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close this bookBoiling Point No. 43 - Fuel Options for Household Energy (ITDG - ITDG, 1999, 44 p.)
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Case studies from Boiling Point impact study

compiled by Val Rea, c/o Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development, Bourton Hall, Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9QZ, Tel: 44 (0) 1788 661100, Fax: 44 (0) 1788 661101

In the last edition of Boiling Point, we reported on the results of an impact study showing how the journal was used. The projects done by some of those who replied are reported in the case studies below.

Case study one: Upesi Lira training course, Ghana

Mr Daniel Luguzuri, President of the GIA/NABIO Agroforestry Development Organisation, Ghana

The training course A three-day training course was organised by Gia-Nabio Agro-forestry Development Organisation for a group of 48 women. The course trained the women to construct improved local stoves and encouraged them to use the stoves in order to save fuel wood which is becoming scarce in this region of Ghana.

Using Boiling Point (no 40), and with the help of one Mr Aluah of the Rural and Cottage Industries of Ghana, the women were trained to construct the Upesi Lira type of stove.

The participatory approach was adopted and this made the training course a success.

The first day of training stressed the need for our women to use improved local stoves. The second day was on how to construct a local improved stove. The third day was how to use the improved local stove.

How the lives of people who use the stoves have been changed

About a quarter of the forty-eight women started using the improved local stoves, but there is still the need to keep creating awareness within the communities.

From our field survey, we noticed that:

· The women use less fuelwood as compared to the previous time.
· This has lessened their frequent travelling miles away to fetch fuelwood.
· Time is therefore saved for other activities to be carried out.
· With the time saved and the other activities, more income is acquired.
· Their standard of living changes as more income is gained.
· These stoves produce less smoke and the result is good health for the users.

Our conclusion is that the training has helped the women to reduce their burden of regularly travelling long distances to fetch firewood for domestic use. The usual quantity of fuelwood used in the house could last for two days but now it could be used for about four days or more. There is therefore a change in the lives of those using the stoves. The Rural Women's Association in the district have also been going round the villages to train women to manufacture and use the improved local stoves.

We hope that if the programme is expanded, more organisations will adopt the concept. We have plans to set up a training centre to train individuals and groups in the district on the need to manufacture and use the stoves.

Case study two: Integrated Development Association (IDEA) programme, Batticoloa district, Sri Lanka

Extract from the reply from Mr L G Lamasena, Project Coordinator IDEA, 20 Hanthana Place, Kandy, Sri Lanka


Batticoloa district lies in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. The city is towards the east 303 Kms from Colombo, 187 kms from Kandy and 138 kms South East from Trincomalee. On repeated violence and natural calamities in the district that had taken place since late 70's the life of ordinary men and women is seen to be very difficult in the district. The women use three stone traditional stoves for cooking. The fuelwood is collected from nearby jungle areas. They also purchase firewood from vendors on cycles. One cycle load of firewood costs between Rs.150 - Rs.225.

IDEA conducted a survey on retail outlets in June 1997. During the survey IDEA found that the cost of the fuelwood is so high that the ordinary households cannot afford it. There are restricted areas for the public for collection of firewood for security reasons. People cannot move freely in to the jungles for collecting wood pieces.

The employment problem has cropped up in the district so that youths who are not from traditional potter families participate in the training programme conducted by divisional administrative units on small pottery items. This is done to encourage self-employment for these youths. These are organized in the potters societies, existing in the district. The youths are trained to produce various small pottery goods. After the training period they are expected to practice this self-employment venture which is highly uncertain since they do not have sufficient resources to do so. IDEA understood these problem, and as a better option started to train these unemployed youths to produce improved cook-stoves (I.C.S.) so that their income is raised and generated a better employment.

Integrated Development Association started work in Batticoloa district in 1993/94 on I.C.S with the Eastern Rehabilitation Organization. As they requested to train some 10 women potters, IDEA conducted a centralized training programme on I.C.S. production. It took place for 40 days at Sarvodaya district centre Palletalawinna, Kandy. After the training programme the trained potters started to produce I.C.S. in their home district and there were two social mobilizers among those ten women who got trained on transfer of technology.

The social mobilizers conducted awareness programmes on I.C.S. with the help of IDEA staff on these areas. It was identified that there was a need for such I.C.S. and the demand exists. The social mobilizers have been empowered with the information of the I.C.S. and they carried these information to the villages. Production process with proper quality control also accelerated.


The second phase of the I.C.S programme was implemented by IDEA in 1996/97. IDEA hired and trained a master potter, who transferred the technology to local potters. He did not get any formal training, but learned everything by working with others (technical assistants and social mobilizers)

Three of the potters have large size traditional South-Indian updraught kilns which need more labour to build and the cost is high. Others used only an open fire to fire their pottery products. The materials used for the open fire were broken bricks and clay pots. Mostly they use coconut husk and straw for the firing. The price of a load of coconut husk is around Rs500-600 (1000 husks) and a load of straw costs about Rs1500 - 2000, which is enough for two or three firings. The price of the firewood has also increased from Rs4.50 to Rs7.00 per kg.

After identifying their production problems, I used the information in Boiling Point no 38 and the leaflet How to build a better bonfire kiln to build 15 modified kilns in Batticoloa district. After a few demonstrations were carried out by the project personnel, the potters started to use them.

In 1996/7 IDEA (Integrated Development Association) implemented an improved cookstove programme in Batticoloa district under the Ministry of Environment and Women's Affairs. Twenty potters, twelve female and eight male, were selected and trained on Anagi stove production. Since the beginning, the master potter involved on building the kilns, and two daughters of the master potter also produced improved cookstoves; he is a mason by profession.

The master potter's family members make Anagi stoves and other pottery items. He did various tasks to earn something to run his family. He uses bonfire kiln and sells more stoves than before, as his family used open fire on stove firing the breakages were high.

He sells the pottery products in the market and supply raw materials to others (clay, sand, brick etc.) and produced bricks for daily wages. After the I.C.S. production (1997) he bought a cycle trailer and paid on instalment basis. Now he uses that and makes some more income by selling stoves and other things. (Selling coconut, mango, fish etc.)


The consumption of fuel wood was less for the new kiln and the rate of damage to pottery products also less. The potters were able to construct new kilns and were trained to use and maintain them effectively.

Needs and recommendations

A pilot study should be carried out to identify the social/technical aspects of the kiln.

Tests should be carried out at field level .

More attention should be given to implement the kiln dissemination programme in other districts as the acceptability is high by users.

Improved thandori oven

Extract from the reply from Mr L G Lamasena, Project Co-ordinator IDEA.

After reading about the traditional thandori oven being made and used in Pakistan and India [BP 22 August 1990], I made a few with modification and trained a potter to manufacture them. He continues to do so; one of the ovens he supplied to a restaurant in Kandy (Paivas Restaurant). They have been using it for a period of seven years. They bought a new one also in July 1998.

Case study three: Energy efficiency in Uganda

Mr Byaruhanga Adams, Programme Co-ordinator for BMT Aids Relief Organisation, Uganda

From the Boiling Point publications, we have been exposed to a number of appropriate efficient energy utilisation and conservation techniques. We have even been exposed to the efficient utilisation of biomass residues which hitherto had not been in use in our environment though it is abundantly produced.

Our target area has an acute shortage of fuel wood and the three stone open fire was the common technique of cooking in the area. But now a lot of people have adopted the improved mud stoves, a technique we have learnt from BP. Institutional stoves have also become more popular to save on the scarce woodfuel, much of which is used in cooking and heating operations.

The above techniques (improved stoves) do not emit a lot of smoke, having been fitted with smoke vents so there has been a reduction of respiratory infections which used to be endemic, especially among children. The designs are also appropriate for the local cooking pots, which fit properly on the pot holes so that very little energy is lost.

In conclusion, farmers are saving on energy expenses, the little fuelwood used is efficiently utilised, the health of the people has improved and the environment is recovering from the degradation it had been exposed to (by uncontrolled exploitation of the natural resources).