| Boiling Point No. 33 - May 1994 Number 33 |
by Tim Jones and Mark Waltham, lTDG UK, Myson House, Railway Terrace, Rugby, CV21 3HT
In 1981 the Nepal forestry department cooperated with UNDP and FAO to prepare the Community Forestry Development Programme (CFDP). This covered 37 of the 75 districts in Nepal and included the protection of existing forests, the establishment of tree nurseries, and the widespread introduction of improved stoves. Large numbers of these stoves were manufactured in Kathmandu and distributed free of charge to households in the project area. Despite severe problems with transportation because of the weight of the stove (18kg) and its fragility, around 10 000 were installed in the period up to 1985.
In its seventh five-year plan which ran from 1985 to 1990, the Government set a target of 160 000 stove installations and 15 000 improved stoves were distributed through the CFDP. A further 2000 stoves were installed under the Terai Community Forestry Project and 3600 under the Nepal/Australia Forestry Project. These projects were supervised by the Forestry Department, which became the effective leader of stove dissemination in Nepal. A total of about 50 000 stoves were disseminated during the period. The Forestry Department abandoned its stove programme at the beginning of the 1990s on the grounds of cost ineffectiveness.
Transportation was a major obstacle, with many stoves being damaged in transit and long delays experienced in obtaining replacements and spare parts. The stove itself has also been criticized as being inefficient and too small for a large family. Perhaps the most serious problem with the CFDP was the attempt to meet its targets by distributing the stoves free of charge. Although this policy did help to increase the number of stoves installed, it effectively stifled all other improved stove programmes. No other organization was either willing or able to compete with 100% subsidy, and the policy reinforced the village people's dependency on free aid.
The withdrawal of the Forestry Department from stove programmes did not, however, mean the end of stove programmes in Nepal. There are currently around 22 organizations working on stoves, most of which promote stoves under their health programmes rather than to preserve forests. Despite this activity there are unlikely to be more than 2000 improved stoves installed this year and there is still a lack of confidence in the potential benefits of improved stoves.
A seminar held in Nepal last year to bring together all the concerned organizations was attended by representatives of 35 organizations. One major outcome was the establishment of the National Improved Cookstove Association (NICSA), which can be contacted through: Merina Ghorkali, Centre for Rural Technology, PO Box 3628, Tripureswor, Kathmandu, Nepal; Tel/fax 010 9771 213885.