When the fight against climate change and positive masculinity go hand in hand in Burundi

Posted on 15 September 2022

In sub-Saharan Africa, wood and charcoal are the main source of energy for cooking. Domestic pollution from the use of solid fuels (wood, charcoal, coal, manure or agricultural waste) for cooking on open fires or traditional stoves is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. It also contributes to climate change due to deforestation and polluting gases emitted during cooking.

FXB integrates adaptation measures to climate change into its poverty reduction strategies, in order to enable the beneficiaries of its programs to anticipate and reduce the risks related to natural disasters.

Through our Economic and community development FXBVillage projects in Burundi, Namibia, Myanmar and Rwanda, we are building community resilience by reducing vulnerability through a number of interventions, including

  • Empowering women, who are disproportionately affected by climate change;
  • Promoting more productive and sustainable agricultural systems;
  • Cultivating environmentally friendly vegetable gardens;
  • Raising awareness of more sustainable consumption, water use and production patterns, as well as environmentally sound waste recycling;
  • Initiation of a micro-insurance system in credit, savings and support groups to enable members to meet costs related to climatic hazards;
  • Use of solar lighting;
  • Use of improved cooking stoves to reduce respiratory tract infections and deforestation.

For many years, our organization has been promoting the installation of improved stoves in the homes of our project participants. Less polluting, thanks to the small amount of smoke they produce during cooking, improved fireplaces help reduce wood consumption by up to 50% and reduce the quantity of polluting gases. In addition, they are made of clay and keep the heat longer.

Last quarter, FXB Burundi team accompanied 200 participating families in the process of replacing traditional cooking stoves with improved ones.

During a debriefing with Gisèle Ndereyimana, Director of FXB Burundi, she told us how proud the families were to have taken this step. She also noted that some men and sons had changed their behavior and started cooking for the family, since they could now do it standing up. With the old kitchen, they had never taken this initiative, as it is considered shameful for a man to sit or kneel down to light the fire.

Engaging and involving men and making them allies in gender equality efforts is also part of FXB’s mission wherever it is engaged.

The installation of improved stoves in Burundi contributes to the adoption of a “positive masculinity” and weakens the chain of patrilineal models that are naturally reproduced from one generation to the next, along with gender inequalities.