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Low-smoke LPG stoves

Low-smoke stoves improve health and fight climate change

Our Darfur Low-Smoke Stoves Project in western Sudan is benefiting thousands of families who now have a clean kitchens, clean lungs and more money to spend on essentials.

Based on earlier work to bring efficient LPG stoves to homes in Kassala, eastern Sudan, the project is also helping the environment because the stoves produce less carbon emissions.

The silent killer

Indoor smoke caused by cooking on biomass fuels leads to the deaths of over 4.3 million women, children and men worldwide each year.

Over 95% of households in Darfur use biomass fuels (firewood and charcoal) to cook on traditional stoves. The reliance on firewood in Darfur presents mothers with impossible choices. They have to search for firewood where much of the land is desert, putting themselves and their children at risk – wasting precious hours that could be used to earn an income – and cooking the family meal on a stove that billows thick, black smoke that gets inside theirs and their childrens’ lungs, slowly poisoning them.

A Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) stove provides women with a clean, energy efficient means to feed their families. Not only does it eliminate deadly smoke inside families’ homes, saving lives immediately, it also stops the need to spend many hours searching for firewood.

Using these stoves is much better for the environment. They ease pressure on dwindling forest resources and reduce key pollutants by over 95% and energy consumption by 50-70%.

This project will not only save lives but will save over 400k tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years. It’s a practical solution which brings human and environmental benefi ts so desperately needed in Darfur.

Meet the women trading Sudan's first carbon credits

How our cleaner stoves have saved Sudan over 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and earned the country its first carbon credits

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Every 20 seconds a life is lost because a mother like Nafisa has no choice but to cook her family meal on an open fire

Please help us stop the killer in the kitchen and change the lives of more families today

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Lubna Ahmed Hossain, is a 45 year old mother whose life has changed beyond recognition.

“Before the LPG stove I used wood and the traditional three stone fire to cook. This method of cooking affected our health. We had chest infections, coughs. I never allowed my children to come into the kitchen while I was cooking.

“The LPG stove is much faster and much cleaner. The conditions in my kitchen are so much better and we don’t have the same health problems anymore. No coughs or anything. I don’t have to fear for my children’s health. I feel free. We feel safe, happy comfortable. Because the stove is so efficient I also use it to make foods that I can then sell at market to earn a bit more money for my family. The stove is making our lives better. It’s amazing how just one small change can make such a huge difference.”

For over 10 years, Practical Action has been working to find and promote alternative fuel efficient and clean energy cooking options for families living in harsh environments like Darfur – to keep families safe and to reduce the impact of cooking on biomass fuels on the environment. Over the next 10 years we've estimated that this project will save over 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Today, you could be part of the solution and help thousands of people across the world. It costs just £112 to buy a stove that could save lives – a stove that would change the life of a family in Sudan forever. 

With a simple, liquid paraffin gas stove, mothers could cook their daily meal without using firewood or charcoal, which will reduce key pollutants in the environment by over 95%.  It’s a life saving change.

Please help us stop the killer in the kitchen and change the lives of more families today.

Low Smoke Stoves project (LPG)

Our Darfur Low-Smoke Stoves Project in western Sudan is benefiting thousands of families who now have a clean kitchens, clean lungs and more money to spend on essentials. Based on earlier work to bring efficient LPG stoves to homes in Kassala, eastern Sudan, the project is also helping the enviro...

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Improved cooking stoves

Improved cook stoves use one third of the amount of firewood as a traditional fire, reducing household smoke levels.

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Smoke hoods

Sheet metal smoke hoods are cost effective and efficient, reducing indoor smoke levels by up to 80%.

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Smoke - indoor air pollution

More than four million people die each year as a result of inhaling lethal smoke from kitchen stoves and fires. Most victims are women and children under five.

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Blog

Read more about our work in north Darfur on our blog:

Blog listing

From despair to dignity – emergency response project in Sudan

Heavy rain that hit the eastern region of Sudan in the summer of 2016 and flashfloods, caused substantial damage to communities in Kassala state.  This posed unique challenges and exposed local communities to different areas of vulnerability. In response, Practical Action and Plan Sudan, working in the Aqua4East Partnership, a water  project in the region, developed a six months emergency re...
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A new dawn for livestock health in Eastern Sudan

The Livestock Epidemio Surveillance Programme (LESP-ES) aims to improve the livelihoods and resilience to food insecurity of about 427,000 vulnerable rural smallholders in the three Eastern Sudan states Kassala, Gedaref and Red Sea. The planned interventions aim to strengthen the technical capacities of regional veterinary services through achieving three results:

  1. Technical capac...
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Success for savings and loan associations in North Darfur

People living in poverty in the conflict-stricken area of North Darfur face a severe shortage of money for household needs. They either endure the hardships or try to find someone to borrow money from. When it comes to women smallholders, they lack money for inputs and other cash needs in their household’s. To address this problem, saving is a way forward. Those who can save then have funds ...
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Block making machines in Sudan

Practical Action has achieved a major breakthrough in the block-making industry in Eastern Sudan through development of intermediate technology in a rural context and active local participation. In in collaboration with a local manufacturer, we have been able to carve a niche by transforming the old conventional version of the block-making machine into a revolutionary pre-cast block-maki...
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Livestock Epidemio-Surveillance project in East Sudan

The three states of eastern Sudan - Kassala, Gadarif and Red Sea – are among the poorest in Sudan.  Chronic poverty and food insecurity are widespread. More than two thirds of the region’s population live in rural areas and just over a third of poor households in these states keep livestock. Despite Sudan raising more than 15 million livestock in 2012, this sector remains severely under-deve...
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Frequently asked questions

1. What are the problems with using wood fuel?
2. What are the benefits of using liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuel over wood fuel?
3. Why are you not using renewable energy like solar power?
4. Why have you chosen to use LPG stoves in Darfur?
5. Where do the people in Darfur get their gas refills and how do they pay for them?
6. What are the benefits being experienced by women using LPG stoves?

1. What are the problems with using wood fuel?
In Darfur, wood fuel is the most common source of cooking fuel, in fact, every household uses 1.5 tonnes of wood per year. In the areas we are working in for every eight trees cut down, only one is replanted which is causing deforestation and means free wood fuel is becoming more and more scarce. Women are having to risk attack by travelling further from home or buy wood and charcoal that has been transported from towns over 100km away, making it not only difficult to source but also expensive.

But by far the biggest problem of using this type of fuel is the harmful smoke, which across the world causes over 4 million deaths a year through inhalation and respiratory diseases.

2. What are the benefits of using liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuel over wood fuel?
Deforestation in the communities we are working in is meaning women have to travel miles for free fuel or if they can afford it, pay for expensive wood or charcoal fuel - LPG is cleaner, easier to transport/source and is the most cost effective way to cook.

An LPG stove is 40% more fuel efficient than wood and charcoal fire and so less fuel is needed to cook things quicker which reduces the monthly fuel cost - wood and charcoal cost between £15-£25 a month, whilst LPG will costs only £7. This might sound like a lot, but women in the communities where we are working have been able to earn additional money for the household by being able to cook more effectively – so time cooking is less and they can produce excess food to sell.

Finally, LPG emits less harmful carbon dioxide emissions than wood fuel and LPG use in this project alone has already reportedly reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 35,000 tonnes between Dec 2010 and May 2013.

3. Why are you not using renewable energy like solar power?
Cooking in Sudan is tough enough, and whilst solar cookers would be a more environmentally friendly solution, it wouldn’t necessarily the best solution for the women in Darfur. Cooking at night or during a sandstorm would become difficult and cooking would need to be planned around when the cookers are ready to use.

Solar cookers are also inefficient in terms of cooking times and often solar cookers don’t reach high enough temperatures or takes too long to cook the types of food people eat so it’s likely that women would revert to their old ways of cooking.

4. Why have you chosen to use LPG stoves in Darfur?
Our vision is to use the most appropriate technology for the situation. In Sudan, at the moment, wood and charcoal is being widely used and whilst we are aware LPG is not a renewable energy source, extensive field research has shown that it is the most appropriate solution for this project. The Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the United Nations Environment Program state that LPG use for cooking is a solution to slowing down deforestation in Darfur.

LPG represents some significant benefits over the current situation and we believe is the most appropriate solution for Darfur to save and improve lives.

5. Where do the people in Darfur get their gas refills and how do they pay for them?
We always work with the local community – and this project is no exception! The number of stoves that we are placing is allowing local people to start businesses offering refills, repairs and the chance to earn more money through cooking excess products to sell. Part of this project works with the distributors to ensure the supply chain remains efficient so that households are able to buy LPG refills locally.

Because less time is spent cooking and sourcing fuel, women have time to start to generate income through making and selling crafts and other products. Money can be spent on food, fuel, education and better housing.

6. What are the benefits being experienced by women using LPG stoves?
There are some great benefits that this project is delivering– the main one being health and reduction in life threatening illness. In addition women save 1-2 hours per day which means they spend 30% more time with their families, 38% of husbands are getting involved with cooking and 75% reported having a better social status.

‘It may not be our largest project but it is one of the most important: it brings life-saving access to modernity.’
Head of the Women’s Development Association, Darfur

If there is anything else you would like to know about this, or any of our other projects. Please contact us either by email or on  01926 634506

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