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close this book Boiling Point No. 06 - April 1984
View the document Acknowledgements
View the document Editorial
View the document The Magan Chula
View the document FAO Stoves Meeting
View the document ITDG Stoves Project Publications
View the document International Workshop on Woodstove
View the document CORT Workshop
Open this folder and view contents GAMBIA - Progress with Urban Stoves
View the document The introduction of an improved charcoal cooking stove in juba, Sudan
View the document User Modification of Charcoal Stoves
View the document Starting from Scratch
View the document "Take another Wife"
View the document Consumption of Firewood in Rural Areas
View the document Charcoal Kiln Testing in Thailand
View the document An Inexpensive and Efficient Mini-Charcoal Kiln
View the document A Simple Laboratory Wood Drying Oven
View the document Clay Testing for Pottery Stoves
View the document Book Reviews
View the document Hot news

International Workshop on Woodstove



This workshop was held at Wolfheze, in the Netherlands. It represented the beginning of an intensive effort, spreading over 18 nonths, to study efficient wood-burning cookstoves -in the context of rural Development, utilisation of renewable energies and rural-urban interactions.

The specific aims of the workshop were:

a) To review and synthesise selected on-going woodstove projects

b) To develop a set of plausible dissemination strategies that

- can contribute to an improved domestic environment, and

- can have an impact on fuel consumption at the macro level

c) To initiate follow-up work to identify the relative effectiveness of the strategies in b), and

d) To draw up a range of options for the design, assessment and implementation of stove programmes consistent with the scale of the problem.

The meeting included 22 participants from 17 nations, with experienced representatives rom cookstove projects, governmental and on-governmental organisations, research institutions, and funding agencies. Papers Presented by the participants were followed by thorough discussions in plenary sessions and small groups. At the end of the workshop utline proposals for action in 8 of the field projects were prepared, and covered valuation activities, and alternative stove design and dissemination strategies. For example, Guatemala proposed a transfer of the ottery Tungku Sae stove and production system from Indonesia to Guatemala.

The following statement cannot do justice to he richness of ideas that flowed from these sessions. The proceedings are to be published shortly by Intermediate Technology publications (9 King St, London, WC2E 8HW) from whom details of price can be obtained.


Stove programmes have two purposes:

i) To combat deforestation and its consequences

ii) To promote the socio-economic advancement of stove users.

Deforestation can be attributed to many causes, including competing land use, timber race, forest based industries, and urban fuel, demand. m e negative impact of fuel collection on heavily degraded and marginal ends can be considerable. An immediate consequence of deforestation has been to create a scarcity of cooking fuel, especially for the rural.- poor and urban, low-income families.

Workshop participants affirmed, their conviction that stove programmes can substantially alleviate the effect of fuel scarcity. In addition, they can improve domestic environment, encourage people's participation in development, reduce drudgery, give women time for other productive activities, and frequently promote their status in society.


The meeting considered stove projects from 8 countries - Guatemala, Kenya, Senegal, Mali; Ethiopia, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.'' Most of the projects had small beginnings and " have shown a tremendous capacity to survive and evolve dynamically. In ' the past 5 or so'' years, each of these pilot projects have introduced between 1000 - 7000 stoves. None: of these projects at the present moment provides stoves as outright gifts, in spite of considerable subsidies involved in the programmes.

Workshop participants agreed that mud stoves are still viable options in many rural areas ' of the world. They represent a "people's ' technology'' which is widely accepted and used with satisfaction in terms of time and fuelwood savings. However the development of improved portable metal and fired clay stoves is expanding rapidly to broaden the range of choice offered to users.


Workshop participants placed heavy emphasis on the need to build local initiative, entrepreneurs, and industrial considerations into the design, production, and marketing' of cookstoves. At the same time, however, it is clear that dissemination strategies cannot be arbitrarily defined and imposed in the wide variety of contexts.

An 'appropriate' dissemination strategy must be based on the requirements and preferences of local stove users. Clarity has emerged over the role of a variety of dissemination strategies. These range from local artisans constructing in-situ custom-built stoves through an extension network, to prefabricated ceramic or metal stoves produced in small workshops and distributed through local markets.


Most stove projects suffer from inadequate financial and economic analysis. The difficulty of carrying out a complete analysis arises from the fact that the projects receive inputs from multiple sources in diverse forms (cash and kind) and they have multiple outputs like fuel savings, comfort, health benefits and improvement in domestic environment. Even the one quantifiable item in the above list of benefits - the fuel savings - has eluded the projects in general. In view; of the smallness of the projects in cash terms! and the vastness of the problem, the managers of the various projects have satisfied themselves with qualitative evaluation. With the present size of the projects it seems unwise to venture into financial and economic analysis 'as it may result in an ineffective allocation of scarce resources. Even if the effort is spent on stricter analysis of the result of existing projects, it is doubtful whether the information could be meaningfully extrapolated to national scales.


It is essential in any national stove programme to develop a high level of competence in stove design, production, distribution, and evaluation. However, technical expertise is useful only when it has strong links of communication with stove users and field personnel.

Stove designers need a strong background in combustion, heat transfer, selection of materials and other engineering aspects. Beyond this they should know the needs and priorities of the stove users, and understand the economic, social, and cultural context into which the stoves are introduced. Projects need to maintain systematic records on stove performance, longevity, costs, and acceptability to the user. The stove user herself cannot be expected to deliver this information directly. In most cases, the task must be performed by field personnel which imposes considerable extra strains on project resources.

Field workers generally have a deep understanding of the opportunities and Limitations of a stove programme at the local level. However, planners, technologists, and funding agencies often consider this information inadequate unless it can be supported by systematic studies and verifiable data. Recognising that rigorous methods are sometimes impossible to apply in the field, a scientific basis for collecting and reporting information from stove users is nevertheless an important goal. Funds should be included in project budgets for this purpose .

While technologists, planners, and funding organisations have a need for reliable information from the field, they must be careful not to rely unduly on unsubstantiated conclusions by external evaluators whose community level experience may be limited.


The workshop reiterated the importance of co-ordination between each of these organisations in different phases of project implementation. An analysis of their effective roles led to the following conclusions:

a) For large-scale dissemination, a government role is essential, whether by direct financing or by indirect programmes of public education and motivation. However, governmental organisations cannot effectively manage commercial activities, and should best leave this aspect of stove dissemination to the private sector.

b) Non-governmental organisations play a very effective role in the introduction and initiation of stove projects, and above all in training programmes.

c) International agencies have a very significant role in providing financial support to projects or programmes.