Loreno stoves or 'smokeless ovens' as they are often called, are a way of cooking inside without the problem of inhaling the smoke. Commonly replacing cooking pots standing on three stones, it is surprising that not more people have adopted this method of cooking.
Benedictor was studying at a forestry college but when coronavirus lockdown happened he could not attend. He knew how to make these ovens and found work in building them for clients in Kampala. He is trying to make this a business and one donor gave him some start-up funding to make the first seven or eight. It is messy work to create the right mix of clay, straw and dung. Pans are used to mould the correct size holes in the top. Space inside is left for where the firewood will burn. A flue pipe is created through the wall to take the smoke away externally. It is an incredibly simple idea.
In rural areas of the country and the suburbs of most towns, people commonly use three stone stoves to cook their food. These consist of three stones arranged around a fire, with a pot balanced on top. According to the World Health Organisation, three stone stoves carry health and environmental challenges: only one pot can be heated at a time and heat escapes, requiring more fuel and making cooking inefficient; an open fire and a precariously balanced pot create a risk of children being burnt or scalded; smoke from the fire goes straight up into peoples homes. Worldwide, 4 million people per year die prematurely due to household air pollution.
Lorena stoves offer a cost-effective replacement to make cooking a safer and more efficient activity. The use of local materials and local labour reduces costs without compromising on quality – these stoves can last for 10 years.
A chamber for firewood and several potholes, which are the exact size of a family’s cooking pots, minimise heat wastage to make cooking more efficient and reduce the amount of fuel needed. It also reduces the safety risks of an open fire.
The nickname of ‘smokeless ovens’ comes from the construction of a chimney that carries smoke out of the cooking area and improves burning. This has considerable implications for public health. Women and children are generally responsible for preparing food, so improving the cooking process will benefit marginalised groups and give children the best chance to grow into healthy adults.
Afrinspire wants to support the construction of more of these smokeless ovens across Uganda. If you think you can help to make cooking safer, healthier and good for the environment, please click here to see our Afrinspire Smokeless Oven Appeal