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close this bookBoiling Point No. 29 - December 1992 (ITDG - ITDG, 1992, 40 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHousehold Energy Developments in Southern and Africa
View the documentCookstoves in East & Central Africa
View the documentTanzanian Stoves
View the documentCharcoal & Woodfuel Health Hazards
View the documentFrom Clay & Wood to Cast Iron & Coal in South Africa
View the documentHousehold Energy Activities in Uganda
View the documentGTZ Section
View the documentBurundi Institutional Peat Stove Programmes
View the documentWood, Charcoal or Coal for Cooking in Southern Africa
View the documentEnergy & Environment in Zimbabwe
View the documentA New Environmentally Sound Energy Strategy for the Development of Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentKang-Lianzao Bed Stove
View the documentField Trials of Electrical Heat Storage Cookers in Nepal
View the documentNEWS
View the documentR & D NEWS

Household Energy Activities in Uganda

The following three articles give a picture of current activity in Uganda.

1. "Doing More with Less"
reviewed by Peter Watts, ITDG

A brief survey of the energy scene in Uganda presents a depressingly familiar picture. 96% of all energy consumed is derived from biomass fuel and of this 82% is used for domestic purposes, principally cooking. Charcoal use and inefficient methods of charcoal production are leading to deforestation in the areas surrounding urban settlements. A lack of fossil fuel resources, a scarcity of foreign exchange and inadequate infrastructure make it impracticable to encourage the switch to kerosene, gas or electricity. Added to this, Uganda has an annual population growth rate of over 3%. And, while the end of the protracted civil war has clearly brought immeasurable benefits to the country, the revitalisation of industry means that the demand for woodfuel resources is likely to grow further.

According to a 1986 World Bank report, the nation's biomass resource base was being replenished at an annual rate of 15.6 million m³, but at the same time, was being consumed at a rate of 18.3 million m³ per year clearly a recipe for disaster. Woodfuel shortages are felt throughout the country. There was evidence of individual responses to these problems, ranging from increased tree planting to the promotion of improved stove and briquette production, but until 1987 there had been no attempt to coordinate these activities, nor to adopt an integrated approach to the problems of the wood energy sector.

The first Ugandan National Stoves Workshop took place in March - April ]987. It was convened by the newly formed Ministry of Energy and brought together some 60 individuals, primarily from Ugandan organisations but also from certain Kenyan and European agencies concerned with the problems of wood energy.

The workshop proposed the establishment of a National Wood Energy Conservation Committee, consisting of representatives of government and non-govemment agencies. An ambitious, comprehensive programme of activities was proposed, with implementation to begin immediately in order to achieve the greatest possible impact. The report of the workshop is presented in "Doing More with Less: Sustainable Development of the Wood Energy Sector in Uganda" (Karekezi, Marwick, Sizoomu and Turyareeba, RWEPA, 1991).

To all intents and purposes, however, the workshop appears to have marked the beginning and the end of coordinated activities to conserve Uganda's biomass energy supplies. Few if any of the proposed activities have been taken up; one of the workshop participants speaks of there having been "no funding, no facilities, no follow-up." Activities in the field of household energy in Uganda are limited to a number of private organisations producing fuel efficient stoves for domestic and industrial purposes (see below).

This is clearly a case where a high level of commitment was achieved and expectations were raised among numerous agencies, only to be left unfulfilled. It is vital for Uganda's future energy security that the activities agreed at the 1987 workshop are re-appraised and that a commitment is made by government and donors to implementing those which will have the most immediate, widespread impact on slowing down Uganda's accelerating fuelwood crisis.

2. Stove Activities in Uganda
- Tom Otiti, Physics Department, Makerere University, Uganda

The wood energy crisis in Uganda has been caused by inefficient use of wood, tree felling for arable land, delay in restoring plantations and increased population pressure on the resources. One of the most obvious results of the woodfuel crisis is the increase in the price of charcoal and firewood. In an attempt to address this problem, attention has been focused primarily on three fronts: improvements in methods of increasing woodfuel supplies, improving the efficiency of cooking devices and providing woodfuel substitutes.

Traditional stoves:

The most popular stove in rural Uganda is the open three-stone fire. It uses either traditional pots or saucepans of various sizes since the stones can be adjusted easily as required. The major disadvantage of the open fire is its poor fuel conversion efficiency which is hardly 15%. The other stove which is common in the urban areas is the Uganda traditional sigiri. This is a metal charcoal stove similar to the metal Mbaula found in Malawi. It is made of scrap sheet metal obtained from discarded motor vehicles or used bitumen drums. This is a one-pot charcoal stove and is made in many sizes. The Uganda traditional metal 'sigiri' is made by artisans who are found in all the urban areas of the country. This type of stove is inefficient and wastes a lot of charcoal. The stove is portable and uses about 600g of charcoal at a time. Its production dates back to the turn of the century. Most of the Ugandan urban households which use charcoal own this type of stove.

Fig 1 - Sigiri Stove

Improved stoves:

Attempts are therefore being made by NGOs and the private sector to introduce more efficient improved stoves. The main improved stove activities in Uganda can be traced back to a 1984 training course on the manufacture of improved ceramic/metal cookstoves organized by KENGO for interested members of Ugandan NGOs. After the course a number of the participants started the manufacture of improved ceramic/metal stoves similar to the KCJ.

In contrast with other countries in the region, improved stove programmes in Uganda were initiated by local NGOs and private entrepreneurs. There was very little external donor assistance except for some limited technical and training assistance from KENGO/RWEPA. There are three main institutions working in improved stoves in Uganda: Usika Craft Ltd, Black Power Ltd and Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Both Usika Craft and Black Power are private entrepreneurs in the suburbs of Kampala. Usika was started in 1984 as a design group specialising in ceramics, but was among those which started work on improved stoves after the KENGO course. The result is the "Usika" improved charcoal stove (fig 2) which in many respects, is almost identical to the Kenya improved "Jiko".

Fig 2 - Usika Charcoal Stove

Black Power started work on energy in 1984 by making charcoal briquettes from sawdust waste. It later diversified its interest into production of improved metal/ceramic stoves which are essentially the same as the Usika, except in shape.

The YWCA started work on improved cooking appliances as far back as 1972. It started by evaluating the applicability of a variety of improved cookstoves in the context of the cooking habits and requirements of Uganda's rural women. In doing so YWCA succeeded in adopting the Pogbi stove initially developed by the Bellerive Foundation in Kenya and the Rafiki stove designed by UNICEF. The YWCA's stove activities have involved the introduction of two types of stove: the improved charcoal stove and the improved woodstove. The charcoal stove, similar to the Usika stove, is aimed at the urban population and is produced at the YWCA's workshop in Kampala. The woodstove, popularly known as the 'Y' stove, is based on the Lorena. It is intended for use in rural areas and is disseminated through the many YWCA branches in the country. It has a fire box for ensuring optimum combustion and an arrangement for pre-heating secondary air and a chimney made out of clay segments. This stove, when first introduced in 1987, had only one pot-hole but it has now been modified to a two-pot design.

Fig 3 - The "Y" Wood Burning Chimney Stove

Other alternative household fuels are beyond the reach of a large majority of Ugandans. For the foreseeable future, wood energy will continue to account for the bulk of Uganda's household energy requirements. For this reason, it is important that government begins to play a leading role in the dissemination of improved stoves, through provision of a coherent framework for their production and distribution. Government should also evolve national strategies which seek to co-ordinate the efforts of all organizations involved in the dissemination of improved stoves and, in particular, to create a strong awareness in the country to stimulate the interest of potential producers and users.

3. Ugandan Institutional Stoves
by P J Turyareeba, Forest Research Centre, Kampala

Production and dissemination of institutional stoves in Uganda started in the mid 1980s with two producers. The producers designed the stove models they were disseminating. With the beginning of this decade more producers have joined this trade bringing the total number to seven.

Most of the stove designs disseminated today are adapted from models produced in different parts of the region, particularly Kenya and Tanzania. Training of employees is done on the fob while some proprietors are former employees of the first producers.

The following establishments produce household stoves and other energy-saving devices and big-fuels. In most cases proprietors have invested their own capital or obtained financial assistance from donors.

Stove Producers
Joint Energy & Environment Projects (JEEP)

At the launching of JEEP's institutional stove programme the following claims were made for the new stove:

· The stove uses 15% less fuelwood than the open fire.
· It takes 30 minute to boil 150 litres of water as compared to 2 hours on the open fire.
· There is less tending required.
· The kitchen environment is clean and accident free.

Usika Crafts Ltd

The manager got his initial training from Kenya as a member of JEEP. On his return, he began producing household charcoal stoves and is now the leading producer of the Uganda Ceramic Stove. Above this major activity, Usika Crafts produces and disseminates an institutional stove. This is a brick cylindrical structure with a metal chimney. The Usika institutional stove uses firewood or agricultural residues. The stove is built on site and supplied with a suitable pan.

Black Power Ltd

The proprietor of Black Power was trained in Kenya in the early eighties as a member of JEEP. On his return he designed improved household stoves for both charcoal or charcoal briquettes and firewood. Furthermore' an institutional stove was designed and is currently being disseminated.

The institutional stove is cylindrical and portable. The outer case is made of scrap metal with a fired clay liner for insulation. The fire box is made of fired clay.

The stove is a sinking pot design with a chimney and it is supplied with a suitable pan. The stove uses mainly firewood and agricultural waste but can be adapted for charcoal.

Rwashana & Associates Co. Ltd

This company produces the RAC institutional stove, the RAC sawdust stove, the RAC charcoal stove and saucepans. The stove body is made of a 22s gauge sheet steel which is insulated with a mixture of clay and straw. The stove has a pot seat collar which is made of 3mm mild steel and a cast iron fire box. Usually old lorry rims are used with a fuel inlet port cut out. A suitable aluminium pan is made and sold along with the stove.

The price of an RAC institutional stove ranges between 100,000/- to 850,000/- (US$ 83.3 to US$ 708.3) depending on capacity.

Appropriate Technology Centre (ATC)

In 1991 a former employee of Rwashana and Associates Co.Ltd started ATC to produce similar stoves. After visiting CAMARTEC in Tanzania the proprietor intends to make some modifications as per technical advice received while in Tanzania.

Some Factors Affecting Production & Dissemination

Some of the problems faced by institutional stove producers include:

i) Resistance to change from the open fire to institutional stoves by kitchen staff and domestic bursars who are responsible for preparation of meals and purchase of fuelwood respectively.

ii) Fuelwood should be cut into small pieces and dried before use, which is time consuming and labour intensive.

iii) Raw material, particularly sheet metal or scrap metal, is in short supply.

iv) It is difficult to obtain a loan from commercial banks which require a well-prepared feasibility study and a land title as surety. Furthermore the interest rate of 38 to 40% is prohibitive.

v) Some institutions purchase stoves on credit and take a long time before they remit payment, thus holding back the production of other stoves.


All the institutional stoves disseminated are sinking pot designs and are therefore considered to save fuelwood. Institutions which have installed new stoves and purchase fuelwood from distant places have already noticed the difference.

The organisations mentioned above have had to use local capital and in some cases grants from donors in order to sustain production at very low levels. Fewer than 2,000 institutional stoves have been disseminated in the last 6 years, which is a drop in the ocean for a country with many boarding schools, hospitals and prisons, not to mention the numerous restaurants and eating houses, most of which depend solely on fuelwood for cooking.

Unless production levels increase drastically, the effect of improved stoves will never be felt. This has to be coupled with a large scale awareness programme. It is easier to disseminate institutional stoves than domestic stoves because many institutions and restaurants keep records and will easily notice reduced costs for fuelwood purchases. On the other hand if there are no savings, the news will spread like wildfire!

Editorial Comment: In the absence of technical details of stove designs, standard performance tests, field trials, production costs and prices etc, comparisons cannot be made between the stoves being developed or with stoves previously used or with the REDI and Bellerive institutional stoves. We hope to be able to provide such information in a future edition.