On the 21st of August 2019, BLC distributed 35 energy-efficient stoves and 40 shea rollers, used for shea collection, to two groups of women in Burkina Faso that supply directly to BLC. Approximately 350 women will benefit from these stoves and rollers. So far, BLC has distributed 300 stoves and 400 rollers amongst the women’s groups that supply our shea nuts.
The energy-efficient stoves are locally produced by a social enterprise in Burkina Faso: Nafa Naana. The stoves can be used to parboil shea nuts and for general cooking at home. Each stove supports a group of 10 to 15 women.
Donation of stoves is in line with our overall commitment to minimize environmental impact in our shea supply chain. The artisanal stoves improve fuel efficiency as a result of improved insulation, heat transfer and airflow. They burn less wood than customary alternatives. The fuel savings are expected to exceed 40% compared to the traditional three-stone-fire method.
As part of the August ceremony, the women were taught in their local language how to use the stoves. The BLC team received positive feedback from the women about the stoves, indicating that they heat up faster, use less firewood, produce less smoke and heat, and are more mobile than the traditional method.
BLC actively looks for ways to prevent shea collectors from snake and insect bites and scorpion stings and to ease the collection process. Over the past years, the local BLC teams have evaluated the use of shea rollers, rotating baskets used for collection, with several groups of women. Three points stand out:
1. Safety: the women are less concerned about scorpion stings and snake and insect bites when using the rollers for collection. This eliminates the need to collect during dusk or dawn, which minimizes the risk of stings and bites, making collection moments more flexible.
2. Physical ease: the use of the roller makes the work easier, leading to less physical strain. Older women can return to participating in the collection, enabling them to contribute to the family income, which in turn has a positive impact on their self-esteem.
3. Speed/yield: less time is spent on collection. A higher yield is expected, since the shea nuts can be collected faster when rollers are used.
The positive feedback received from the women is encouraging BLC to continue supporting women collectors with energy-efficient stoves and shea rollers.