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Training Women as Trainers: The Nada Chula Programme

by Madhu Sarin

During 1983-84, a pilot training programme for dissemination of the Improved Nada Chulha was conducted. During this period, five training courses were run for chulha mistris in collaboration with three voluntary organisations and two state governments. A study of past experience had suggested that village women trained as skilled chulha mistris were likely to be the best agents for long term acceptance of the technology in rural areas.

Over a period of fifteen months, we have had the joy and satisfaction of observing the growth of many of our trainees into mature organisers and managers of several organisations' chulha programmes. With their help, we have also been able to produce four teaching / information publications for their use.

However, time and experience have defined new needs. The National Programme for the Demonstration of Improved Chulhas sponsored by the Ministry of Energy has generated a tremendous demand for trainers of chulha mistris. Many of our earlier trainees are being called upon to conduct a large number of government sponsored training courses for chulha mistris. Many organisations are needing to train additional mistris to strengthen their own chulha programmes. As the improved chulha moves into new areas, the need for generating greater design capability to meet new needs has also increased.

As a consequence, during 1985, we have decided to concentrate on developing a training methodology, information materials and teaching aids for training trainers and supervisors of the Improved Nada Chulha.


The objectives of the programme are to train supervisors;

1. to organise and run a Nada Chulha programme,

2a. to organise training programmes for mistris,

b. to develop the skills to he effective trainers,

3. to develop an ability to make design innovations and adaptations according to the different needs of their areas.

Pre-training Preparation

i) In case of new trainees, we expect sponsoring organisations to select their candidates carefully in accordance with the selection criteria checklist.

ii) The formal training of such candidates will have to be preceded by 2 to 4 weeks 'residency' training with an orcanisation which already has a good chulha programme in operation. During this 'residency' period, each new trainee will be given practical experience in building chulhas and how to organise and run a chulha programme.

iii) In case of more experienced trainees, they will be required to complete a few pre-training tasks outlined in our checklist.

The Training

The training is 10 days duration. It is held within the operational area of the collaborating organisation and includes theoretical inputs, teaching methodologies, communication skills, role plays and practical work and demonstrations. It also provides an opportunity to the participants to discuss and pool their experiences.

Post-training Support

During this period, we like to maintain continuous contact with our trainees through visits, letters and reports. We want to get maximum feedback on the effectiveness and/or shortcomings of our training to help us improve it further. Continuing two-way communication will also enable us to help our trainees resolve unforeseen problems.

All these publications are available from:

Voluntary Health Association of India, C-14 Community Centre, Safdarjanq Development Area, New Delhi-110016.

1. 'NADA CHULHA', (A handbook for supervisors and trainers), in Hindi and English by Madbu Sarin.

2. 'HOW TO MAKE AND USE THE NADA CHULHA (A construction manual for chulha Mistris), in Hindi and English by Madbu Sarin.

3. 'HOW TO USE THE NADA CHULHA IN THE BEST WAY', (an educational poster) in Hindi only.

4. A promotional poster for the improved Nada Chulha, in Hindi only.



Old Chulhas and Women's Lives


Most women have to spend many hours cooking on old chulhas everyday. Old chulhas make women's lives very difficult:

- Smoke hurts womens eyes and lungs.

- Women have to cook in dark kitchens. Cleaning dirty walls takes a lot of time and labour.

- Smoke also enters other rooms and makes the whole house dirty.

- Cooking on a one pot chulha can take a long time. Women have to sit in heat and smoke all this time.

- Pots become black all over. Scrubbing them everyday is hard work. It also hurts women's hands

Figures from the 'Chulha MISTRI

Training Manual by Madhu Sarin.

New Chulhas and Women's Lives


All the parts of a 2-holed Nada Chulha are shown in the drawing. The lireoax is the place where the fire burns. The firebox is connected lo a chimney with a funnel The chimney is the most important part of the chulha which makes it different from old chulhas One more hole is provided above the tunnel The floor of the tunnel under the second hole is raised to form an obsiruclion This obstruction is called a baffle The cooking holes do not have humps on them Pots fit into the holes. Between the second hole and the chimney here is a chimney damper. In front of the chulha there is a from damper.


Cross-section of a NADA Chulha'

A neater and more efficient cooling al area


In order to get full benefit from the course, participants are asked to think about the following questions, and if possible bring written answers to them to the course.

1. What are the main problems you have faced as a supervisor in the chulha programme? For example problems in :

i) motivating villagers to adopt the Nada Chulha.

ii) procuring materials like chimneys and dampers.

iii) getting the chulhas built.

iv) getting users to use, repair and maintain the chulha properly.

v) any other (please list any other problems of this type).

2. What are the main problems you have faced as a trainer? (This question is only meant for those who have had some training experience.) For example:

i) problems in making arrangements of housing, food, and getting families ready for chulhas to be built in their houses.

ii) what items did you find difficult to teach?

iii) which items did your trainees find most difficult to learn?

3. Are there villagers who are not happy with the chulha?

For example :

i) What are their problems?

ii) Do they have some special needs that the chulha cannot satisfy?

iii) What suggestions do you have for modifying the chulha to satisfy these needs?


A person selected as a supervisor-cum-trainer for a Nada Chulha programme should preferably:

1. be a women sensitive to women's issues and have some experience of cooking on traditional chulhas.

2. be a full time employee of the organization.

3. have at least ten years schooling and an aptitude for technical work and innovativeness to make design modification. for specific needs.

4. have had some practical experience of working in rural areas.

5. have an interest in and aptitude for helping others learn.

6. have worked in a Nada Chulha programme as a supervisor and have practical experience of building chulhas.

7. have a strong inclination for practical work and should be good at working with her/his hands.

8. have good organising ability.

9. be able to relate easily to a wide range of persons and be able to assess different needs of different trainees.

10. be acceptable to villagers' of different caste and economic groups and must have access to villagers' kitchens.

11. have good problem solving ability.

12. have personal circumstances permitting the time and mobility for doing the work.

13. have a minimum of 3 years commitment to chulha related work.

You must clean the chimney from time to tin. for the chulha to work properly and her smoke to go out.


You can also dean the chinned by tong a cloth to the end of a Iong pole Move tines pole up and down the chimney a few times .

But you have to be careful ! If the cloth is not teed strongly to the pot might get stuck ins de me chimney

Or if your Dole 15 not long enough. it might sup from your hand and Mu inside the chimney You will have to remove the chimney to lake out the pole .

Remember. you must be able to off lift cowl to clean the chimney