Cooking to Conserve – or C2C – is an education program tailored to upper primary school students and their families in order to raise awareness about the increasing scarcity of fuel wood use and how to use this resource efficiently. C2C grew out of a larger project in the 1980s in Kenya in which we designed, tested and manufactured fuel-efficient stoves for domestic and institutional use. As a supplement to this program, we developed this curriculum that, while aimed at individual students and families, also influenced the attitudes of schools, maternity wards, and other institutions. C2C was prepared by the Bellerive Foundation with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature International. The Bellerive Foundation, which established a conservation project in East Africa following the 1981 United National Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, retains the copyright (ISBN 2-88358-009-X). If any of this material is useful, feel free to reproduce it, adapt it to your audience, and share it in any way. Acknowledgments are not required but would be greatly appreciated.The Aims of C2C and the Problems It Addresses
Firewood is still the chief fuel for cooking and heating in Africa. It is also one of the best fuels because it is renewable, but it also it is increasingly more difficult to get and it is being monetized as a commodity. No longer is fuel wood relatively “free.” Women put their lives in jeopardy as they scavenge for wood further and further from safe communities. Trees continue to be cut down much faster than they are being replanted, and population pressures have not diminished.
For schools and institutions the purchase of firewood/charcoal is proving a major expenditure, and supply can be erratic, and trucks are bringing it from ever greater distances, often from protected parks and forests. The effects on erosion, safety, health, budgets…. are obvious.
In developing C2C, it was our hope to reach children who from an early age assume important responsibilities at home, whether it be firewood collection or food preparation. Each of the seven lessons includes a teacher’s guide and an 8-page illustrated learner’s booklet. The booklets feature Sylvus, and ageless wise man who lives inside a tree, and the broters Moh and Toh (moto means fire in Swahili). in the course of the seven center-fold story poems, Moh and Toh discover the secrets of the forest and of healthier, more efficient cooking.
Sylvus has lived for centuries in this tree. he embodies the wisdom of the ages and values of the old tradition. At the same time, he has seen many changes and understands the importance of adapting to modern times in order to improve health conditions and to conserve the forest. Sylvus realizes that it is important for Moh and Toh to discover most secrets for themselves. Accordingly, only when he is asked, the sage helps them to clarify each new principle, which they then introduce to their chief and fellow villagers.
In a way, Sylvus embodies the role to be played by the teacher, presenting the material in these lessons. The emphasis is not to tell, but to show the children options for conserving fuel. Rather than teaching only through “chalk and talk,” the teacher builds each lesson around a central activity. The activity will demonstrate in a convincing way an energy-saving technique.
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