Submitted by: Green Cameroon
Implemented country: Cameroon
Title: Better Cooking Stoves Restore Mount Cameroon Forests
Together with his wife and two daughters, Masango Sone lives in the city of Buea in eastern Cameroon near Mount Cameroon National Park. Masango is director of the Green Cameroon NGO, founded in 2003, as well as director of the Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE Buea). He holds university degrees in agriculture and forestry. He is also an expert on renewable energies and an environmentalist with all his heart. Masango is especially concerned about reforesting Mount Cameroon. Where dense forests once used to provide an animal and plant habitat, today there are only barren mountainsides because 90 per cent of the local population need wood for cooking several times a day and in great quantities. Masango knows that there is only one possible solution to this problem: Providing local communities with more efficient cooking stoves that use 50 per cent less wood.
The biggest obstacle was overcoming the complete lack of environmental awareness of the local population. There was and still is nearly no support from local administration or the private industry. The media also ignored his efforts and appeals. And there wasn’t enough trained personnel. So Masango Sone had to start at the very beginning. He began by concentrating on 5 communities with the goal of providing 70 per cent of local families with more efficient cooking stoves.
Then he began to train teams that eventually trained even more teams. The materials for the stoves were obtained locally. The people were then trained in using their new stoves. Still, repairs are necessary now and then. However, once the program was begun, Masango received a lot of positive feedback. Wood consumption went down, cooking time went down, the families began to save more money, and kitchens are now free from fumes and grime. New jobs are being created in the region. 10 per cent of the families are now cooking in a more efficient manner. Still, there is even more potential for improvement, Masango Sone feels. One particular concern is related to financial squeezes due to materials, transportation and personnel costs. But Masango Sone keeps plodding on – this year he will be planting an additional 5,000 trees on Mount Cameroon, beginning on the 5th of June: World Environment Day.
"Never give up! Keep on going until you succeed.”