It’s about time to explain a bit more about Sebastian’s project here in Lesotho. Basically, he and his project partner Michael sell very efficient stoves to local people in the rural areas. And indeed, this thingie is truly magic! The Save80 was designed by a German engineer and the name derives from the fact that you save up to 80% of firewood compared to cooking on traditional three-stone fires. At this point, you have to note that one of Lesotho’s major environmental problems is the vast logging (followed by erosion –> loss of farming and grazing areas –> heat periods, droughts etc.) so this project is not only focusing on enhancing the life quality of the Basotho but also on sustainable climate and environmental protection.
How does the Save80 look like?
The stove set is composed of 3 parts: The stove itself, made of stainless steel produced in Germany, four pots and lids and one “Wonderbox”. Although the material is produced in Germany, the manufacturing takes place in Maseru, Lesotho’s capital, and therefore creates job opportunities.
How does it work?
Well, you start a tiny little fire in the stove using only a few dry sticks. The pot above gets immediately hot and you can start cooking right away. As soon as you have added all ingredients, you take the pot off the stove and put in in the Wonderbox (a special isolation container) where the cooking process will be completed. This way, you need much less firewood and you can also keep your food hot for up to 8h.
Why is it so efficient?
The construction itself (one combustion chamber surrounded by an air isolation) allows the immediate generation of a lot of heat with only very few wooden sticks. Trust us, the pot only takes a few seconds to become boiling hot while the outside stays surprisingly cool.
Okay, we got it: You save firewood, but are there other advantages?
- The stove creates almost no smoke, which allows clean cooking inside the houses (mind you, it gets freezing cold in winter here!). Many families report that they suffer from much less coughing.
- It’s comfortable! You can cook standing up which is easier for your back. Additionally, the use of the stove is safe because most of its parts remain cool. This way, the women don’t get burnt anymore (when cooking over an open fire, they used to burn their shins frequently).
- The Wonderbox is truly a wonder: It will keep food and water warm for up to 8-10h which allows the women to pre-cook the breakfast for the family and get up later. An advantage which I, being a dedicated sleeper, would appreciate very much 😉
Is it donated to the local people?
Nope! And that’s a good thing! Atmosfair believes in the principle of “help for self-help” which means that they want to empower the local people. The stove users pay 50% of the costs themselves (in monthly payments) and the other 50% are subsidized by DHL.
Is the project successful?
Yes, absolutely. Michael, the local partner of atmosfair and DHL, started selling the stoves 5years ago and by now, 10,000 Save80s were distributed to local families. In fact, the stoves are very popular and the demand is increasing – so hopefully, the project can be extended. Ha and because we really believe in the advantages of this stove, we use one ourselves on our current road trip through Lesotho and South Africa. A smaller version but we still attract a lot of curiosity on the campsites!
Click these links for more information on the project: