Session 14. Stove promotion and dissemination
Step 1. (5 minutes)
Step 2. (10 minutes)
Step 3. (1 hour)
Step 6. (40 minutes)
Step 6. (5 minutes)
STOVE INTRODUCTION AND DISSEMINATION: CASE STUDY 1
A volunteer health worker in a small town in the Sahel noticed many women suffering from the smoke in their kitchens. Remembering the wood stoves she had seen as a child in Europe, she developed a simple box shaped stove with two potholes and a chimney. She had a local mason build the first stoves to her specifications, using adobe and mud mortar as material and making the cooking surface low, to suit local cooking habits.
She convinced some women friends in the town to try out the new stoves and they liked them. Not only did the stoves eliminate the smoke, they also saved firewood, allowed for more stable cooking and provided a raised surface to prepare food and place condiments. Soon the word spread: the stoves became popular in town and in the surrounding villages. The mason could hardly keep up with the orders for "a stove from Mademoiselle." The volunteer began to charge a fee to cover materials and construction costs. This became especially important after she and the mason decided to substitute fired bricks, mortar and concrete for the adobe, in order to make stronger and more durable stoves.
When the volunteer's term was up, one of the foreign aid agencies offered to expand her work into a nationwide stove promotion and dissemination program. She moved to the capital, where a stove demonstration center was built. Publicity campaigns were started in the newspaper and on radio. A local artist designed a stove T-shirt. Three or four standard models were on display at the stove center and could be ordered from a young woman hired to run the stoves for demonstration. A team of masons then came to the customer's home and built the model she had chosen in her kitchen, with instructions of how to properly cure the concrete stove top. Customers were mainly the wives of merchants and government officials. The stoves were becoming a sought-after status symbol in the capital city.
Plans for dissemination included creating more stove centers in other major towns throughout the country. Each would have its own mason team, trained in the capital, to build stoves locally. Radio promotion and word-of-mouth were counted on to create a demand for stoves.
Unfortunately, many of the stoves cracked badly in spite of the improved materials. Users were often impatient and did not let their concrete stoves cure long enough. If a stove broke down, it was sufficient to call the stove demonstration center, and a mason would be sent to repair the stove.
To date, the program is a success. There is a three-week waiting list to have a stove built, and orders are still coming in.
STOVE INTRODUCTION AND DISSEMINATION: CASE STUDY 2
In one Sahelian country, stove developers and local people designed a cookstove together. Local awareness of the firewood crisis was high, due to a Peace Corps energy survey which had recently been taken in the village. The villagers talked to the stove developers of their methods for conserving wood: windbreaks, lids on pots, putting out embers with sand, etc. Then they all talked of reducing heat loss during cooking, using the analogy of light lost from a lantern. Together they decided that putting walls around the fire would be a great improvement. There remained a question of materials: what should this wall be made out of? At this point, the stove developers showed the villagers some dried Lorena, and it was decided that this material might be suitable. Together with the local people, a stove was designed: the cookies pot would be surrounded by Lorena walls, and there would be an entrance on one side for feeding wood into the fire. A space all around the pot would allow the smoke to escape.
The result was a very simple chimneyless one-hole stove. This stove came to play a key role in the national stove dissemination program, especially for regions where one-pot cooking is common. The stated aim of the national program is to saturate the country with stoves by training as many different groups and individuals as possible in stove construction. Workshops are being held all over the country, either by an itinerant mason team or by volunteers stationed in out-lying areas. Local social service organizations are also involved in the training effort. It is hoped that trainees will either become trainers of others, or stove masons who will construct stoves for pay.
Here is an example of how this dissemination effort has worked: a Peace Corps Volunteer taught several women in his village how to build stoves. When he returned after a fortnight away from his village, he found that over a hundred stoves had been built in his absence. Half of them had been built by the women he had trained; the other half by women whom his trainees had taught. The stoves look like volcanoes, rather than model stoves, but they save wood and direct smoke away from the eyes towards the ceiling of the hut. Even though many of the firebox bridges crack and some cave in (partly due to construction flaws and partly due to wear-and-tear), cooks continue to use them and are enthusiastic about their stoves.
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