Climate impact: What I learned from collecting wood with Kenyan women

Climate impact: What I learned from collecting wood with Kenyan women

Getting enough wood for the stoves is also a huge burden on women, who spend many hours collecting and carrying it. I wanted to see this for myself, so I went wood-gathering with some women from a village outside Kisumu city. At least twice a week they gather wood, leaving at dawn and coming home at dusk. Because so many nearby trees have already been cut down, they have to walk for many hours.

The day we set off, we walked more than five miles, which they said was a short trip. The heat was intense, and we had to carry heavy tools. The women told me they were worried about so much of the forest being cut down. They wondered where they would get wood in the future. When we arrived at a place to cut wood, we found it full of thorns that pricked our fingers. Each woman cut about 40 kilos — enough to fill two huge suitcases. They carried it back on their heads. I experienced carrying only about a fifth of their normal load.

It made me see how modern energy is vital to people’s lives. …

Fortunately, more and more women in Kenya and in other countries are involved in solving this problem, like slow-cooking stoves made from local clay and smoke hoods that reduce pollution in homes by up to 70 percent. …

Women must be heard. Their voices and ideas can greatly contribute to finding climate solutions that work locally and culturally.

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