Endless power cuts in the DRC’s capital city, Kinshasa, force most households to use charcoal or wood (makala) to cook their meals. Bikuku and Lutendele, two suburbs of Kinshasa, are particularly afflicted by this daily reality.

These suburbs are semi-urban areas located, respectively, in the western and eastern sectors of Kinshasa, and they are currently not supplied with electricity. To feed their families, women are forced to walk long distances to get wood or shrubs.

Others spend money meant for food, to buy this energy source. For families with very modest incomes, this often causes great stress.

To make indoor cooking activities a safer, healthier and more energy-efficient experience, we recently held training sessions in Kinshasa for 37 young girls and boys in how to construct efficient clay stoves.

"It is possible for these families to reduce the quantity of wood or coal needed for cooking by a third, by using the metal or clay ovens, which are the environmental and economic superiors to firewood or charcoal ovens”, explains Souraka Ouro Bangna, the trainer from Greenpeace Africa.

“Preparing the famous, hard-to-cook beans in less time than on a traditional stove, with only two small pieces of wood is now possible with the clay oven! This is a no-brainer”, says Mr. Mpongo, one of the trainees on clay ovens.

Two weeks after the training, we went back to see how the trainees were faring and were amazed by Mr. Mpongo’s ingenuity – "As the oven is built with a material easy to find for everyone, I used sweet potato leaves, kneaded and mixed them with a little quantity of palm oil to make my oven waterproof,” reveals Mpongo.

"I’m very happy with the creativity of trainees – in adopting these new methods, they will save more trees per day, save money and save energy,” concludes Souraka.

Greenpeace Africa holds trainings like these to promote environmental awareness and encourage the green development on the continent for the benefit of the people, communities and the climate.