Fuelwood carriers of mount Entoto
The city of Addis Ababa requires large amounts of fuelwood to satisfy its energy needs. Women and children backloading mostly branch-wood and leaves into town supply about one-third of the requirements. In spite of the extremely arduous work, they have very low incomes and belong to the most disadvantaged sections of society. For want of alternative livelihoods, the women contribute to the depletion of the pen-urban forests of Addis Ababa.
While the women carriers perform an essential service for the urban energy sector, they average a daily income of less than US $0.50 cent and operate under extremely harsh conditions, having to walk long distances on harsh terrain, often barefoot, with heavy loads. Border guards will sometimes harass them, demanding bribe money to allow them to bring the fuel to market. The women are also prey to sexual assault, placing them at high HIV/AIDS risk.