Monday, 17 January 2011

Back to Bida!

If you read my blog back in the “summer” if you’re in the Northern hemisphere, you will have read about Bida. We had a project to install efficient wood-burning stoves in a school. Traditionally around 60% of cooking in Nigeria uses a traditional “three stone” fire, causing smoke in the kitchen, which affects peoples’ health, according to the WHO 79,000 Nigerians die annually of Indoor Air Pollution, and burning inefficiently hence using even more wood than is necessary.

Cooking on wood

When I last wrote we were working with GTZ to source an international stove expert, we did and he is Fred Colgan, from Oregon in the US. He agreed to bring three stoves, install them in the school and train the cooks in their use.

DHL – Delivered Horribly Late!

The stoves were shipped with DHL – now we have all seen adverts for DHL, when whatever you need magically arrives at another part of the world the following day! Well not in my experience, our stoves spent a week in Amsterdam, and a week in Lagos, before they finally arrived. But I did learn some new pidgin English in the process. One day when I had progressed from calling DHL four times daily to sitting in their office in Abuja, my contact telephoned his colleague in Lagos to check the whereabouts of our shipment, “call me back sharp sharp the client is in my front!”

Finally the stoves arrived, and then so did Fred. Fred went off to Bida with my colleague Okey to install the stoves and train the cooks, I got to visit for a day and see what progress they were making. When I arrived at Bida, the stoves had been installed, the cooks loved them and were cooking using 12% of the wood they used using a “three-stone fire”. One of the cooks said “with the new stoves, my eyes don’t water, my chest doesn’t hurt, my back doesn’t ache and the baby on my back has stopped crying.”

 Fred was also highly popular with the girls at the school as you can see in the photos!

 Two weeks later we had an official commissioning with the Dr. Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu , Executive Governor of Niger State Government, represented by the Commissioner for Education, who said in his speech, that “we (the government) shall ensure that this pilot programme goes into all our boarding schools”.

This is me and the Swiss Ambassador, the Swiss Embassy funded the project

Fred and his fan club!

Cooking on wood, part 2!

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