Up in Smoke – our funding of Vita’s stove programme in Eritrea.

Since 2007, ElectricAid has been a strong supporter of Vita’s fuel-efficient stoves programme in Eritrea. Our funding of €83,000 over 6 separate projects has enabled this award-winning programme to reach over 2,500 poor, and very often women-headed households – improving the lives of about 12,500 people.

A small Irish NGO, Vita is one of a handful of foreign NGOs allowed to operate in Eritrea, a fiercely-independent state in the Horn of Africa. Funding in Eritrea is problematic.  The country has turned into a military dictatorship, and has become one of the prime “senders” of economic migrants trying to reach Europe over the Mediterranean. One of the drivers of this migration is a policy of indefinite military service for young men.  Neither Vita nor ElectricAid condone the regime in Eritrea; we fund people and projects, not regimes or ideologies.  We are happy to continue supporting the ultimate beneficiaries.  Better conditions at home will ultimately lessen the flow of migrants – building stoves and building up communities is much more effective than building walls and fences.

The stove programme is the good news – with multiple overlapping benefits. It addresses climate change and deforestation, it release women and children from hours of daily drudgery of wood & dung collection, generating more time for productive and educational purposes.  The health benefits are enormous – when the stoves go in, the incidence of ocular and respiratory illnesses automatically falls.  The stoves are also a sign of social progress and solidarity – women are trained as stove construction trainers, to go out and spread the word in their communities.  As can be imagined, there is huge demand for the stoves.

For a more detailed view of this programme, read Vita’s latest report to ElectricAid here.