA SMC V Project)