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Located in the very remote plains of the Kalahari and still conforming to old traditions and cultures the community of Donkerbos has not been spared from the impacts of climate change. These impacts are very noticeable in the calm and reserved community and their surroundings. It is heightened more when stories of days foregone are told and pictures are painted through words, that one feels the longing for the olden days and some lost friends. Nonetheless, Donkerbos did not sit by and reminisce on the golden olden days but rather decided to do something about the inevitable change happening in the community. .

With the assistance of the Desert Research Foundation funds were secured from the Small Grants Program (SGP) – Namibia for a project titled “Donkerbos community pilot project on climate change adaptation”. One of the project objectives is to introduce the tsotso stove a fuel-efficient stove as an alternative to the use of firewood. The stove is made of galvanized sheets and body of the stove is filled with vermiculite to increase and preserve the heat, in addition to providing stability. The stove requires only a few twigs to make a fire for cooking, heating, or a quick cup of tea to welcome guests. The stove uses less amount of wood to start a fire an intervention that also helps in the fight against deforestation-which at current rates has become unsustainable.  The tsotso stove also provides much needed heat in winter, it can be used indoors during rain seasons and also enables family time around the fire- a tradition valued by many Namibians. The most important added benefit is that it reduces the time that women need to gather firewood and, because there is less smoke, it lessens the chances of developing respiratory diseases.

Four artisans attended a two-week workshop to gain technical skills and were able to produce a stove for each household in Donkerbos. To show appreciation, the production team  were presented with certificates during the official handover of these stoves to the community on 12 March 2021. During the handover ceremony was attended by the Otjimbinde Constituency councilor Hon. Wenzel Kavaka, who expressed appreciation to the DRFN and the SGP for  their efforts in the fight against climate change.  The  wish of the trainers is to increase  production of these stoves and similar products from galvanized sheets for sale to the rest of the country to give every Namibian the chance to join the fight against climate change. The councilor praised the initiative and urged the production team to keep producing the stoves and make use of every opportunity to market across the country.

Posted on Mar 12, 2021

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