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close this bookGATE - 1/87 - Research and Development (GTZ GATE, 1987, 52 p.)
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News from GATE

The "Mad Sauki" is a Success

The Propagation of Wood-saving All-metal Stoves in Niger
by Marion Fischer and Michael Gajo

The Niger Stove Propagation Programme began its work In February 1985. In collaboration with the Energy Directorate In the Ministry for Mining and Energy, this is a project jointly financed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ/GATE).

The aim of the project is to support local mass production of wood-saving stoves, to develop a strategy for the dissemination of 20,000 stoves within two years, and to initiate and support commercialization in the private sector.

The popular "Mad Sauki" stove

The "Mad Sauki" stove (which means "fast cooker" in Hausa) was developed with the help of experience in stove technology from Burkina Faso and in collaboration with the non-governmental organization "Association Bois de Feu", Aix-en-Provence. A French volunteer from the Association Fran,caise des Volontaires du Progress (AFVP) adapted the Burkina Faso model "Ouaga Metallique", a cylindrical, welded stove made of virgin metal, to the production conditions in the semi-informal sector of scrapmetal processing in the town of Niamey. In collaboration with the smiths of the Boukoki Craftsmen's Market, a stove made of scrap metal which can be produced with the help of simple production techniques such as double seaming or riveting was developed. The only tools needed are a hammer, a chisel and a piece of rail for use as an anvil. In addition, the stability of the stove in comparison with the "Ouaga Metallique" was considerably improved by the addition of a seam at the top edge and a folded edge at the bottom. This edge also prevents any tendency of the stove to sink into the sand, which would block the primary air intake.

The "Mad Sauki" stove is produced by the professional group of the tinsmiths, who traditionally manufacture a selection of scrap metal products such as watering cans, tin boxes and containers, and a wide range of agricultural equipment.

These are the same smiths who make the commonly-used "Foyer Malgache" stove. This is a low-efficiency scrapmetal stove that was put on the urban market in Niger as early as the Fifties. The craftsmen's existing skill in performing sheet-metal work involving seams and riveting means that it does not take them long to learn how to manufacture the new "Mad Sauki". It was thus possible to avoid long periods of training.

The project could have aimed at the mass production of metal stoves in the modern semi-industrial sector by developing a welded virgin-metal stove and setting up a new sales organization to match. This approach was avoided, however, as the tinsmiths would have suffered enormous market losses in comparison with the welders in the modern production sector. These losses would, in the long term, have led to unemployment as the demand for the old "Foyer Malgache" stove diminished. The production costs for a stove made of virgin metal, and thus the purchase price, would be much higher than in the case of a stove made of recycled metal. There is also an abundance of scrap metal. Virgin metal, on the other hand, would have to be imported at considerable cost, and the new stove would have to be subsidized. Existing trading patterns could be used if the stove were manufactured from scrap metal, obviating the need for the setting up of new production and distribution methods.

The intention of the project is to preserve the traditional production and commercial structures in the recycled metal sector, as they guarantee direct distribution of the new stove, and because all that need to be done is to replace the traditional "Foyer Malgache" with the new "Mad Sauki" stove and to introduce the latter onto the market.

From the women's point of view, the change from a "Foyer Malgache" to an improved "Mad Sauki" stove is not too abrupt in view of the lather’s simple operation. In addition it can also be purchased where the women usually bought their last stoves.

Thanks to its low-cost production, the improved "Mad Sauki" stove is within the pocket of all social levels of the urban population in Niger. The fixed retail price, depending on the stove's size, ranges from 550 Francs CFA (3.20 DM) for the smallest model (No. 1) and 1450 Francs CFA (8.70 DM) for stove size No. 10.

In view of the fact that wood consumption is 45 per cent lower, the purchase of two "Mad Sauki" stoves (the most popular stove combination is No. 2 for the gravy and No. 3 for rice or millet gruel, i.e. 650 F CFA + 750 F CFA = 1400 F CFA) pays for itself within one month.

Last but not least, the "Mad Sauki" stove is extremely popular thanks to its advantages in the kitchen: rapid boiling time, reductions in wood consumption between 40 and 50 percent, less smoke and increased stability while cooking. For this reason it is not called the "improved" but the "modern" stove in the country's official languages Hausa and Djerma.

The four-day campaign

In order to establish direct contact with the target group, the women who actually use the stoves, a sensitization programme was devised whereby the women in every quarter of the towns of Niamey, Tahoua and Maradi were to be familiarized with the stove and its advantages. With the help of an "Etude preliminaire" in 100 households, the programme was worked out in detail: cooking habits, methods of argumentation and critical points made during actual use were observed and taken into account in the development of the sensitization programme. In Niamey, for instance, 43 quarters of the town and nine barracks where solidest families live were visited in the course of the sensitization campaign.

"Sensitizing" the women of one part of the town took the form of a four-day programme:

On the first day the traditional notables of the quarter are visited: the president of the women's organization, the president of the young girls, the chairman of the youth organization and the "chef de quartier".

The "sensitization" activities are explained to them and their permission to inform the women in their quarter of the improved stoves, and to gather them together for a cooking demonstration, is asked. The services of a traditional purveyor of information in the quarter of the town concerned, a "griot" (town crier with drum) are obtained in order to announce the news that the women should come along on the third day.

On the second day the publicity bus, brightly painted with stove designs and provided with a loudspeaker, drives around the quarter of town, once again inviting the population to a cooking demonstration on the third day with the help of a song composed by a well-known Niger singer on the qualities of the stove, and the summons of the sensitization teams.

Finally, on the third day, the cooking demonstration with explanations on how to use the stove takes place, during the course of which a comparative demonstration of food preparation is given on the traditional metal stove and on the improved stove with identical amounts of food and firewood. The advantages of the improved stoves are clear for all to see: cooking times are shorter, less smoke is generated and less firewood is used.

On the fourth day stoves are brought along to the president of the women of the quarter, who takes over the honorary responsibility for the sale of stoves in her quarter of town. Simultaneously information on where the stoves are made is given, and the fact that they can also be obtained there is stated. The presidents of the women's organization sell the stoves on behalf of the project, hand over the proceeds to the project at the end of each month, and simultaneously place further orders. This type of sale via the project only takes place over three or four months in each quarter of town in order to simplify for the women the job of purchasing a stove, i.e. to save them a long journey and to stimulate them to buy an improved stove.

The aim of the project is to sell stoves on the free market. During the "sensitization" phase of the women, sales were shared evenly: 50 per cent by the project and the women's organization and 50 per cent on the free market.

Information and publicity

Parallel to the sensitization campaign, which was mainly aimed at the target group of women, a nationwide information and advertising campaign was carried out. This was aimed at the general urban public and its intention was to draw attention to the stove, its advantages and its correct use, also creating a favorable climate of public opinion. The project made use of various media and advertising methods, which varied in their range and their capacity to get a certain message across:

- Since the beginning of the sensitization campaign, a television commercial has been included every Sunday evening in the nationwide women's magazine programme.

- Contributions on the topic of desertification and wood-saving stoves have been broadcast on the radio.

- A minibus has been painted to display various stages of stove production and use, and has been fitted with a loudspeaker.

- A singer well-known all over Niger has composed a song on the improved stove which has been recorded on cassette and which is broadcast through the minibus loudspeaker.

- Brochures with instructions for use, stickers, T-shirts and clothing material printed with stove motifs have been circulated.

- Posters announcing the cooking demonstrations in the quarter of town in question, and metal signs at the points of sale have been placed in prominent positions.

- The project exploited every opportunity to appear in public as, for example, with the tinsmiths during the May Day procession, at the annual "Festival of the Tree", at the exhibition of trade and industry, the agricultural fair, and on World Nutrition Day, as well as organizing an Open Day.

The sensitization and the information/ advertising campaigns had to be precisely co-ordinated with each other and brought into line with the corresponding stages of the project. The advertising campaign could thus only be started after a corresponding number of smiths had been trained in the production of improved stoves, and after potential production capacity had been increased, as it would otherwise have proved impossible to satisfy the increased demand for the new stoves. The individual pieces of information and publicity statements also had to be adapted exactly to the sensitization activities in order to serve as an additional source of information.

A street survey held when the project had been running for just one year showed, for instance. that 99 per cent of those asked had heard of the improved stove and were also able to name its advantages.

The effects of the campaign

Following the sensitization campaign, the project carried out an internal evaluation study of its own at the beginning of 1986 for the purpose of investigating the effectiveness of the sensitization campaign on sales of the stove. The aspects to be taken into account were the distribution to date according to size, cooking habits and food preparation on the improved stoves, buying habits, assimilation of information on the stoves, acceptance of the stoves, their use, and the growing demand for improved stoves which the sensitization and publicity campaigns produced.

The 488 households investigated owned a total of 855 improved "Mad Sauki" stoves, i.e. almost every household possessed on average two improved stoves. 278 of the women interviewed (57%) were exclusive users of improved stoves, 155 (32%) used an improved stove in combination with a "Foyer Malgache", the old type of stove; the remainder of households continued to employ in addition the "three-stone fire".

Two stoves are used for cooking mainly in the evenings and at lunch time. In the mornings a good 50 per cent of the women interviewed used an improved stove to warm up any leftovers from the evening before or to boil water.

Incorrect handling of the improved stove occurred mainly in those households where servants used the stove, i.e. in the middle and upper classes.

More than half the women inter-viewed bought the new stoves themselves or paid for them out of their housekeeping. About a quarter of the stoves were bought by the men, or the men gave their wives the money to buy the stove. The greatest demand for an improved stove is to be found among those women who already possess one. More than half of those interviewed said that they would like another one.

Four fifths of the stoves were bought during the sensitization campaign, and almost half of these at the sales outlets in the individual quarter, i.e. from the respective presidents of the Niger women's organization.

As far as information on the new stove is concerned, television played an important role. Over half the women interviewed learned of the new, improved stove for the first time via TV. In order to be able to use the new stove correctly, the women did, however, have to be given training in the form of practical cooking demonstrations. In this respect information via TV was not enough.

Almost all the women were happy with their improved stove. The main points mentioned were the faster cooking times and the saving of firewood, both of them arguments that were also mentioned during the campaign. Three quarters of the used stoves were in perfect condition. The remaining quarter had bent grilles, were rusty or, in some cases, even broken. The grille is, of course, the part of the stove most subjected to wear, and thus the most susceptible to damage.

As far as the use of the stove is concerned, almost all the women had correctly selected their stoves to correspond to the sizes of their pans. Three quarters of the women were also fueling their stoves correctly with two logs instead of four as previously used in the old stoves.

During the first year of the project some 13,600 stoves were sold to women in Niamey, the capital of Niger, 7,400 via the sales points initiated by the project in the various quarters of the city, the rest on the open market. At the end of the second year a total number of 40,0Q0 stoves were sold.

All in all, an encouraging result that justifies the approach to the project selected: the commercial distribution of improved stoves.

Sensitization campaign for men

One of the two main activities during the second year of the project was a combined sensitization and ratio campaign for the men.

The sensitization campaign on a district basis was carried out as for the women, but instead of cooking demonstrations there were so-called "soirees" at which information and entertainment were dispensed in almost equal doses. These evenings were arranged with the participation of the city districts concerned, and were accompanied by a radio campaign beginning with a programme on what men have to say about the topic "improved stoves". Each broadcast begins with a signature tune and an advertising slogan that the population itself had devised: the population was encouraged to think up a slogan for the "Mad Sauki" within the framework of a "poetry competition". On the radio the population was also encouraged to participate in the production of plays and songs, and also to turn up at he evening meetings in large numbers.

Manufacturers and retailers of the improved stove also played an important role during this campaign. They were invited to the soirees and had the opportunity to introduce themselves. In addition they were repeatedly mentioned on the radio.

During this campaign, stoves were not sold in the individual quarters of the towns, as was the case during the women's sensitization campaign. Potential purchasers were encouraged to buy the stoves from the manufacturers and retailers. In this way it is intended to place distribution solely in the hands of the manufacturers and retailers on the free market.