As the healthy environment is rolling over the hills of Rwanda’s Southern Province, children in class are eager to enjoy a hot meal during a lunch hour. But what if the very act of cooking these meals was harming their health and the environment? This is where LPG cooking comes in as a breath of fresh air. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of LPG cooking in Rwandan schools, from improved air quality to reduced costs and increased safety.
BY JUSTIN KAYIRANGA
Schools’ leaders in Southern Rwanda eulogize the Liquified Petroleum Gas cooking outcome as they are transitioning from traditional cooking style to more environmental friendly cooking.
LPG use in schools is not a common practice in Rwanda since schools have traditionally relied on charcoal or firewood for their cooking activities.
However, with the run to reducing the vulnerability of people and ecosystems to the adverse effects of climate change, the government of Rwanda, through Green Amayaga project, has initiated the support to 20 schools from four districts of the project intervention area with LPG for bulk cooking.
Schools that have adopted the LPG cooking have praised the benefits of this new system. They said that LPG cooking is much more convenient and time efficient than traditional cooking methods.
“It takes less time to heat up and cook food. Additionally, LPG is much cleaner burning than charcoal or firewood, resulting in less smoke which was mostly affecting the cooks, students and the staff as well.” testifies Sister Umumararungu Marie Pelagie, Headteacher of Groupe Scolaire Mater Dei in Nyanza District, Southern Province of Rwanda
Another benefit of LPG cooking is that it is more cost-effective in the long run as the cost of fuel is much lower, making it a more economical choice for them.
Father Mbarushimana André, from Sainte Bernadette School in Kamonyi district said that “We could spend Rwf 1.4 million per term with the traditional method but today with the LPG method we spend around Rwf 700 thousand.”
Though the schools are in a process to fully switching to LPGs, there is still a challenge of high cost of installation equipment as revealed by some school leaders.
Responding to this issue, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment Dr. Mujawamariya Jeanne D’Arc, insisted that there is nothing more costly than human life which the reason why everyone would consider using gas instead of using biomass fuel.
She said “I would not say that the equipment is expensive, because even cutting down the forests itself is more expensive for us because whenever we use firewood, we are polluting the air at the same time polluting ourselves.”
“No matter how expensive the equipment is, remember that you buy it once and you save a lot of things that were threatening the health of the country and the people.”
In the meantime, one can fear cases of cooking gas explosion which may cause danger just in case it happens.
Sister Umumararungu Marie Pelagie, Headteacher of Groupe Scolaire Mater Dei
However, school leaders testify that the project has trained their staff with full knowledge and skills to prevent any incident that can lead to that explosion.
So far, each school, at the beginning, was supported with 2 cooking pots (muvelos) that are connected to LPG system and based on the system effects, some are planning to buy more so that in the future they will fully switch to this clean cooking system.
Cleaner air, lower costs, and more efficient cooking are just a few of the benefits of this new system. With continued support from the government and partners, it is expected that more schools will make the switch to LPG cooking in the future.
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