Use of Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) to reduce pressure on forest habitats in Gishwati National Park, Rwanda

Published: 12 July 2021
Last edited: 12 July 2021
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The key component of this solution is to educate beneficiaries how to make an Improved Cooking Stove. The team is composed by youth that come from suspected people who used to conduct harmful activity to the environment such as poachers and cutting down trees of the reserved area. Majority of beneficiaries are young women in order to empower them as they are most affected by the lack of firewood/problem of cooking energy. In collaboration with local authorities, a certain number of youth are selected, educated on environment and trained to make ICS.

Trained members will have the hands-on skills to make an improved cooking stove that would be sold to the community. The ICS reduces consumption in fuel by 30%. In addition, Those beneficiaries will be able to contribute in sensitizing the importance of environment to the community and will help to protect the area. The sale of ICS is an economic activity and it is a job created as the way to get money that will be used in providing for families of beneficiaries.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Gender mainstreaming
Poaching and environmental crime
Sustainable financing
Waste management
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Lack of technical capacity
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy


Gishwati-Mukura, Rwanda, Western Province, Rutsiro District | Improved Cooking Stove-ICS solution has been used in Nyagatare, East Province-Rwanda.
Rwanda,West province, Rutsiro District, Nyabirasi-kigeyo


The solution is meant to address economic, social and environmental issues.

The first challenge is the unemployment mostly in the youth and women including those who did not attend schools, ICS making can be a job for them. The second is the excess of expenditure on charcoal and firewood. The polluted air and dirtiness in the household that uses row firewood are other challenges for the members of the family.

Women spend a lot of time in search of firewood and the use of non-efficient cooking stoves wastes time that could be used for other activities that generate income. More importantly, intensive tree cutting is leading to significant deforestation in the local areas.


Residents of Rutsiro district near Gishwati Park. Those involved in poaching, cutting trees in the park or in its buffer zone.  There are teen mothers and single mothers head of families and the common challenge is the lack of firewood.

How do the building blocks interact?

These building blocks complement each other because before doing the second one requires you to do the first. It's a process.

Citizens should be made aware of the reasons for the changes needed. Where advanced skills are needed they are provided with training. There must be a performance contract of what the community will do but also what they will benefit from and it would be stated. After determining activities to carryout related stakeholders will support those activities and enable the smooth implementation.


The solution is meant to address economic, social and environmental issues. ICS will provide jobs to young people who sell them to the community, and they will be ableto afford the cost of basic needs such as health insurance, food and clothing.
ICS will improve the social wellbeing within community users as well

Generally ICS have a direct influence on the quality of life of the communities by improving their health, hygiene in homes and overall productivity. It contributes in preserving the cutting down trees by 30% for those who use ICS. Thus, Improved cooking stoves is a viable option  and a sustainable alternative for the community to overcome some of these issues, e.g. by reducing household expenditure buying charcoal and firewood.



My name is Nsengimana Claude, I am 26 years old. I live in Gatunda Sector, Nyagatare District. We are seven in our family. I am learning the improved cooking stoves (ICS) technology through support of Rwanda Environment Awareness Organization (REAO). I dropped out of school when I was in high school because my family could not afford the school fees and other scholastic requirements. This was really hard for me because I couldn’t dream anymore. My life was completely over. But I remembered the saying that “is not over until it is done”. I believe it now.

After, joining ICS technology training I am now on my way to a changed a person.  Now my life is on track. I am the right person to witness that, life is the best gift. As long as you still breathe, do not give up.  

Now, due to ICS technology trainings, I have learnt how make the frames of a stove. minutes the inner dough of clay soil and I have managed to produce 3 frames of Improved Cooking stoves in 7days and planning to build more stoves. The trainers have praised me as a fast learner.

Bbefore joining I didn’t earn even 10,000RWf in a month from cultivating for other people. However, with these skills I am getting during these trainings, I want to use them in future so that I can earn more money. I am really grateful and inspired with what REAO is doing. Through ICS trainings I have learned how to preserve our environment.

Contributed by

reaorwanda_40340's picture

Theophile HATEGEKIMANA Rwanda Environment Awareness Organization-REAO