Savings Groups Enable Women to Afford an Efficient Cook Stove

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    The "Nyipinje CSL group", found in Kodweso Village, is one out of many Community Savings and Loaning (CSL) Groups located in Siaya County, Kenya. The CLS group is a mechanism to make the efficient cook stove affordable to every household. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    Pamela Omondi from Ng'ura village. She loves to Tembea Cookstove because of its safety. She has a mentally and physically disabled son who used to get burnt from the open fire. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    "Tembea has changed my life." Genevive Akoth, farmer and project employee as a community mobiliser, 33 years old, mother of 3 children. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    Linda Atieno, field officer of the project, 29 years old is giving a training for a Community Saving and Loaning Group. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    “I can save money by spending less on firewood. This money pays the school fees for my two youngest children.” Francisca Adiambo, Nyangera Village, Ugunja, mother of 7 children. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    Since Francisca could buy cows through loans and has her own income from selling cow milk and calfs she is also able to buy fish and to resell these in dried form on the weekly local market. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    The microfinance groups lead to the financial and social empowerment of women, households and communities.

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    Each group elects a secretary who douments all savings and loans in a balance book.

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    The saving and loaning process is transparent. All group members need to testify to each payment and agree on requested loans.

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    The Nyipinje CSL group bought a corn mill which now provides a regular income and enables the women to plan their lives fairly long-term. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    Helen Onma, cookstove installer since 2015, 38 years old, 4 children. She builds 2 cookstoves per day. Since she is working as an artisan her children can go to school. Photographer: Robert Hörnig

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    George Kennedy Oluoch, a very experienced stove artisan, installs efficient cook stoves since the start of the project in October 2010.

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    Transparency and quality: The identification card for a stove artisan gives the customer the confidence that the stove is installed by a trained and experienced artisan.

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    Cooking on the traditional 3-stone open fire consumes large quantities of firewood and results in harmful smoke emissions in the kitchen.

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    Staff of Tembea Youth Centre for Sustainable Development: back on left hand side Jared Omondi Buoga (director).

Traditionally the rural communities of the Siaya region of western Kenya have cooked on open fires, which require huge amounts of firewood. Thanks to community savings and loaning (CSL) groups, however, women can now afford more efficient stoves. This reduces the demand for firewood and thus protects the local forests, which leads to reduced CO2 emissions. Furthermore the CSL groups lead to a financial and social empowerment of women.

263,000 people benefit from better air
people benefit from better air
89% is the proportion of female members
is the proportion of female members
51,000 efficient cook stoves installed
efficient cook stoves installed

The stoves use 40-50 per cent less firewood and are made by local stove artisans using locally available materials. They save households money and the time required for collecting firewood. In addition, the superior, more efficient combustion process significantly improves the air quality within the home, thus helping to reduce respiratory disorders specially of women and children.

In Siaya County 97.5 per cent of households use wood fuels and only 0.1 per cent use electricity for cooking.

myclimate works closely with the local Kenyan Tembea Youth Center for Sustainable Development, which sets up and manages the CSL groups. Over time, CSL groups mature and are graduated to semi-autonomous operating entities across the project region. They conglomerate into women-led “financial institutions” with power to influence decision-making, shape leadership and inform policy at project level and beyond. The methodology of community savings and loaning has leadership components especially for women, as there is always a chair person, a secretary and a treasurer, which are mostly female.

Thanks to the project, I am able to send my children to school and to the doctor and I was able to buy 6 sheep and poultry. 
Genevive Akoth, project employee, Siaya, Kenya

Thanks to this secure method of financing, women can afford a stove, and often have money to spare for such things as healthcare, insurance, school fees or high-quality seeds. On average, fifteen women meet between two and four times a month. The myclimate project partner Tembea subsidises half of the stove price, whilst an interest-free loan is granted for the remaining 1,000 shillings. The women must pay back this loan within two years at the latest. 

The myclimate compensation payments also flow through Tembea into educating local stove artisans in the production and installation of the efficient stoves, training households to use and maintain them correctly, and into campaigns to raise awareness among the population regarding the subjects of renewable energies and energy-efficiency. 

Have a look at more pictures on myclimate-Facebook!


  • 263,000 people benefit from better air and from having to spend less time for collecting firewood.
  • 166 permanent jobs have been created for the local community (60% women).
  • 205 artisans have been trained over the years (52% women).
  • 51,000 cook stoves have been installed so far.
  • Over 1,579 community savings and loaning groups (CSL) have been created with 51,000 members (89% women).
  • 100% of stoves were purchased through CSL mechanism.
  • 70 EUR and 260 hours time (5 hours per week) have been saved in average per household per year.
  • 209,000 t of wood saved.
  • Each stove avoids about 2.2 t CO2 and 1.4 tons wood per year.
  • Air quality improvement in the kitchen: 100% of beneficiaries report less smoke, 98% report less eye irritation, 95% report easier breathing, 90% report less coughing, 78% report less headache.
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