| Boiling Point No. 26 - December 1991 |
Tammy Flavell of Boiling Point interviews Shyam Sundar, ITDG during ITDG's Annual Programme Review, October 1991
Shyam Sundar is the project manager of Sri Lanka's stove programme, working for ITDG but seconded to IDEA (Integrated Development Association) which is in the process of commercializing the production and marketing of Anagi stoves.
TJF Your report to our review and planning seminar was very encouraging - the Anagi stoves programme is clearly a national success at all levels, in the kitchens, with potters and for the environment - to use an
inappropriate English saying - Anagis are "spreading like wildfire". Can you comment in general on the success of the Anagi?
SS If you go back to the history of stoves programmes in Sri Lanka, ITDGs stoves programme had a long involvement of 12 years. During this time it has built up a lot of links with institutions - government and non government - so the foundations were laid for the work of looking into fuelwood efficient stoves. Based on this, the Anagi stove was developed 4 years ago with the help of CEB, CISIR and other institutions and individuals. Initially it was the tile factories which got involved in the programme. Rapidly a network and organisational structure was setup and which managed to disseminate a good number of stoves. However, ITDG decided to reflect on its approach and thought perhaps the small producers ought to be given a chance and encouraged to get involved in the stove production with a view to enhancing their incomes. So the current programme started 6 months ago to select and train 12 pottery units, and on average the trained units now each produce approximately 30 or 40 stoves per month.
TJF What are the criteria you use to select potential potters for training?
SS There are 4 basic criteria:
1) willingness to produce Anagis;
2) they should have had some kind of previous experience in the production of stoves - because the Anagi production process requires a certain level of skill and unless potters are skilled enough to throw a stove on a wheel and understand the fundamentals of pottery stove work it is too difficult a task for ITDG to train them. For example if you take an inexperienced potter you may have to train him for a period of one month, in comparison to 3 days for a previously experienced potter,
3) they have to be low income potters
4) female participation is encouraged.
TJF Who trains the potters?
SS There are 2 production assistants who work for IDEA full-time and between them on an average they can train 3 pottery units per month.
TJF Do you have an idea of how many Anagis you expect to produce in 1991-92?
SS To date the figures show that 250,000 stoves have been disseminated over the years; given this background I think an average production of 60,000 to 80,000 per year
TJF What is the difference between this present project and the previous project?
SS The previous project had a heavy emphasis on working with clay tile factories and a few poor potter units and the whole production process was confined to a location where the tile factories and clay based industries are situated. This programme takes into consideration the spread of units; we are looking at 3 districts Kandy Matale and Kurunegala - where there are pottery villages and we have moved in and started work with poor producers. These 3 areas have a fuelwood deficit and we felt that their demand for these stoves was very high. The emphasis is now on rural production for rural households.
TJF How will the project remain sustainable and continue to expand in the coming years?
SS Well the production of stoves has gathered momentum and there is now a very large number of pirate producers with their own retail outlets. Our main concern is to ensure that the quality does not suffer, so we are offering training to them also. If we can maintain consumer satisfaction the project will be sustainable. This means educating the consumer not to purchase poor quality stoves as well as training potters not to produce them.
TJF Why do you think the Anagi is such a success with women users?
SS There is a mixed opinion on this but there are several reasons. There are so many advantages to using the Anagi, so many benefits accrue to the user, starting from the reduced fuelwood consumption. Women who collect fuelwood now need less so they are saving time. In addition the user who pays for the fuelwood is now spending so much less on fuel and the savings could be directed elsewhere. Besides this there is some smoke reduction. Finally the second pot is sometimes used for boiling water (the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka spends a large proportion of its budget on preventing and curing water-borne diseases).
SS The Sri Lanka Stoves Programme has created 2 Anagi "tycoons" who are success stories because their lifestyles have changed so much, due to their own efforts. These 2 potters put in 18 hours a day, they go for targets and meet demands. There are good financial benefits for the potters.
TJF Is the programme resulting in more jobs and higher incomes for large number of potters?
SS Definitely there are higher incomes for more potters and jobs within the household are being created. As a result of producing the Anagi the other members of the household get involved with the production process which is an encouraging sign.
TJF What are the successes and mistakes you have learnt from the stoves programmes in Sri Lanka?
SS We have learnt how to benefit from conflicting experiences. There is a study being initiated to ensure that the experiences learnt from the Sri Lanka stoves programmes are incorporated into a useful working document for people working in stoves in other parts of the world.
TJF Thank you Shyam and continued success to your programme.