Monday, August 24, 2009

Ripple Report: The Eco-Friendly Marriage Booster

by Aly Lewis

The women of Tanzania are all abuzz with talk about this great new Plant With Purpose project that is transforming their lives. They claim their family life has changed for the better and even their marriages are improving. What’s this innovative, life-changing project that is empowering women and strengthening marriages, you ask? Is it a marriage class through our discipleship program? What about a micro-enterprise project designed to empower women to start small businesses? How about farming techniques that increase yields so that mothers can feed their starving children?

Guess again. The cause of improved marriages and increased self-esteem is nothing more than our Fuel-Efficient Stove project. Stoves? Really? How on earth can a stove improve a marriage and what on earth does a stove have to do with self-esteem?

Don’t worry, we were just as surprised as you.

PWP staff in Tanzania first introduced the project as an eco-friendly technique and communities caught on fast. Families replace their traditional stoves (or fire pits) with fuel-efficient stoves that use 50% less wood. This is great news for families with limited resources: burning less wood means more wood to sell for extra income or, even better, less trees to cut down in the first place. Because they produce less smoke, the stoves also lead to a decrease in respiratory disease in women and children. PWP staff members were excited about the environmental, economic, and health benefits of these stoves. What staff didn’t realize, however, was that the greatest benefit was yet to come. It turns out that these stoves have not only improved families’ physical health and economic situation, but improved marriages as well. With the stoves producing less harmful smoke, the husbands are spending more time with their wives in the kitchen. Marriages are improving, relationships strengthening and deepening, and women are improving their self-esteem. Since less time is spent collecting firewood, women have more time to spend with their families, get involved in the local community, and invest in small business opportunities.

This week’s Ripple Report is dedicated to the unforeseen benefits of fuel-efficient stoves: the eco-friendly way Tanzanian women are improving their marriages and boosting their confidence.


  1. Great article, Aly! Very informative, and I like the photos!

  2. That's pretty cool that something so simple can have such profound effects. Who would have guessed?


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