Traditional Senegalese stoves for sale at a market place in Dakkar.

In this photo, you see traditional Senegalese stoves for sale at a market place in Dakkar. We have learned that the word “stove” brings different images to mind in different places. It turns out that while the look and feel of a stove varies greatly from place to place, its function is the same—to serve as the gathering place for families and communities for conversation, story-telling, lessons, meals and laughter.

In Italian the word origin for focus of the house, and fire, and kitchen, is the same. It is our experience that, in many cultures, the stove “fire” is central to family, whether it be an individual household or a communal kitchen for a village. As such, it is essential that the stove be aesthetically pleasing, easy to clean, and have the look and feel that fits into individual ideas of how a kitchen area should feel and function. This understanding informs our approach to working with communities.  We have incorporated this cultural awareness into our model by working with local artisans to adapt core components of the LuciaStove to match local preferences. By working this way, we fulfill our mission to preserve and create local jobs while creating a version of our product that speaks to local preferences.

A stove is a central part of a home and family. It is a place where people gather, for conversations, lessons, meals, and laughter. One example of where we had to adapt our stoves was in Northern Burkina Faso. We take great pride in the fact that our stoves can allow people to stand while cooking and don’t have to be refueled for as long as three to six hours, depending on the version. These, however, were considered negatives in Dassoui. A central part of the community building there, is while one woman is cooking, many sit around the fire with her. And slowly feed the fire. To respect and honor this tradition, we had to redesign the LuciaStove so that it could be buried underground, and could receive additional fuel every 10 minutes. In this way, the women could continue to site on the ground as was the custom, continue feeding the fire, and the centuries old traditions could be respected while still allowing fuel savings and reduced emissions.