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close this book Boiling Point No. 26 - December 1991
View the document Stove Technology Transfer
View the document Does Anyone Need to Design a "New" Stove?
View the document Limits of Technology Transfer
View the document A Single Pot for the Pacific
View the document Improved Stove Promotion in Three Indian States
View the document Technology Transfer - The KCJ
View the document Training for Technology Transfer
View the document GATE/GTZ NEWS
View the document Solar Cooking of Traditional Foods in Western Africa
View the document Sri Lanka's Rural Stove Programme
View the document Stove Building & Dissemination in Developing Countries
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Training for Technology Transfer

Alternative Training on Improved Stoves for Promoters and Rural Groups

By Marco Augusto Recinos, ECOTEC, Guatemala, reproduced from RED bulletin, CEMAT

There was surprise. When the contractor was reading my proposal to change the traditional method of an improved stoves workshop for promoters into an intensive theoretical-practical course where the participants could study the fundamental concepts of improved stoves and later apply them in a nearby community without having to restrict themselves to any pre-established stove design, his face could not hide the surprise. Also the participants themselves were surprised when, at the beginning of the course, they were informed about its characteristics. This is because the traditional method supposes that most promoters do not have the capacity to understand the abstract concepts that underlie improved-stove technology. My experience told me that most promoters could understand and then apply enough concepts to topple this belief and justify this effort.

The improved stoves conceived are not only instruments for families to obtain a better yield from firewood, but also vehicles to carry the messages which will start the process of awareness of the environmental problem and its consequences. With research and development, work dissemination, promotion, training, evaluation, etc., several designs have been obtained as a response to a particular local set of circumstances, innovating and improving one another constantly.

The "new improved stove technicians" produced by the present system become extensionists who disseminate a specific technology, trying in most cases to preserve the original characteristics of the model. However, in some cases, they introduced modifications to suit local requirements but without observing the critical dimensions of the design needed for efficiency.

This training system generates whose hands are tied. When they do their work in the community, they will try to introduce the technology they have, even though it may not be appropriate to local conditions. Since their training was superficial and not analytical it has not given them the capacity to recognise the conditions under which it is appropriate for promotion. Thus they cannot meet the needs of the different types of users. This system can be typified by the following unfavorable element.

A mistaken role of the technician-promoter: The work of the promoter requires a sound basic knowledge to be able to propose adequate solutions to specific conditions; it requires a good understanding of the problem and the actions that the people have taken to face the problem, A promoter should have knowledge of various improved stoves: their characteristics, operation, and conditions suitable for their application. However, all this is impossible to obtain in a typical course where 90% requires much work preparing materials to allow a simple presentation of complex concepts. The selection of the participants also must be careful; it is preferable that they have an adequate educational basis, but in my opinion the results fully justify the effort.

This implies that the knowledge of the promoter should include facts related to the dwindling forest resource, its causes and effects at the regional and local level, of the present and the future situation. To most of the people in our countries, firewood is not a first order problem and to make them become interested in saving it, the promoter should convince them of the reasons for fuel economy.

The promoter should also "promote" the correct design to use and how to take care of the stove. It is no secret that if efficient models are operated badly, they can consume more firewood than a traditional fire used rationally. With proper training technicians can become "truly improved stove promoters". This is how we did it and the results have rewarded our effort. See ECOTEC training details overleaf.

An alternative to the traditional system of the course workshop is a plan that does not preclude training promoters from being good constructors, but neither does it try to form "experts" prepared to face complex thermodynamic problems; it is a compromise between the two. The contents, topics and activities to be included in such a course are summarized below.

"Certainly" was my answer to the contractor when he asked me whether this would be a more complex course. Definitely this proposal or more of the time is spent in the practice of constructing a specific stove model.

Reproducing a stove that has given successful results in other places where conditions are different is an effort whose results are uncertain. The problem of fuel, the dissemination system, and people's habits are only some of the factors that influence the way in which families will be ready to adapt and use the stove correctly, which will define ultimately whether they will be able save firewood.


Classification of the Activities to be Developed in an Improved Stove Course






Global definition of the problem

- World history or stoves

This section will provide the participants with a global


- National history of stoves

vision of the problem, of the conditions that originated


- Deforestation and energy

the technology and of the particular aspects present in the community.


- Deforestation and quality of life


- Firewood, culture and society


Characteristics of the traditional fire

- Advantages and disadvantages

Here he will learn the reasons why this fire is a disadvantage.


- Operation


- Evolution according to conditions




- Types: high and low mass,

In His section the participants will



self -construction, prefabricated,

obtain the basic concepts to understand



with or without chimney

the operation of an improved stove. He


- Elements and their operation:

will learn how each element plays an


tirebox, tunnels, potholes,

important role in the efficiency, so


dampers, chimney, ash bin, etc.

that during practice he will not have to


- Construction materials, Heir

restrict only to copying forms and


handling and behavior: blocks,

measurements, but to develop elements


bricks, adobe, cement, iron,

that serve specific funtions. This way


ceramics, iorena, stone, etc.

of learning reduces considerably the need


- Heat theory and its applications

to do much practice. He will also learn


to improved stoves: Generation,

how to use local materials so that, in the


power, losses, transfer, use, etc.

necessary case, he will make stoves without


- Use and maintenance

depending on outside materials.


Stove construction directly by the participants

- Building of a self- stove, for example a lorena construction

This is a part where the aspects reviewed in the above section are practiced.


- Construction of a prefabricated stove, as the ceramic liner

The stoves are constructed in houses where they will be used permanently.


- Constnuction of an improved stove model starting from a traditional fire; collective design by all the participants

With the information acquired in the practice of diagnosis, the participants will propose an appropriate solution applying the technical principles studied.


Stove construction by local artisans

- To construct a metal stove with a local tinsmith, dimensioning it to the local conditions and establishing problems in the process; ex. star type stove

This a very important practice to know the potential of local artisans in the solution of the problem.


- To construct a ceramic stove with local ceramists



Appropriate technology

- Definition and characteristics

Suggestions and analysis on how to relate to area make communities participate.


- Participative solution


Firewood measurement practice

- Firewood consumption trial using different models, such as open

Measuring is an information that can have much impact among families. fire, star and lorena stoves


Practice of diagnosis of the local situation

- Diagnosis made by the participants to establish problems of firewood, type of fireplace, family expectations, available materials, etc.

In terms of knowledge of the community the effectiveness of the promoter's work can be stablished. This is the promoter's first activity, that every one must make in the beginning of his work.