Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ingenious indigenous innovation

Kabuljan Begum’s eco-friendly oven makes waves across Rajshahi
Anwar Ali
Fourteen years ago, Kabuljan Begum developed an environment-friendly oven to keep herself and her family safe from air pollution caused by open-fire ovens.
Her solution has now become the go-to choice for hundreds of others in the rural areas of Rajshahi region, covering three districts of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj.
From her remote village in Horidebpur in Rajshahi’s Tanore upazila, some 36 km off Rajshahi city, 55-year-old Kabuljan Begum visits village after village every week to make her ovens for others.
Officials of Bangladesh Resources Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) said according to their records of her activities since 2017, she has developed eight types of ovens and visited 85 villages to make over 5,000 ovens.
“Her oven is simple, cheap and it ensures a healthy kitchen,” said Amreto Kumar Sarker, a programme officer of BARCIK.
Its specialty lies in filtering carbon by using a chimney made with earth or cement and an earth-made perforated cap. The chimney and cap requires frequent cleaning, the official said.
According to WHO, 260 crore people across the globe use ordinary open-fire ovens, which produce harmful black smokes that can cause pneumonia among children, heart diseases, asthma, and lung diseases, leading to death of some 40 lakh people worldwide.
During a recent visit to Kabuljan Begum’s Horidebpur village, this correspondent saw her returning from a business trip to a neighbouring village.
“I’ve never imagined that an oven can fetch me this much popularity,” Kabuljan said. “The families bless me when they sense how easily they can get rid of black smoke and dirt from ordinary ovens by switching to mine.”
The idea started its journey in 2008, when development workers took the concept of “Bandhu Chula” (environment-friendly oven) to her village. But back then, Kabuljan could not afford one for her family.
One day, she asked her husband to collect some clay and concrete pipes to build an oven and its chimney.
“The first oven cost me Tk 500. It worked really well. Then I re-developed it for my convenience,” she said.
Her oven burns with all types of firewood, straws and fallen tree-leaves. It causes no harm to the cook or anyone else in the house and lasts long, she said.
Witnessing her using the oven, neighbours started asking her to make some for them, and this is how started production on a broader scale.
Soon enough, she had covered, by foot, 250 households in her neighbourhood and made her ovens for them.
After that, words started spreading beyond her village. Her stature kept growing as her role in alleviating household air pollution drew the attention of the local administration, which led to her attending several local innovation fairs.
In 2014, she received the Joyeeta award for her efforts.
Assisted by BARCIK, she started visiting distant villages and indigenous communities since 2017.
So far, she has travelled to Paba, Tanore, Godagari, Mohonpur, Niamatpur, Nachol, Manda upazilas and even the slums of Rajshahi city in Sreerampur, and Namo Bhadra areas. Since 2009, Kabuljan has built some 10,000 ovens.
“Whoever calls me, I visit them. Sometimes, I invite people over too,” Kabuljan said.
Such is her dedication to the cause that whenever she goes to a village to make an oven, she also trains women there, all to spread the oven’s use.
Her family members are also happy for the role she plays for society.
“The oven is so simple that I can use it while she is away,” Kabuljan’s husband Mobarak Hossain said.
The family’s neighbour Bani Rani Sutradhar was the first to have an oven made by Kabuljan. “We’re really happy that we found a way to get rid of smoke inside the house,” she said.

Article originally published on The Daily Star

Related News

Frequent cyclones hit agriculture hard in coastal Bangladesh

DAE estimates Tk 387cr worth crops loss in Midhili Emran Hossain With another cyclonic storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal, the third one in a little over a month, farmers on Bangladesh’s coast are busy harvesting their partially ripened crops, potentially losing their expected production significantly. The Department of Agricultural Extension completed its assessment ... Read more

Week-long tree fair ends

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A week-long tree fair and plantation drive, held on Moulvibazar Government High School grounds, concludes today. The fair, organised by Moulvibazar district administration and the Department of Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation, began on July 27. Students, among other visitors, got the chance to explore an array of varieties, both local ... Read more

Trees on 50 acres lost in 5yrs

Sohrab Hossain The Shuvo Sandhya Beach in Barguna’s Taltali upazila has been facing serious erosion by the Bay for the last couple of years. Due to continuous erosion by the Bay, nearly 50 acres of forestland close to the beach and about 60,000 trees have already been washed away in the last five year. Meanwhile, ... Read more

Kuakata Beach: 75,000 trees lost to erosion every year

Md Abbas There was a time when coconut, palm, tamarisk, and mangrove trees swayed with the winds on Kuakata Beach. Their tall trunks guarded the shore-dwellers against the wrath of natural calamities. However, the current state of the National Park, a government-declared forest reserve along this coastal belt since 2005, only brings dismay to tourists ... Read more

Bogura yoghurt, Chapainawabganj Langra and Ashwina receive the GI label

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Four more products, including the yogurt of Bogura, and Langra and Ashwina varieties of mango of Chapainawabganj have been recognised as geographical indication (GI) products from Bangladesh. In addition, the Aman variety of the fragrant Tulshimala rice from Sherpur has also acquired the GI tag, Md Zillur Rahman, deputy registrar (Trade ... Read more

BINA Dhan-25 shows hope

Farmers get higher yield from newly developed rice variety Sajjad Hossain Mannan Joaddar cultivated BINA Dhan-25, a newly developed variety of paddy, on one bigha of land in Moghi village of Magura 93 days ago. The 55-year-old farmer is now over the moon. He had not seen such thin and long grain in his 20 ... Read more

Banana cultivation shows bright prospect

Shykh Seraj Agriculture in Tangail region has changed a lot in the last three decades. Once the land of this region was unfit for any cultivation. Back then, it wasn’t possible to grow crops due to uneven land surface and lack of irrigation facilities. In the early 80s, the topography of Tangail’s Sakhipur, Ghatail, Basail ... Read more

Maize farming leading char farmers to financial stability

Mostafa Shabuj About two decades ago, farmers in remote char areas of northern Bangladesh were quite impoverished due to the consequences of repeated flooding and other natural disasters. Now though, these farmers have achieved financial stability by growing maize, which is more suitable for the region compared to other crops. For example, more profitable crops ... Read more

Farmers find hope in solar-powered irrigation

EAM Asaduzzaman Life is easier now for Abu Taleb, 45, a potato farmer of Saddyo Puskuruni village in Rangpur. A year ago, high irrigation costs for diesel-run pumps, which he bore out-of-pocket, made it difficult for him to provide for his three children. Now, after switching to solar-powered irrigation, his livelihood has changed for the ... Read more

Shoilmari: A river dead, livelihoods endangered

Dipankar Roy The once mighty Shoilmari river in Khulna’s Batiaghata upazila can now only be called a river on paper. In just three years, it has been filled with silt. The once 150-metre-wide river has now turned into a 3 to 4-metre narrow channel. Boats cannot sail there in low tide and people can cross ... Read more

Countrywide heavy rains until 13 Sep

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The current heavy rains brought on by the depression at the Bay of Bengal are predicted to last until Tuesday, according to the weather forecast service. The low will weaken in next 24 hours and move towards the plain land through Odisha and towards Chhatishgarh through West Bengal afterwards. Mostafa Kamal ... Read more

120 hills disappeared from Chattogram in 4 decades

An environmental group called Bangladesh Environment Forum alleged Sunday that 120 hills had vanished from Chattogram city in the past forty years. The port city’s hills decreased from 32.37 square kilometers in 1976 to 14.02 square kilometers in 2008, according to a written statement from the forum’s general secretary, Aliur Rahman. He was addressing during ... Read more

A young agro enthusiast helping farmers in Tangail

Mirza Shakil When the pandemic hit and in-person classes at universities were suspended, Shakil Ahmed, then a final-year student of agriculture department at Noakhali Science and Technology University, had returned home. But he refused to sit idle, and so, asked his father for a plot of land to farm squash. The yield was massive as ... Read more

Brood fish release sample eggs in Halda

Brood fish in the Halda have released sample eggs – indicating full spawning – since Saturday night at various points of the river. Egg collectors got 200-500 grammes of eggs on average since Saturday night from the river. Ashu Barua from Madunaghat area, a seasoned egg collector, told The Daily Star that they started coming ... Read more

Ban on catching hilsa to end at midnight after 2 months

The ban on catching hilsa will be lifted at midnight today after two months. The fisheries department said due to the two-month ban, it will be possible to collect the desired target of 6 lakh tonnes of hilsa fish this time, reports our Barishal correspondent. However, many fishermen said they are not interested in going to ... Read more

Second chance at education for Pirojpur elderly

“I never knew there’s so much beauty and fun hidden inside a book,” said 44-year-old Salma Begum, who learned to read and write very recently. “I had to blindly trust anyone who could read to let me know the contents of important documents. Now I’m self-sufficient in that regard, and use my own signature instead of ... Read more

Barind farmers at mercy of DTW operators

Ethnic minorities suffer more Suzon Ali . Rajshahi Farmers in the Barind region are held hostage by Barind Multipurpose Development Authority deep tube well operators. Some farmers in the region said that deep tube well operators did not irrigate their land properly while others said that operators extracted extra money and ‘undue benefits’ from them. Talking ... Read more

Local seeds for local needs

Female farmers of Khulna exchange varieties at fair Dipankar Roy Seeds of local varieties – preserved by families for generations – have been the most adaptive way of cultivation for the distinct climatic conditions of the country’s coastal areas. In what is considered a yearly tradition, female farmers exchange the seeds at the “seed fair”, ... Read more

Tow month long hilsha fishing ban imposes from today

In a bid to conserve Jatka or juveniles of hilsa, the government has imposed a two-month ban on netting, selling and transporting hilsa in six sanctuaries from today (March 1). Bimal Chandra Das, fisheries officer of Barishal, said the ban is going to be observed across 432km area of six districts, including three in Barishal division. ... Read more

Food crisis hits bee colonies

Thousands kill each other, climate change blamed Emran Hossain This year’s frequent, untimely winter rain left bees, a key pollinator, in an unprecedented conflict as they died in thousands fighting over food, beekeepers and government agricultural extension officials said. Affected beekeepers said that they never faced a crisis of food for bees to this extent ... Read more