Household cooking with solid fuels over open fires and in rudimentary cookstoves, in particular the air pollution it creates, are among the world’s most pressing problems – adversely affecting the environment as well as people’s health. Women can plan an important role in helping more households in developing countries adopt cleaner and more efficient fuels and cookstoves, both as consumers and cookstove entrepreneurs.
With this in mind, a Winrock-implemented project organized an “Empowered Entrepreneur Master Trainer” workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, for trainers from local and regionally-based cookstove organizations. During the workshop, trainers learned tools and techniques they can use to pass on business, empowerment and leadership skills to the cookstove entrepreneurs in their network – with a specific focus on women entrepreneurs. Trainers learned approaches for agency-based empowerment, which builds on traditional resource-based empowerment approaches to emphasize core beliefs and concepts such as self esteem, sense of control, and power or self reliance. The training, which followed the “Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook,” was especially focused on gender-sensitive training approaches and skill building designed to increase the participation of women in the cookstove value chain.
“I conducted an empowerment training [recently],” said one trainer who attended the workshop. “One of the participants said that she was never confident talking in a crowd since she felt that she was not eloquent. The [other] participants were surprised by her statement and one … observed that she always admired her voice. This became [a turning point] for the participant.”
The workshop was organized and hosted by the Developing a Sustainable Cookstove Sector project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Trainers who attended the workshop from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 are expected to roll out training to hundreds of cookstove entrepreneurs throughout East Africa.