In June 2022, Eni Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with the NGO AVSI, launched a project to promote the adoption of improved cookstoves among the most vulnerable rural communities in Ivory Coast through the distribution of 150,000 cookstoves in six years, starting from 2022, reaching over 750,000 people. As an alternative to traditional cooking methods, such as the “three-stone fire”, these new systems, powered by wood or charcoal, are designed with a high thermal efficiency that allows significant savings of biomass fuel, consequently reducing greenhouse gas and combustion emissions, which represent a serious health hazard. The improved cookstoves distributed by Eni are 100% produced in Ivory Coast by a local company; in fact, the project sets out to support the growth of a production chain in the country, fostering the transition towards more sustainable energy sources. At the core of the initiative is the progressive raising of awareness among families towards the adoption of these cooking systems, which have less impact on health and the environment. Therefore, in addition to the production and distribution of cookstoves, the nurturing of relationships with the villages and the communities and the assistance provided to individual families are crucial elements of the work of the operators involved.
The improved cookstoves bring benefits for health as well as reducing the time it currently takes to collect the fuel and prepare the meals, activities which are a significant burden on women’s everyday lives. They also represent a way of fighting deforestation as their thermal efficiency allows to reduce the amount of woody biomass consumed for cooking by up to 60%. Deforestation is a major concern in the country: in the past sixty years, over 90% of the forests have disappeared, making Ivory Coast one of the African countries with the highest annual deforestation rate.