The World Food Programme (WFP), together with its partner INTERSOS,has distributed fuel-efficient stoves to 7,340displaced families receiving WFP food assistance inthe town of Banki, in Nigeria’sBorno state.
The stoves distribution is an effort to improve people’squality of life and reduce the protection risksfaced by women and girls in particular, when they have to gather firewood from unsafe areas.
WFP has been present in Banki since 2016providing monthly food rations to some 45,000 people who are entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance. The stoves, which were distributed under WFP’s Safe Access to Fuel and Energy(SAFE) Initiative, are intended to bring multiple benefits to almost every family living in the camp.
An assessment carried out by WFP in January 2018 in four local government areas in Borno state, revealed that 85% of women felt at risk when collecting firewood from various threats including violence, sexual assaultand even abduction. 76% of those surveyed were not able to cover their daily cooking needs due to inadequate supplies of firewood; and 70% have no access to wood fuel resources in their immediate living environment as a result ofthe insecurity arising fromthe ongoing conflict between the security forces and Non-State Armed Actors which has limitedpeople’s movements.
“When we distribute food to a vulnerable population, our aim is to make sure that people are able to prepare that food safely without putting themselves in harm’s way”, explains Sarah Longford, Country Director a.i. in Nigeria.
“We’re stepping in to protect women and young girls whose lives are exposed to great danger while crossing unsafe territories to fetch firewood. These stoves burn 50% less fuel when compared to conventional open cooking fires. This reduces the burden of care on women and girls who can spend less time spent on gathering firewood”.
Firewood is also becoming an increasingly scarce and expensive commodity in towns where population movements are restricted.Quite often, families have been forced into poor dietary habits because they cannot afford fuel which means they risk eating undercooked food, rely on less nutritious foods that does not require cooking oreat fewer meals. The stoves also have additional health and environmental benefits. They help to prevent further deforestation and produce far less smoke than traditional fires, reducing the incidence of respiratory diseases. Furthermore, the design of the stoves reduces the safety risks, such as fires, when used inside houses.
WFP plans to roll out the stoves distribution programme across four additional local government areas in Borno and is finalising plans to begin the second phase of a longer term project aimed at increasing income-generating opportunities and boosting the livelihoods of people in the camps. This involves training women and girls in how to manufacture and market the fuel-efficient cooking stoves locally.
WFP recognizes the support of the donors to its food assistance activities in northeast Nigeria this year. Canada, European Commission (ECHO), Finland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (DFID), the United States (USAID), and private donors have made contributions to WFP Nigeria this year.
Every month, WFP is feeding approximately 1.2 million people affected by the conflict in northeast Nigeria. To continue its emergency operation in northeast Nigeria WFP urgently requires US$100 million to provide emergency food assistance, prevent malnutrition in young children and pregnant or breastfeeding women, support livelihoods and retain flexibility to respond to further population displacement .