Fighting for firewood
Every day, women venture out into the surrounding desert in search of wood. They need it for cooking, keeping warm and constructing shelter.
However, when they leave the camp they often find themselves in conflict with local communities who see them as trespassers taking a precious resource from their land.
In Islamic Relief’s Kerinding II camp in West Darfur we have set up a Women’s Affairs Committee to help protect women.
Thirty-five women from all 7 clusters of Kerinding II camp are part of IR’s Women’s Affairs Committee.
They meet to discuss the problems they face in the camp and come up with solutions together.
To ensure women’s safety when they leave the camp, the committee tries to organise safe travel to collect firewood. It also raises women’s awareness of violence and provides them with medical and emotional support.
Grass, cheese and stoves
Some women collect firewood and grass to sell at markets to make a living.
The Women’s Affairs Committee provides women with livelihoods training so they can make a contribution to the household income without leaving the camp.
IR training includes cheese production and making fuel-efficient stoves.
At the training sessions women work together to build fuel-efficient stoves using natural resources.
Islamic Relief has trained over 550 women to make these stoves.
The training was carried out in partnership with UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
A new skill
The women were pleased to take their stoves home because they protect fires better and use 70% less firewood.
With the improved stoves, the women will be able to go for a week without having to leave the camp to gather wood.
Women can also use their new skills to make stoves to sell at market to earn an income.
Improving the status of women
IR is planning more projects to protect women and improve their status in the camps.
These projects include having more women on water and sanitation committees, providing female-headed households with more food and issuing women with ration cards so that they have greater control over resources.
Women in the camp have also requested sewing machines and vegetable seeds so that they can earn an income and provide for their families.