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close this book Boiling Point No. 10 - August 1986
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Dolo Gushes Forth

Summary of an article in 'Reseau' July 1985 - Bois de Feu

In Burkina Faso there is a crisis' shortage of more than a million tons of firewood a year. Dolo is the natural drink brewed by women in the village to meet immediate, local needs. In Ouagadougou there are about 100 women brewing dolo on a more commercial scale and estimated to use 15-20% of all the wood burnt in the town. There is clearly an opportunity to save fuel by introducing a more effective stove for this special purpose and the organised nature and commercial aspect of the trade make it more easy to study and more susceptible to innovation than the domestic kitchen.

"Dolo - The Horses' Remedy" - a humourus village folk story about the origin of dolo, is recounted.

Jodis, a village Chief had two wives. He loved one but not the other whom he made to look after his horse, which she did well in fear of being beaten. One day the horse said to the woman "collect the millet that you find outside my stall, let it germinate, dry it in the sun and crush it." Then he told her tomix it with water etc. etc. until she produced the miller beer or dolo. This she gave to her husband who immediately promoted her to be his favourite wife and hence dolo preparation has always been a womans task.

Artesial and GRET/GERES are working together on this project following a survey by M. Zaffran and are also working on improved stove making with local potters. A detailed survey was carried out on 7 brewers in the village of Kougsabla, initiated by a man from the village who is also President of the "Association of Volunteers for Development. "

The morality of research on Dolo is now being considered - improved stoves should result in savings in fuel and cooking time in the villages and more money for the Ouagadougou Dolo business and so possibly cheaper Dolo. Does this mean more Dolo drunk or is the demand already fully met? Village brewers often do not get rid of all they brew. Apart from the essential economy of firewood, the introduction of improved stoves may have the secondary effect of favouring Dolo rather than "industrial" beer and so helping a village industry.