Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
Disaster-affected communities may employ food preparation and cooking techniques that lead to increased cooking times and energy consumption and environmental degradation. This includes cooking unfamiliar foods. This can also lead to food wastage.
Food commodities can either be consumed as intended or be treated or bartered (for more preferred food items, non-food items or payment for services such as school fees, medical bills..)
Women and children bear a disproportionate burden, given traditional gendered household roles. Biomass fuels can also cause low birth weight in children of expectant women. Ensuring fair distribution and proper use of energy-saving stoves will have an impact on health and the environment.
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural Resource Depletion
Depleting natural resources, creating waste, polluting water, soil and harming ecosystems and flora, and fauna.
Solid waste stockpiling and disease vectors.
Deforestation from overuse of wood for cooking
Pollution or solid waste management challenges may be caused if food preparation and cooking methods are inefficient or polluting. This is particularly the case if new foods or equipment are used that the population is not familiar with. Organic and solid waste and potential disease spread.
Overuse of forest for cooking wood and charcoal has a deep impact on the regeneration of the plant cover.
Select culturally appropriate foods, and provide guidance on appropriate preparation and cooking techniques that reduce energy usage and cooking times.
Train communities in how to cook unfamiliar foods. Hold tasting sessions to encourage the adoption of unfamiliar foods
Promote techniques for food preparation that reduce energy consumption (e.g. soaking, tenderizing, milling, or cutting).
Promote practices for properly managing fires and stoves.
Include community members from the initial assessment in identifying appropriate preparation and cooking techniques to be used in beneficiaries’ training.
Unfamiliar food should not be selected by programme managers but should be the result of a consultative process with beneficiaries to ensure acceptance. This could also be linked with a livelihoods project to produce energy-saving stoves to be given to community members accompanied by training in efficient cooking methods.
Include fuel-efficient cooking techniques (e.g. pre-soaking beans, sheltering cooking fires, etc.) in training and sensitization activities and promote fuel-efficient stoves or modern alternative energy stoves to reduce wood use for cooking.
Monitoring demonstrates that disaster-affected communities often use or are forced into cooking techniques that lead to increased cooking times and energy consumption and environmental degradation. This is often exacerbated when they are provided with unfamiliar foods. Learning shows that taking time to demonstrate cooking techniques including pre-soaking, dicing, using lower temperatures, using lids on pots all save fuel and reduce environmental damage.
Food commodities can either be consumed as intended or be treated or bartered (for more preferred food items, non-food items, or payment for services such as school fees, medical bills..)
% of households using new cooking practices to reduce their energy consumption.
Prevention of environmental damage and environmental enhancement
Planning time with the community to identify culturally appropriate food and preparation techniques.