| Boiling Point No. 27 - April 1992 |
New Roles For ITDG by Steve Bonnist, Head of Public Information & Education, ITDG
Over the past 25 years The Intermediate Technology Development Group has grown from a tiny band of volunteers into an organisation of some 250 people working full-time with offices in seven countries. Recently the group has decentralized project management to project location and established an internationally constituted executive committee to determine priorities, policy and how we allocate resources. Previously, this was the responsibility of the UK office which is now redefining its function within the new structure so as to reflect the leading role of the countries with which it works.
In this new role IT (UK) will have a pivotal part to play within IT intemationally. The reason for this is simple: the South's biggest problem is not the South itself but the North. It is the North which currently sets the agenda the South has to work to. It is the North which uses the South for its own ends. It is the North, full of pride and prejudice, which insists (hat the South must play by its rules - or else. It is the North which is deaf and blind to the real abilities, needs and desires of the South. The only way for the South to gain self-sufficiency, real independence, and respect, is for the North to change its view of the South, which will in turn change the way it deals with it.
ITDG has committed itself to working for such a change and IT (UK) now has a new mission. Our six offices in the South, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Peru and Sudan, will be working towards building up their ability to articulate the issues that concern them and their partners and generating knowledge through project experience. The Group's objectives are to share the knowledge it has gained and its understanding of the concerns of the South with those who can influence appropriate change to benefit the South.
IT (UK) must particularly devote itself to what might be called the Northern Agenda of the Group. There are many powerful forces at play in the North - by which I mean basically Europe, North America, Japan and Australia - which directly or indirectly influence the situation in the South. Some may be malign, others benign (or believe they are). ITDG alone cannot hope to influence them - but it can and should work with others to do so.
The main actors we can (with others) influence are:
• development institutions (government, NGO, international);
• business (consultancy companies, producers of exports, importers);
• governments and intergovernment institutions;
• the public (who make up and influence the above).
Our influence can be made through the use of carefully researched arguments, positive images and successful examples of what can be and is being achieved. These need to be presented through a variety of media.
Changing perspectives, attitudes, methods and the way the North allocates resources (back) to the South is a very expensive, long-term business. IT (UK) needs its technical capabilities now more than ever. ITDG has always maintained that it exists to research and present such alternatives in development, so that appropriate choices can be made. That means that we need to gather information on what exists, what is being developed, where and by whom, what the crucial gaps are and find ways to fill those gaps. We need to use this information to influence the way agencies - local or international - choose to work. This job cannot be done by generalists. It needs experienced people who understand the role of technology in societies to become involved in training, providing advice and assistance, undertaking consultancies, etc. ITDG's focus is technology and it is no use trying to achieve a Northern agenda without appropriate technologies.
In this new role IT (UK) needs to build up its socio-economic and planning capacity and to broaden its competence to communicate effectively.
Rationale and Objectives of ITDG's Stoves & Household Energy Programme by Peter Watts, Programme Manager, SHE, ITDG UK
The Fuel for Food Programme has recently been renamed Stoves and Household Energy. We feel that the new name more accurately reflects the aims of our work, with its focus on the role of the cooking stove in the household, while the acronym, SHE, conveys the programme's emphasis on women and the benefits they can derive from the use of improved stoves. As of April 1992, SHE will combine with ITDG's Micro-Hydro programme to form a new Energy Sector. While the sector's work will continue to focus on improved cooking stoves and the installation and use of micro-hydro systems, this development will also enable us to become more involved in other areas of household renewable energy work.
When the stove programme was established in the late 1970s, its principal aim was to reduce rates of deforestation through introducing fuel-efficient cooking stoves and so reducing fuelwood use. It is now accepted that the major cause of deforestation is not fuelwood use but agricultural and commercial pressure, and the impact of improved cooking stoves on deforestation rates is not generally significant. However, stoves can play a major part in improving domestic conditions, through addressing problems commonly heed by poor households (and particularly women) in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Improved stoves burn fuel more efficiently, which reduces smoke emissions and associated health risks. Increased efficiency means that less fuel is required to cook a meal and this in turn reduces the amount of time or money women have to spend on fuel collection. More efficient cooking also means faster cooking, which helps to reduce drudgery. In some cases women choose to use the same amount of fuel to greater effect (for instance, boiling drinking water or cooking extra food), with positive impacts on levels of health and nutrition.
The goal of ITDG's SHE programme is:
To improve the quality of life of households and communities by helping them to make better use of their limited fuel and energy resources in an environmentally sound way by developing, making and using improved stoves and other cooking technologies.
This is to be achieved through:
• improving the living and working conditions of women through increasing their access to technical choice in the field of cooking technologies and equipment
• assisting people to address environmental problems relating to the supply and use of biomass fuels
• strengthening the organizational, technical, planning and implementation capacities of partner agencies, primarily NGOs and institutions in the south
• establishing the sustainable, independent production of improved stoves and appropriate energy technologies through training people, particularly women to design, test and produce better stoves
• continuing to develop and share ITDG's own expertise in this field
• working with, informing and influencing other agencies and institutions, in both north and south, in ways which contribute towards this goad.
The focus of the programme is on the users of appropriate cooking technologies: on the needs of, and the benefits derived by, female householders. At the same time, the programme recognises that one of the most effective means of making improved stoves available is through small-scale, decentralised production. This can be a significant source of employment and income for potters and metalworkers in the informal sector of the economy.
The issue of domestic energy is by no means the only problem facing householders in developing countries and indeed is often not seen as the priority, in the face of other concerns such as food security, health, income and employment. Household energy issues must therefore be seen in the wider context of integrated community development, rather than as isolated programmes in their own right.
Finally, the programme strives not to impose its own perceived solutions to perceived problems, but to respond to requests from communities and organizations in developing countries, to provide support and transfer skills and knowledge to these organisations.
Programme Activities, 1991-92 and Plans, 1992-93
The programme's two main areas of activity are the production and promotion of the "Anagi" stove in Sri Lanka and the "Maendeleo" stove in Kenya. The Sri Lanka project is an extension of the stove production programme for the urban market in and around Colombo, where an estimated 30,000 Anagi stoves are sold each year. With the emergence of untrained 'pirate 'producers, and evidence of a growing demand in other parts of the country, it was decided lo extend production and marketing to bring benefits to rural producers and users. The SHE programme has begun working closely with a newly-formed local NGO, IDEA (Integrated Development Association), to train potters to produce and market the Anagi in and around Kandy.
The Rural Stoves project in West Kenya (RSWK) is training groups of women potters to make and market ceramic "Maendeleo" stove liners. The project's aims are two-fold: to increase the availability of fuel-efficient stoves for rural women, and to provide employment opportunities for low-income potters. The project works closely with the Home Economics Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, which purchases stoves from the producers and sells them to rural women. The stoves are considered a valuable "springboard" for the Home Economists (HEOs), whose job is to educate women about health, hygiene and nutrition. An evaluation of the project carried out in October 1991 concluded that, while demand for the Maendeleo is growing, the producers rely excessively on the HEOs to market the stoves, and that more effort should therefore be directed towards developing a commercial market.
The programme has continued to work with two local organisations in Tamil Nadu, southern India: the Gandhiniketan Ashram and the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT). At the Ashram, SHE has assisted in developing facilities to train potters to make improved ceramic stoves. SHE and CAT have been working together to develop a market for the "Deepam" and "Agni" stoves, similar to the Anagi 1-pot and 2 -pot stoves respectively.
ITDG has worked closely with GTZ on the production of "Boiling Point". Four issues were published during the
year: three regular issues plus a special edition on "Smoke Pollution", timed to coincide with a conference at WHO in Geneva, on Indoor Pollution from Biomass Fuels. ITW, GTZ and FWD have worked on developing the Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation of stoves programmes, which will be field-tested during 1992. In November ITW, GTZ and l'Association Bois de Feu conducted a workshop in Bamako, Mali, attended by representatives of stove programmes from throughout Francophone Africa. The clay-testing research project at the University of Sheffield has been completed and Mr Gaspe, the Sri Lankan researcher, will present his findings at a seminar to be held in April 1992.
During 1992-93 programme activities will continue in Kenya and Sri Lanka, with local Programme Managers being appointed in both these countries. The Programme Manager in Kenya will be responsible for investigating opportunities in Tanzania and Uganda, with a view to establishing an East African regional programme, while the Programme Manager in Sri Lanka will also be responsible for developing the work in India.
The clay-testing seminar will present the results of the research project and will plan the next stage, that of field trials. The results of the field trials will then be used to produce a manual for stove programme workers, to enable them to identify clays which are suitable for the production of ceramic stoves. The guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation will also be field-tested, by 10 projects worldwide, with results being presented at a workshop early in 1993. The final version of the guidelines will be based on the results of the field tests.
A needs assessment will be carried out in Bangladesh, in conjunction with ITDG's Country Office and local agencies, to evaluate prospects for establishing programme work there. A project to monitor indoor pollution is planned in Sri Lanka, and we hope to obtain funding which will allow this to go ahead. We are also planning to undertake new areas of policy research such as methodologies for working with women, investigations into household development (to examine the role of fuel-efficient stoves in paving the way for other improvements in the kitchen and household), and a study of the problems created by the increasingly widespread use of charcoal in domestic cooking stoves. If any of our readers would like further details of these activities, please write to us.
The IT Education Programme
Lessons from the South by Catherine Budgett-Meakin, ITDG
The IT Education Programme is going from strength to strength. The last months have seen the publication of two major resource packs for the Design and Technology element of the British National Curriculum for secondary schools - one focuses on the issues facing blacksmiths in Malawi, and the second, called "Stove Maker. Stove User" concentrates on the context of a rural Sri Lankan home and small business workshop.
The pack addresses the issue of energy consumption in Sri Lanka by looking specifically at the development of fuel efficient stoves for domestic use. It therefore puts women centre stage, as they are the stove users, the fuelwood gatherers and often also the stove makers.
Contained in the pack are slides to set the Sri Lankan scene, detailed teachers' notes to guide pupil activities, a Sri Lanka country profile, and a case study of "A day in the life of a Sri Lankan potter", to help pupils identify with, and understand something of, the reality of life in Sri Lanka. There is enough material for a term's work, with a range of suggested avenues to explore. One starting point is the three stone fire; a brainstorming activity on this topic can produce a web of issues similar to that reproduced flow.
There is a second set of slides, for evaluation purposes, so that pupils can see what ingenious local solutions for cooking have been developed in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Gambia and China. Care has been taken to ensure that neither teachers nor pupils think that they are designing "for" Sri Lanka, as this would reinforce the negative stereotypes that are held in the UK about the Majority World.
These packs are unique educational resources in the UK. Intermediate Technology has a huge knowledge bank that can be drawn on to meet the needs of teachers, in an the component parts of Design and Technology (Craft, Design and Technology, Home Economics, Textiles and Business Studies).
The Education Office of IT has two main objectives: i) to influence the development of the UK National Curriculum by persuading the education establishment to incorporate the concept of appropriate technology and its role in sustainable development into various areas of the curriculum and ii) to change the attitudes of pupils (and their teachers) to the Majority World.
These two objectives are being met by the strategies of a) developing appropriate teaching materials, b) providing training and support for teachers, c) working with teacher training establishments and d) providing positive images of the Majority World, to counter the largely negative stereotypical images presented by the media.
The last issue of Boiling Point took as its theme Technology Transfer - the Education Office has as one of its tenets "Learning from the Majority World". The appropriate technology approach and philosophy has relevance for the whole world, in the interests of global sustainable development, so perhaps we need to look at other areas of technological development in the Majority World, and see what lessons there are for us in the Minority World a new kind of 'technology transfer'.
For an order form and details of additional resources, please contact the IT Education office at Rugby.
Small Scale Hydro Electricity