The East Africa Stove colloquium was held on 7th June 2011 in Nairobi Kenya. It was a meeting organized under the auspices of the GIZ (formerly German Technical Cooperation- GTZ) sector network for energy in sub Saharan Africa with support from the GIZ headquarters sector initiative for Poverty Oriented Basic Energy (HERA).
The main aim of this event was to provide a forum for practitioners in improved stove projects in the East Africa region to exchange information on various aspects of the current status of stove project implementation such as:
- Stove activities in the region
- Developments in the global improved cook stove arena
- Stove testing and Research
- Stove commercialization
- Stoves and Carbon Finance
Over 70 participants attended the event with representatives of private sector, research institutes, government and NGOs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania Ethiopia, Burundi, Congo, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Germany, the UK and USA among others.
Opening remarks were made by Ms Felicia Ndungu, Ministry of Agriculture Kenya who emphasized the importance of improved stoves in Kenya’s national development and clear alignment with national goals such as vision 2030. After this, presentations were made by participants on the 5 themes. Detailed presentations are available here. A copy of the programme is provided as an annex to these proceedings.
A variety of methods were used to facilitate interactions between participants. For instance rather than have typical plenary question and answer sessions, time was provided for participants to walk up to presenters in corner discussions where they could get their questions answered at length. This was used during the carbon finance and stove activities in the region sessions. In the case of improved stove testing, research and commercialization, focused group discussions were held and the feedback from the groups is elaborated in these proceedings. The brief comments on the GACC/AACC session are also provided here.
Stove Activities in the Region
This session gave select participants an opportunity to present their work on improved cook stoves in East Africa. Presentations were made by Millennium Villages, Practical Action, Solar Cookers International, GIZ stove programmes with support of Energising Development funds in East Africa, Envirofit, Tea Vac Machinery Limited, SNV, GIZ Programme supporting refugees in partnership with the United Nations High Commision for Refugees and Tanzania Traditional Energy Development and Environment Organisation.
The emphasis of these presentations was:
- Brief information on the organization
- Activities being implemented – stove dissemination, stove research, training among others
- Approaches being tried out
- Partners involved
- Achievements and results
Participants were then given an opportunity to have individual discussions with the presenters for clarifications.
Developments in the Global Improved Stove Arena
Presentations were made on the Global Alliance on Clean Cookstoves (GACC) and Africa Alliance on Clean Cookstoves (AACC). This highlighted the justification of formation of the alliance and progress to date elaborating opportunities for partnership.
Participants stated that it is still not clear on membership and benefits that come with the membership. It appears that only big players can benefit since small agencies cannot afford large financial contributions to get substantial recognition. Will the GACC be flexible to publish information on their website and will this be accessible to non members? There needs to be more information about GACC/AACC and how members can benefit.
Stove Testing and Research
Presentations were made by three research and testing institutions namely the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute, Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation Uganda and University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The presenters elaborated on various aspects of their work such as general information on the institutions, stove prototype development, stove testing methods, partners involved and challenges faced in research and testing. Participants were divided into three groups to brainstorm on important (priority) testing needs. During focused group discussions, the following were the requests made by various
Carbon Finance Sector Testing Requirements
The carbon finance sector players emphasized that they need
- A quality stove
- Appropriately tested using measurement techniques
- Efficiency measurements over time
- Nairobi as test centre for region
- Standards for region to be uniform
- Efficiency for different fuels and moisture content measured
- Durability and performance of stoves over time measured
- Information on consumers and buyer interest
Stove Project Implementers (NGOs, CBOs and semi industrial stove production) Testing Requirements
Individuals involved in implementing improved stove projects by disseminating semi industrial stove production cited their needs as:
- sharing information
- providing protocols for the different technologies (solar cookers, ethanol stoves, gasifiers, fireless cookers, wood stoves etc)
- providing recommendations and feedback
- Specific stove durability tests
- Stove field testing for specific number of years
- Tests on materials used in making improved stoves in liaison with producers (varied in weight and cost)
- Determining added value of inclusion of stove skirt
Industrial/pre-fab Stove Producers Testing Requirements
Individuals involved in implementing improved stove projects by training trainers and semi industrial stove production cited their needs as:
- How to interface with researchers and other private sector to facilitate more research
- Knowledge of innovative trends for commercialization of stoves. This is a research need
- alternative markets for technology development e.g. use of improved stove technology in agro industries such as insulation
- Uniform standards and rules for all East Africa (GACC/AACC most likely can provide)
- An East Africa database on stoves online with information on testing, standards, potential partners
- A general concern was raised that the type of wood should also be taken into consideration in testing. For instance soft wood burns differently from hard wood.
This session provided an opportunity for projects to showcase their methods for stove commercialization as well as their challenges and successes. Presentations were made by the GIZ Burkina Faso stove programme, the stove associations in Kenya and Uganda (ISAK and BEETA) and the Paradigm project.
Participants were then provided with an opportunity to debate the approaches of the various organizations at their respective tables. Below is a summary of their comments and some recommendations.
- The GIZ Burkina Faso 30 years of experience on stove commercialization was an impressive success story. However, no mention was made on the stove performance, targeted number of the stoves to be distributed and so on and this would be very helpful to relate to how successful the project has been.
- Burkina Faso project stoves were highly subsidized – although widely distributed
and accepted by public - what about sustainability?
- A lot of marketing of stove as attractive product (radio adverts, cooking
- There is a problem posed by different actors with different objectives and with different
approaches such as subsidies, free stove distribution versus consumer pays full price
- Is importing stove not against sustainability of the technology? Further
- Are import options reliable?
- Is maintenance assured?
- Would it be a possibility to import only the high-tech parts and to assemble the rest in the country? (yes, it would, definitively – even if this brings us back to the 2 points raised before)
- Case of Uganda (as an example): metal price is very high, better to produce metal parts abroad – some scenarios call for imports
- Other questions concerning the Burkina example (types of stoves, prices, lifespan, associations, logo)
- We have a lot of experience from over 20 years of improved stove work, perhaps rather than giving stoves for free, let us find cheaper stoves that work just as well
- GIZ should identify stove density areas and not go there to promote them where they are already
- Most stove projects cover specific regions – need to cover more regions
- The paradigm project disseminates stoves via NGOs – they train and get ideas from the community on design and improvements. For Kenya for instance, users wanted a heavy and stable stove
- Stove design is critical e.g. in an area visited (Kisumu) a household which received a free stove do not use it because it is not suitable to their cooking habits
- Paradigm project uses experts for capacity building – everyone should do what they are best at
- In the case of Moto Baraka stove this is an ethanol stove that burns at 600°C rather than the typical kerosene 400°C
- Baraka stove promotion using commercial sales targeting peri urban areas considering getting carbon finance
- In the 80s the charcoal stove (KCJ) picked up well – why isn’t the wood stove also flourishing?
- Approach of KCJ commercialization was heavy donor funding and severe fuel crisis driving stove acceptance
- KCJ also targeted urban poor and small scale business people with a lot of commercialization support even from the Government
- Wood stove needs more commercialization support e.g. save 80 stove. Stove maintenance support is also crucial
- Some stoves e.g. Envirofit are expensive yet a certain market segment still affords them. Since wood stoves mainly target the poor, unique approaches are needed. Nevertheless some comments made on the stove are:
- The price of the stoves is high and local east Africans will not manage them for example the Envirofit stove.
- The stove performance of the envirofit stove is not known to the lay East Africans but it already looks an inappropriate technology for African cooking
- Envirofit should look at empowering the Africans to come up with the design which is more users friendly.
- There is need to identify a good approach of commercialization in the informal sector
- We should find ways to promote promote improved stoves if population has an easy access to fuel or the fuel is free or low price
- We need to consider the variety of stoves available – different types confusing to users perhaps a standardized wood stove is needed
- Ways to communicate to help users know the best stove
- Clarify what we mean by ‘the best’?
- There are different attributes of stoves, like any other product (price, performance, quality…)
- It is a free market and any one can sell his/her product
- Access to stoves is still a big challenge – decentralized approach is required. This can be enhanced by setting up a stove production chain that:
- fits into cooking habits
- is economically viable
- an be produced locally by small producers
- training professionals
- aggressive marketing making stoves known
- finding out about customer satisfaction
- More aggressive stove promotion is required alongside market players capacity building e.g.
- Commercial approach without subsidy is ideal
- There is need for more forums to discuss commercialization of improved stoves in the region
- Carbon finance approaches need to be careful not to destroy commercial stove businesses already established
- Co2 balance gives stoves for free so as to get numbers the money is reinvested in stoves. This however can pose a challenge to commercialization as different sector actors are using different approaches
- Innovations of new stoves and standards development should be supported
- There is need for stove performance standards and their enforcement
- Need to tackle issue of substandard stoves - sometimes improved stoves are known but because market has been flooded with counterfeit stoves the prospective clientele are unable to distinguish quality and counterfeit stoves.
- Problem compounded further because counterfeit stoves are cheaper
- Recommendation to use standard marks to brand the genuine improved stoves, whose performance is guaranteed/ascertained. Ensure that they can easily be identified and distinguished from the counterfeits.
- Promote more producers of improved stoves in order to stimulate healthy competition in business. This is envisaged to compel the stove producers / service providers to ensure good quality of products and services in order to survive in the competitive improved stove market.
- Whereas some national stove standards may be in place, it may be cheaper and more effective to enforce the stove standards through stove producer associations, if they (stove association members) are encouraged and empowered to do self policing/regulation on the minimum acceptable stove standards. The stove standards should among other factors include the following:
- Safety to the stove user
- Stove performance (thermal and fuel efficiency)
- Stove emissions (satisfying specified benchmarks)
- Stove adaptability to the cooking needs of the prospective stove user
- Stoves should be user friendly
- Consider how to promote the stove as per users needs E.g. in Kenya: time to cook, smoke reduction, fuel efficiency are usually the areas of focus
- Consider the labeling of impact of stoves in relation to environmental issues (the positive impact of improved stoves to the environment)
- Also placing the logo on stoves is interesting but it can be a fraud, anyone can make a copy. How can we control this?
- the importance of a national forum for stoves (such as stove associations) should be recognized as they provide for
- advocacy – there is need to get the government more on board on all improved
stove dissemination aspects
- interaction platform for interacting with policy formulators
- information sharing, dissemination, awareness creation
- Lack of capital for stove dealers (all involved in the commercial supply-demand chain)
- A case in Kenya was raised as an example where a third party was involved in providing security for stove producers against banks for securing loan
- Provide financing at an affordable rate
- use local materials for stove production and try to up scale
- work with local artisans to develop their skills and quality and help them to increase their production
- Monitor stove production to have quality, affordable and durable stoves
- Test stoves (WBT, CCT)to ascertain quality and assist in setting up standards by doing tests
- Promote a comprehensive approach to the biomass energy to take into account the fuel/forest management and the introduction of improved stoves. Fuel supply chain issues also need to be addressed
Stoves and Carbon Finance
The Paradigm project, Co2 balance and Uganda carbon bureau presented their experience in implementing improved stove carbon finance projects in East Africa. Highlights of the presentations included explanation of the type of carbon finance project, elaboration of the projects stage, partners involved, technologies are included, method of establishing the baseline, dissemination approach, monitoring, use of the revenue by the projects and opportunities for partnership. Thereafter participants were allowed to meet the presenters individually for clarifications.
Feedback from the Participants
The participants abounded in positive comments about the event. Some of their comments include:
- Best workshop attended – good time management
- Quality presentations were made and they were inspiring
- It was good to see improved stoves as a business
- Good opportunity to interact and get feedback from presenters
- Very interactive we got a chance to showcase our work especially in research and testing
- Market of opportunities should be used for further follow up of co-operation
- Time was very limited to discuss the topics. We need more time for such a meeting perhaps an extra day?
- We need more of such meetings
- A wealth of expertise all in one place was awesome. We learnt a lot and networked alot
- We got insights on current developments and food for thought some new technology was presented – this needs testing
- This should be done more regularly perhaps once every 1-2 years
- It was good to meet other actors in our sector to complement our work. We shared experience with people who can provide solutions to problems we encounter
- It was great to have CDs of everything at the end for future reference
- Very good organization – special thanks to organization committee it was not boring!
- The general consensus was that this is a meeting that provided a very important forum for improved stove sector stakeholders to meet and get opportunities for collaboration. It should be held regularly perhaps once every year.
The closing remarks were made by Ms Anna Ingwe-Musungu of GIZ PSDA. There is a lot of technologies and different tools we have something to show for our about 30 years of work. We can say we are moving forward. This sector has now even attracted private sector interest to invest. We now need to work to bring stove closer to consumer need good approach. Let us now invest in a good strategy to make a difference so that we can meet in 60 years with even more celebration of what we have moved forward in stoves sector. We appreciate the Ministry of Agriculture, all presenters and organizers and participants for patience in attending the whole
day. Let us keep fire burning to address the problem of clean energy for cooking.