MAKING MUD STOVES
Mud stoves have been used in Darfur with internally displaced people (IDP). This Technical Brief
looks at some of the issues related to this type of stove and how they should be used. The mud
stove is a low-tech and low-cost wood burning do-it-yourself solution.
In certain situations it can be better to start with a
low or no-cost stove that women can build and
maintain themselves, that does not create fire
hazards by falling over, that keeps any money
exchanged revolving within the community, that does
not radiate heat just where they are sitting, that does
not have a limited life, and does not have an intrinsic
value and can therefore by stolen.
Beyond this level of stove then there are a great many
options that can be considered.
A metal stove (Tara) was also introduced into the
refugee camps which was manufactured centrally and
distributed to households. There is a cheap mud
rocket stove that has been introduced elsewhere in
Darfur. Rocket stoves are a more recent development
of stove and are more sophisticated in their
construction. They have an improved combustion
chamber and use insulated walls to improve the stove
The mud stoves need to have a particular approach to
their introduction to ensure that they work properly.
a. The mud stove is designed to fit the pot it is
Figure 1: Training in self-build
stoves. Photo: Practical Action, Sudan.
built for. Each cook user must be trained to build a number of stoves to fit the different pots she
uses in cooking.
b. Each trained woman must be given a manual prepared for use in training (a pictorial manuals
designed to help women even if they are illiterate)
c. The women need to be trained as trainers so that they can pass on their skills to others.
If the approach changes then the resulting stoves do not perform with any great efficiency. For
example: pre made stoves made to uniform dimensions will not match with the cooking pots and this
results in a drop in efficiency.
Although the mud stoves have their limitations they are suitable to certain circumstances in which
mud is readily available when other materials such as metal are not. This means that the un-
insulated mud stove can be better than an open three stone fire but are never going to have very high
efficiencies. It is therefore important to choose the best option for the particular circumstance and to
have awareness of the technical issues.
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