KiA-Stove: Brickstar Newsletter
Pierre Reyneke - Project Manager
Four months have passed by since we circulated our last newsletter, and we are excited to share with you some of the significant events and progress which occurred.
As the month of July drew to a close we completed our first of three phases of stove implementation and to date we have installed 502 units. This implementation phase was carried out over the space of four months and during this period we learned some valuable lessons. You can see more about this project in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=829plSlj8g0
In this newsletter we would like to share with you some of the positive spin-offs that we did not initially anticipate when the project was still in its development phases.
BRICK MAKING TRADITION KEPT ALIVE
The custom of making bricks using a clay and cow-dung mixture is an age old cultural practice within the Muhlaba Tribal Authority area (our project area) which has a very insignificant environmental impact compared to that of over-grazing and tree harvesting. During many of our engagements with community members many of the new stove owners conveyed memories of their parents and grandparents making use of this custom to construct houses and to pave their courtyards. However, the younger generation of community members foster strong intentions to do away with some of these old cultural practices and some even perceive them as ‘backward’. Yet, when we perform Brickstar demonstrations within each new village a large part of the crowd showing interest in the stove consists of this younger generation. Through the Brickstar project they look at this old custom with new eyes and consider it as still being relevant in the fact that it is a useful method to construct a strong viable structure.
MEN IN THE COMMUNITY GETTING INVOLVED
During our installation phase within the village of Berlin we encountered a challenge in relation to clay availability. The usual scenario is that a village would have a few locations where the correct quality of clay could be collected for brick making. But, in the village of Berlin we identified only one area and it was quite far removed from the village centre. We consulted the people who showed interest in owing a stove to find a possible solution to this problem. From out of this group a number of men decided to
produce bricks directly from the clay collection point and negotiated with Nova to transport the bricks to the houses. We were surprised by this, since this project has always predominantly been driven by women, as they are the ones mostly using the stoves.
VALUE OF TEAMWORK
Following the first implementation phase we conducted exit interviews with the implementation team members. From these interviews the point that most prominently surfaced was team member’s appreciation for being able to work as a team. We quite often witnessed these team members fulfilling tasks that were outside of their own roles, work that would go unpaid for, in order to support other members when they were faced with challenges. These are just some of the positive spin-offs that we did not initially anticipate when the project was still in its development phases.
Posted on 31 Aug 2017
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