By CGTN’s Deji Badmus
When Happy Amos started out trying to design a clean cooker, it was mostly to avoid the smoke from the traditional oven.
"I was cooking in my grandmother's house with the three-stone stove and it was a very difficult process with the smoke, the ash and everything,” says Amos, founder of Happy Energy-Saving Stove.
Women cook in pots heated on three-stone ovens using firewood. /CFP Photo
After research "I found that there are improved stoves that can emit less smoke, cook faster and consume less firewood. And then I thought it was a very good business idea,” she added.
With a grant from the Nigerian government, Amos runs her start-up on the outskirts of the capital Abuja, employing eight people from the community.
Her stove is made from clay, wrapped in a metal sheet, which keeps the heat in – making it more fuel efficient. Holes let the smoke out of the base, giving the stove safer features and making it far less smoky than the traditional model.
Amos said she has sold over 5,000 stoves, providing employment opportunities for women around the country. "Some of our (stoves) are sold through women distributors who were doing absolutely nothing before but are now selling our stoves. We are sending it to different parts of Nigeria for them,” Amos notes.
The stoves go for eight US dollars and women are allowed to pay in two installments. However, the supply chain is still very weak, and many Nigerians are not aware there is a safer alternative on the market, especially in rural areas where traditional three-stone ovens are still popular.
A boy fries cassava grains in a tray on a locally made firewood stove. /CFP Photo
According to one environmental advocacy group, around 100,000 people die in the country every year from inhaling the toxic fumes. To really have an impact, Amos says she needs more buy-in from the government to create awareness about her cleaner and safer stoves.