In this interview, the Executive Director of Green Crew Africa Initiative, Mr. Umar Surajo Nuhu, shares their activities in the clean cookstoves sector.
Give us a brief introduction about your organisation
Green Crew Africa Initiative is a non-governmental, non-political and non-religious organization, an innovative Youth conservation organization with special skills that provides career Guidance/Counselling on sustainable development. We have Chapters in Nigeria, Niger Republic, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali with proposed chapters in the rest of African countries.
We give young people the knowledge and skills to start and manage their own green businesses and to apply entrepreneurial thinking to solving environmental problems. We envision making a real difference in African communities by promoting solutions that are essential to green economy. We currently manufacture and distribute clean cookstoves in rural and urban communities in Jigawa State, Nigeria.
What does your organization seek to achieve in Nigeria’s cooking energy market?
We manufacture and distribute domestic and institutional clean cookstoves in Nigeria. We also through aggressive awareness and campaign in rural and urban communities provide economic, environmental, and social changes in the energy sectors as well as promote entrepreneurship opportunities in various communities.
Can you tell us about your clean cookstoves and clean cooking activities including your achievements?
Our organization fabricates Biogas Digester and Efficient woodstove called E-1 Stove which is made of clay and scrap metal materials. Our cookstoves use small amount of firewood and briquettes. Our cookstoves and biogas digester has helped address the issues of climate change and improve the livelihood of rural and urban communities in Jigawa State.
What are your biggest challenges in implementing your clean cooking activities?
Funding is our biggest challenge in implementing our Clean Cooking activities. We are also faced with social, cultural, political, institutional and legislative challenges.
What are the opportunities identified in the country that can promote the growth of your clean cooking activities?
The major opportunity identified in Nigeria that can promote the growth of our clean cookstoves activities is the huge population still using fuelwood inefficiently. Also, being a partner of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstove (NACC) will help promote our clean cookstoves both in the Nigerian and international market.
How are consumers reacting to your products/clean cooking activities – benefits of your cookstoves/clean cooking activities to the consumers?
Our clean cookstoves was developed taking into consideration the views of consumers in our communities. The consumers testify that it conserves the amount of fuelwood consumed by up to 50% and it emits less smoke when compared to traditional cookstoves. They are happy with our E-1 Stove as it is easy to carry and improves community health and eco-system when compared to traditional cooking method. Customers also say our Biogas Digesters are cost effective and are easily available. We distribute our cookstoves in Kazaure, Daura, Babura in Jigawa, Katsina and Kano State respectively.
How does your clean cooking activity help drive employment generation and the empowerment of women?
Over 113 women in rural and urban Communities benefited from our Entrepreneurship Development and Innovations program in above mentioned States. The production and marketing of E-1 stoves is now contributing to their means of livelihood. Our implementation of Grant Family and friends (G-FAF) project which is voluntary contribution between our members, their friends and relatives, has also empowered women in the project states.
If you are asked to advise the Federal Government of Nigeria on policy options, what are the three most important things the government can do to expand the clean cookstoves market?
Our three most important advise to the Federal Government of Nigeria that will aid the expansion of the clean cookstoves market is the promotion of domestic production of clean cookstoves, implementation of the approved standards for biomass cookstoves and provision/facilitation of financial assistance to the cookstoves entrepreneurs.
If an enabling environment is not created by government, what future risks do you envisage?
If an enabling environment is not created by the government, people will continue to cook using the traditional method. This will emit more green house gases into the atmosphere and worsen the negative impact on community health especially on women who does most of the cooking.
What are your suggestions for moving the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria?
To move the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria, the government should take it as a matter of priority to promote the use of clean cookstoves across the geopolitical zones in Nigeria. The government should make more funds available to support training as well as create an enabling environment for the production and marketing of clean cookstoves in the country.
Is there any other thing you would like to share?
Energy is a very important catalyst for economic development in any country. Energy, which is the fundamental to human activities, needs to be used efficiently to protect our environment and save the depleting resources for our future generations. It is important for us to realize the need to use energy efficiently thus saving lives and empowering communities.
First Published by Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves