Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Burdens of Women Collecting Firewood in Africa

Collecting Firewood in Africa


Throughout Africa, women and girls walk for hours a day in the hope of finding a few branches or roots to use as firewood; to avoid the midday sun, many leave their homes before sunrise.


According to the 2016 Economic and social importance of fuelwood in Cameroon, mastering the economic and social impact of fuelwood is of paramount importance in the bid to mitigate forest degradation and fight against poverty. In fact, over 80% of the energy supply in African countries comes from wood.

Fuelwood accounts for about 90% of the total wood consumption in Africa and 81% of African households use solid fuels while 70% depend on them as their primary energy source for cooking. Nearly 60% of urban dwellers also use woody biomass as an energy source for cooking.


Lack of safe access to firewood can be life threatening particularly in conflict situations. Women seek firewood often in arid areas already lacking adequate vegetation not only face the threat of rape but compete with other people who also need the resource. The hours searching for wood also prevent better use of the time, such as attending school.

Dangers of women collecting firewood in Africa range from spinal and pelvic injuries, to sexual assault, rape and harassment.


Firewood collection by women in Lukolela, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Firewood collection by women in Lukolela, Democratic Republic of Congo.



























Woman carrying firewood in Segou South-Central Mali.
Woman carrying firewood in Segou South-Central Mali.


Firewood Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa bundles of eucalyptus branches used as firewood
Firewood Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa bundles of eucalyptus branches used as firewood

Collecting firewood in Jinka, Southern Ethiopia
Collecting firewood in Jinka, Southern Ethiopia

Elderly woman bringing firewood to the village of Masako, Kinsagani, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Elderly woman bringing firewood to the village of Masako, Kinsagani, Democratic Republic of Congo.



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