Climate Healers/FES

Project: Mewar Angithi Deployment
Location: Satkosia Gorge Tiger Reserve, Odisha
Category: Education and Environment

New Fire Grates Help Environment

For decades, experts have tried to get rural women to use high-efficiency cookstoves that reduce smoke and fuel wood use. But new stoves are not as durable or functional as traditional stoves and have not been widely adopted in India.

“Enter a small, unobtrusive fire grate, the Mewar Angithi (MA), designed to reduce smoke and fuel wood use in traditional cookstoves. It increases airflow towards the flame and helps the wood burn more efficiently and completely. Climate Healers has deployed over 3000 of these MAs in conjunction with the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) in India. . . . The goal of this deployment is to reduce the impact of fuel wood use on the forest cover of Satkosia Gorge and thus to improve the habitat of the tigers in the reserve.”

–from the Climate Healers/FES progress report, January 2018

The IDS grant enabled Climate Healers to purchase and initiate the deployment of 1,000 mewar angithis this year. The funds were available in May 2017, and at that time, the project faced its first challenge in the form of a competing program that offered free LPG connections and subsidies for gas cylinders to impoverished families. This program was well publicized and generated much interest and anticipation in the villages. With the help of a corporate sponsor, distribution of the free stoves and the first gas cylinders began.

Within a few months, however, the excitement evaporated. The gas stoves didn’t operate in the way the villagers were accustomed to, and it was hard for them to adjust their cooking methods after using traditional wood stoves. Also, though the LPG connection was free, the recurring cost of refilling the gas cylinders was an added expense. In addition, the LPG stoves required adjustments to cultural habits; women, who were accustomed to gathering fuel wood independently (and socializing as they did so), now needed to rely on men’s help in order to transport the gas cylinders back and forth for exchange. Within a few months, the villagers of Satkosia Gorge once again became interested in the MA from Climate Healers.

In December, more than 900 MAs were given to the women of 19 villages within and around Satkosia Gorge. In each hamlet, the distribution process involved demonstrating the use of the MA to the group of recipients, getting all users to sign an agreement to use the MA (users agreed that it would be confiscated if it was not used), and taking a group photo of the recipients with their MAs.

Early in 2018, the initial survey was conducted in five of the 19 villages. Twenty-seven women were interviewed and photographed using theirMAs. Of the women surveyed, almost all were using the MA on a regular basis.

A more detailed survey will follow in August or September of 2018. By this time, users will be accustomed to using the MAs. At this point, the impact of the deployment (i.e., its effect on the forest, as measured by the frequency of fuel wood collection) can be assessed.

IDS Coordinators: Diane Fiksel and Nila Vora
Project Manager: Sailesh Rao

–2017 IDS annual report