In the words of Anathalie Nyiransengiyunva: Every refugee woman should learn how to make and use an energy saving cooking stove


Life is hard as a refugee and accessing firewood to use for cooking meals makes it more difficult.
Anathalie Nyiransengiyunva collecting firewood for her energy cooking stove. Photo: UN Women/James Ochweri

Life is hard as a refugee and accessing firewood to use for cooking meals makes it more difficult. Firewood is expensive and hard to find. Sometimes, children have to walk long distances to the host community woodlots to collect firewood. Even when they manage to collect some, it is sometimes taken away from them and they come back empty handed.

On top of that, cooking using ordinary cooking stones was awful for my health. I was always inhaling smoke, and it gave me terrible migraines and made my eyes hurt.

In December 2023, I got training from UN Women’s partner OXFAM on how to make and use an energy-saving stove. It's been amazing! I only need half the amount of firewood I used to, which means I'm spending much less money. My health has gotten so much better too – no more migraines or eye pain!

While I'm excited about the benefits, I've shared the knowledge with other women, but their busy schedules have not enabled most of them to construct their own stoves. I've now taught my children how to make and use the stoves, and they're using it too.

Now that we're not spending so much on firewood, we're able to meet other basic needs as a household and also be part of the savings group.

If you're a refugee woman like me, I urge you to learn about these energy-saving stoves. They can make a real difference in your life.

Anathalie Nyiransengiyunva, a refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo has been living in Nakivale Refugee Settlement since 2011. Through funding from the Government of Japan, UN Women working with OXFAM in Uganda trained refugees on making and using energy cooking stoves as part of addressing climate change related conflicts.