Helping Women In Darfur Become Self-Sufficient

Women’s groups, collectives, and networks are the backbones of Africa. When women are empowered to work together they can demand more for their daily work and they are afforded more opportunities to thrive and create a better lifestyle for their children and families.

One such project in Darfur is called SAFE, a community-led project for women funded by the World Food Programme. According to the United Nations, “SAFE is a locally-run community project in which participants produce fuel-efficient stoves for themselves and to sell at market. The stoves reduce the consumption of firewood by about 30% and, as a result, the number of times women must fetch wood. The center also produces natural firebrick and plant seedlings, maintains an orchard of gum arabic trees, and organizes training for illiterate women.”

Creating their own fuel-efficient stoves and bricks is vitally important for women as going to fetch firewood is often quite dangerous for women and girls and is detrimental to the environment. Oftentimes it takes many hours or sometimes days for women and girls to get firewood and there are perpetual threats of violence and rape in the forests.

There is a magnificent award-winning film called Carbon for Water that shows the plight of girls who have to fetch firewood for their families. Below is the trailer. It is definitely worth watching.

Sharga: Women in Sharga village, in North Darfur, prepare food during the visit of a delegation of ambassadors of the European Union countries into the SAFE centre.

The SAFE Centre is a project promoted by the World Food Program and currently only run by the local community.

The members of this center make fuel efficient stoves for themselves and to sell to the local markets. These stoves reduce around 30% the consumption of firewood and, consequently, it reduces the number of times that women go to the forests to collect firewood.

Besides, the center produces natural firebricks, plants seedlings, runs a forest of gum arabic trees and organizes trainings for illiterate women.

Photo by Albert González Farran – UNAMID

Caption and information courtesy of the United Nations.

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