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Making Eco-friendly Stoves Across West Africa

A clutch of university degrees could have led to a cosy job in Paris. Instead, Ermann Zannou decided he could do more by living closer to the country of his birth, Benin. So he set up Green Ker in Abidjan. Now, his stainless-steel stoves are saving lives. In a large workshop located in Ivory Coast’s economic capital, Abidjan, Ermann Zannou leads a team that produces dozens of ecologically friendly stoves every day. The stoves, which weigh around 2.5 kg, are not only easy to carry but are also far more fuel-efficient than the regular wood-and-charcoal-burning stoves found in both cities and countryside, in the region. That means less wood or charcoal is burned, reducing not only greenhouse gases (and the cutting down of trees to make that charcoal) but also the unhealthy smoke that causes thousands of premature deaths every year. Each stove is meticulously fabricated by hand, by an experienced team of workers. Once finished, the product is stockpiled, awaiting delivery to buyers.