For families already struggling with economic challenges, the need to devote precious time and resources to gathering biomass for fires can be crippling.
Families that buy their cooking fuel can spend up to one-quarter of their income on wood or gas. Other families who forage for fuel must continually look further and further from home as fuel wood becomes more scarce. Foraging for fuel wood is a demanding task that reduces the time women and children have for school and profitable work. For example, in El Salvador some women and children spend 3 to 4 hours a day foraging for fuel wood up to 5 times a week. As securing energy requires more time or money, people’s quality of life will continue to decline.