The mission: to improve the safety and wellbeing of internally displaced persons in Darfur by providing fuel-efficient cookstoves. The Berkeley-Darfur Stove requires less than half the fuel of traditional three stone fires, thus reducing the time women spend outside the safety of the camps collecting firewood while also decreasing their use of money and food rations to obtain fuel.
The Story: The Berkeley-Darfur Stove was first conceived in 2005, when Ashok Gadgil, Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was asked by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at the United States Agency for International Development (OFDA/USAID) to try to find a solution to a grave problem facing Darfuri families in displacement camps: women had to walk as long as 7 hours, 3 to 5 times per week, to find firewood. During these treks they were often subjected to sexual assault and abuse. In response Ashok, his colleagues and the women of Darfur designed the Berkeley-Darfur Stove. Ashok and his team surveyed many existing fuel-efficient stoves and determined that the Tara Stove, originally made in India, was the most appropriate for the environment in Darfur; however, it was not entirely adequate for the task. Ashok and his team set to work modifying the Tara Stove to suit the pot shapes, cooking style, type of food, windy conditions and sandy terrain in Darfur. They returned to Darfur in 2006 to conduct a field test with 50 Darfuri women, all of whom chose to purchase the stove prototype for $5 at the end of the field test.