We're celebrating with Buyange village. You should, too!
We don’t give incentives or handouts very often, but when we do, we make it count. Buyange village has taken good care of its Kibo well and built dozens of life-changing, fuel-efficient stoves with our Healthy and Safe Kitchens program. That’s why our staff decided to shower them with gifts that will help bring the community even closer together.
The Buyange community didn’t know they would be receiving gifts. It is important that their only incentive for building stoves is because it is the best thing to do for their families and community. But small surprise gifts can boost morale and bring the community even closer together. When they saw Ida, Jeska, and Tape carrying the gifts toward them, they burst out in song and dance.
The gifts weren’t random handouts though. They served to reinforce the lessons the group had learned over the last six months.
1) Communal cooking pots
The big gift was two community pots for the village to share among its members and to even rent out to neighboring villages. Giant pots are useful for large gatherings, like weddings and funerals, and they unite the community and bring economic opportunity.
2) Laundry soap
The other gift was a bar of laundry soap for each community member who had committed the time and energy to learning how to build stoves every week with our Healthy and Safe Kitchens staff. The soap reminds the group of the importance of sanitation and hygiene to creating a heathy family and community — not just in the kitchen but everywhere in the home.
The Reasons to Celebrate
Reason #1: A united community
With Kibo’s encouragement, an entire community of men, women, and children came together to make their community a better place to live.
Stove-building requires a big commitment of time and energy. A large group of people — who have taken the time to learn why stoves are important and how to build them — is necessary to build each stove.
If the Buyange community hadn’t decided together that it was important to decrease burn accidents and the respiratory problems caused by open fires, then no stoves would have been built at all.
Reasons #2, 3, 4, and more: The stoves, of course!
With Kibo’s guidance, Buyange village learned how to make these stoves independently. While Kibo stoves are made of materials that are freely accessible in the village, they still require a lot of time, energy, and teamwork to build.
Each of these stoves represents a healthier and safer kitchen for a family: fewer women with respiratory issues, fewer children with severe burns, fewer incidents of domestic violence, more communication between spouses, more free time to pursue business ventures. The list goes on and on.
What Made it Possible
Kibo didn’t swoop into Buyange village and start building stoves for them. Kibo also didn’t demand the community to abandon the traditional cooking methods of their grandmothers. Instead, Harriet and Suzan asked the women good questions about the challenges and dangers they face when cooking. The team took the time to build strong, trust-based relationships.
Without trust and authentic relationship, none of Kibo’s work would be possible, and Buyange wouldn’t have safe, fuel-efficient stoves.
The work doesn’t stop when Kibo leaves, and neither does our relationship with them. These community members will continue building stoves together in their village and in neighboring villages. And now the members of Buyange have the cooking pots they need to feed the whole village in times of celebration. This is only the beginning!