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close this book Boiling Point No. 06 - April 1984
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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
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The introduction of an improved charcoal cooking stove in juba, Sudan

Kanun El Jadid

Alana Albee, Euro-Action ACORD


Juba, a town of 120,000 people (1983) is the largest urban centre in the south of Sudan. It lies on the east bank of the White Nile in an African savannah environment .

As the regional administrative capital, the town has grown rapidly during the past ten years (8-10% per annum). Nonetheless, it is situated in a remote area 1200 kilometers south of Khartoum with poor communications to other urban centres and few all-weather roads.

During the last ten years the savannah forest and many of the government forest reserves near Juba have been depleted. It has been estimated that Juba needs 25 square miles of forest to supply its yearly need for fuel, yet there is not 25 square miles of reserve. The supply of wood, mostly for charcoal, comes from a large unmanaged area with no re-planting.

Over 95% of the households in Juba cook with fuelwood or charcoal, the vast majority using charcoal. Those in the low-income housing areas, where 75% of the population lives, spend 10-15% of their average household income on charcoal per month. A 40 kg sack of charcoal cost US$ 2.50 in 1977, it now costs US$ 12.00. In addition, when the current government daily wage rates are considered (US$ 0.75-1.00) for unskilled labourers, it appears that an undue burden is being carried by the urban poor.



The standard of living of most of Juba's inhabitants denies them the use of electricity, gas or kerosene cooking stoves. As with many urban areas of Africa, metal cooking stoves exist in one form or another.



A review of cooking methods in south Sudan shows that traditionally women in Juba cooked on three stones up until the 1950s when the wire stove (Figure 1 spread southwards from northern Sudan Later a stove combining Sudanese and East African ideas was produced (Figure 2). However, these stoves are not fuel efficient.

In recent years organisations working in various countries have developed a number of models of fuel efficient stoves. The design chosen for introduction in Juba by the Department of Community Development (DCD) is a modified version of UNICEF Nairobi's 'Umeme Jiko' called in Sudan 'Kanun el Jadid' meaning 'new stove'. It is designed in such a way as to be recognisable as an adaptation of the traditional East African metal stove. The improvements are in the insulated walls filled with earth and the placement of the saucepan into the firebox. The soil insulation reduces heat loss by directing it upwards onto the base and sides of the lowered saucepan.

In Konyo-Konyo, Juba's largest open-air market, the metalworkers have proven their abilities to produce the 'Kanun el Jadid'. These workers have a thriving area where assorted household items are made, and as there is no imported equivalent to local stoves these men produce stoves for the majority of Juba's population.


Introducing the 'Kanun el Jadid' to households in low-income areas is being done through a number of stages. The introduction of a new technology depends primarily on an educational process for its success and leaving the new stove to 'market forces' alone would not have lead to its wide-spread adoption. Only when people are taught about its fuel efficiency are they willing to spend additional money for the new model. A stove project may find funding or government support based on the issue of deforestation, but individual household's concerns are usually focused on fuel prices.

The DCD's Juba-based Community Development Officers (CDOs) have been responsible for communicating information about the new stove through 4 stages.

Stage One - Initial Production:

A small number of stoves was produced in the local- market and sold to CDOs. Most CDOs live in low-income housing areas and this worked as an informal campaign to convince them as well as their neighbours and friends about the new stove's fuel efficiency. By using the stove daily CDOs have become familiar with it and have suggested small improvements, such as the use of an open ended tin as a chimney for reducing the time required to light the stove.

This first stage also allowed the CDOs to determine weaknesses in manufacturing. The new stoves are constructed by local metalworkers from oil drums, and although the design is similar to the older stove design, there remains the need to teach the metalworkers about the new stove's fuel efficiency principles. m is has proven to be one way of ensuring that short-cuts in production are minimized. CDOs have played a leading role in instructing the metalworkers and have introduced the idea of using a template for producing standard stove parts to the correct dimensions. During this stage it was also discovered that certain expensive materials such as nails for rivets could be saved by a simple folding technique.

Stage Two - The Survey:

When the CDOs and metalworkers were familiar with the new stove, a survey of 300 low-income households was conducted. The survey gathered and disseminated information. The questions focused on charcoal consumption, cooking methods and stove purchasing. It took the form of a dialogue and in many cases developed beyond a discussion with one household into group discussions with women and men keen to find out-about the new stove. The survey also changed some of the CDOs preconceived ideas; some thought that only women purchased charcoal and stoves, but the survey revealed that men play a significant role. Therefore, the fuel efficiency and money-saving aspects of the new stove are now targeted at men as well as women.

Stage Three - Quality Control:

Ensuring that stoves are made to a standard which guarantees fuel efficiency is important. During the early stages of this project CDOs were trained to inspect the dimensions of the stove and they are now posted in the marketplace during selling hours. There they are responsible for measuring stoves and providing advice to the purchasers. This consumer protection is seen as necessary until purchasers are able to determine the quality of existing stoves, for example by inspecting such things as the stove grate, the door size, and general workmanship. In addition, it is important with the new stove to inspect the depth of the firebox, the size of the grate holes, and the strength of the handles.



As the stove gains recognition, the medium-term method of quality control will be done by two CDOs. They will be responsible for inspecting and labelling those stoves which meet the basic standard requirements. Purchasers will be taught only to buy stoves with the label showing the UN 'Decade for Women' symbol. In the long-term, however, the objective is for purchasers to identify a high quality stove themselves.

Stage Four - Communications Workshops:

Communications workshops are practical demonstrations held in low-income housing areas, women's meeting places, markets and places of work. They are conducted by the CDOs to explain the new stove, through traditional media such as drama and story telling, to point out its fuel-saving benefits which are not apparent from merely looking at the new stove. Most people do not understand the concept of insulation and heat control, therefore practical demonstrations include comparative tests of the old and new stove design. It has been found that a simple test of boiling water is much less effective than one in which food or tea is prepared, so realistic cooking situations are emphasised. m e CDOs often explain the new 'stove's efficiency by saying "the new stove can cook beans, rice, and water for tea, at a cost of US$0. 25 per family; the old stove can only cook beans with the same amount of charcoal."

People cannot understand why the new stove is not competitively priced against the old stove. The CDOs give the following explanation:

"One new stove takes half an oil drum to make. One older designed stove only takes a quarter of a drum. A drum costs US$15.00; half a drum therefore costs US$7.50. Labour is expensive and metalworkers must make a profit." (This then generally leads to a discussion about the rising cost of living.) Then the CDOs continue by explaining that "a bag of charcoal which lasts a family 10 days will last 16 days if you use the new stove. In addition the new stoves are stronger and will last longer."

These discussions and presentations have proved convincing to many people in Juba and demand tar outweighs production of new stoves at present. The CDOs are very enthusiastic about promoting this new idea and by believing in the stove's efficiency and doing entertaining exciting work with community groups, Juba is benefitting by the introduction of the 'Kanun el Jadid'.

Special appreciation for their assistance with this article goes to Mr Philip Hassrick, UNICEF, Nairobi, and Mr Graham Boyd, VSO, Juba. AA

Other Work in Sudan

We have also heard from Lesley Brattle, who returned from Sudan last year on completing fieldwork for a PhD. Her studies included experimental work on making simple modifications to the Sudanese charcoal stove, and carrying out limited consumer testing on the prototypes. Work was also done on solar cookers to suit Sudanese conditions. Those wishing to have more information about her work may obtain her address from the 'Boiling Point' office.