Working as a scout leader in Mukono, Uganda, Badru Kyewalyanga noticed a dire deforestation crisis from people constantly cutting down trees to get firewood – and he decided to do something about it.
No more than 10% of Uganda’s rural areas have access to electricity, leaving them with little choice but to burn wood – costing the country to suffer from one of the worst deforestation rates in the world and putting it at risk of losing all its forest cover in under 25 years.
Desperate to make a change, Kyewalyanga began building stoves in 2015, picking up the technique with the help of a team of American volunteers. The easily accessible mud, water and straw used to build each stove reduces the amount of firewood needed to cook by half.
“These stoves are really important because they slow the rate at which trees are used,” says Brian Batto, a young volunteer from Mukono who is helping Kyewalyanga build stoves. “In the long run, we’re trying to combat climate change. It’s important to come up with these solutions [ourselves].”
Over the past three years, Kyewalyanga has built around one hundred stoves with the help of his scout troop and team of both national and international volunteers.