Handwoven mats – How the ECOCA gave rise to Rose’s business
Rose, mother of two, lives on a small coffee plant in Rakai, Uganda.
Aside from her main income through growing coffee and selling it through a local coffee cooperative, she now uses her free time to produce hand-woven mats from rattan, which she sells at a local market to earn money on the side, thanks to the ECOCA
We meet Rose for an interview on her property in the middle of the forest area south of Rakai town, Uganda, close to the border to Tanzania. Here she lives in a house together with her two children, both under the age of four.
The property is located amidst the coffee trees, and it is only possible for us to get there by walking, as the main road that our car is able to drive on ends a few hundred meters away from the place.
She welcomes us to her home and shows us around the property, including the main building, where the family sleeps and cooks, and a smaller garage and storage building
Throughout our conversation Rose describes how she used to cook over open fire everyday, mostly using firewood that she collected around the property. Fetching the wood was a quite time consuming task, considering the amount needed to make fire several hours a day.
Apart from that she had to buy petrol that she used to light lamps around her home at night, proposing an additional expenditure, because she had to buy it at a relatively high price.
She explains that the time and money this way of living cost her was not the major issue to her, compared to how much she used to worry about her children’s safety. She describes being worried about their health and well-being everyday because they play in the yard and around the house where they easily can come very close to the open fire and petrol lamps. Adding to that is the amount of smoke that was released when cooking over the open fire on a daily basis. Rose used to fear that her children may get sick from inhaling the smoke and eating the smoky-tasting food.
Since receiving the ECOCA she has used it everyday and her life has changed to the positive in several ways.
She does not have to spend any money or time on getting fuel to make fire everyday, as the solar-powered cookstove produces all the energy needed to cook for her family.
She does not have to worry for her children’s safety because there is no more open fire or dangerous petrol lamps around, as the ECOCA comes with two lamps that propose no harm to the small children.
She experiences the meals cooked using the ECOCA to taste much better, and most important of all, there is no smoke taste at all, which she also interprets to be way healthier.
The time saved from not having to fetch firewood and keeping an eye on the open fire at all times, enables her to use her free time to make hand woven mats, which she sells on the local markets. Apart from being a creative task she enjoys, this also has developed into a business opportunity and a source of additional income for the family, enabling Rose to cover costs like school fees for her children in the future.