| Boiling Point No. 26 - December 1991 |
GATE/GTZ Co-ordinotion & Advisory Centre for Integrated Household Energy Supply, Eschbom, Germany
News from Headquarters
Household Energy Meeting, Sweden,
13th-14th January 1992
GTZ's Household Energy Unit and the Centre for Habitat Studies at the University of Lund, Sweden, are organising a meeting of northern agencies working in the field of household energy. The meeting will take place in Lund on 13th - 14th January 1992. The aim of the meeting is to bring together northern development agencies concerned with domestic energy issues to discuss the prospect of establishing a common information network.
Among the topics for discussion are:
• the possibility of developing a common platform on policy issues;
• repercussions of ESMAPs changed policy on household energy;
• the nomination of a spokesperson to represent the collective views of northern agencies;
• the possibility of developing inter-agency projects.
"BP" will keep you informed about the outcome of this and future meetings.
New Developments In Solar Cooking
At the Energy and Environment Group of the Fachhochschule Aachen, Julich Campus in the Federal Republic of Germany, headed by Professor Schwarzer, a new flat collector solar cooker was recently introduced to the public.
The solar cooker employs an efficient flat collector with double glazing or other transparent insulation and a thermal storage system using a rock bed and thermal oil (groundout or other vegetable oil) as heat storage materials. Thermal oil was also used as the heat transfer fluid from the collector to the cooking unit. The cooking pot in the system is designed to work as a heat exchanger itself. The unit begins operation as soon as the solar radiation reaches a threshold level of about 400W/m2.
Experiments on the system were performed under simulated as well as under field conditions and for no storage and with different storage volumes of 20 litres and 50 litres corresponding to 40 and 84 KJ/K energy storage capacities respectively Measurements showed that the collector itself (without storage) needed 3-4 hours under ambient conditions of 300 gr. C and 950W/m2 solar irradiation to achieve temperatures as high as 180 gr. C at the outlet. With thermal storage capacities of 20 litres and 50 litres, it required a total energy of 4 KWh and 6 KWh respectively to attain storage temperatures of 160 gr. C. Because of the high oil temperature, the solar cooker can also be used for baking and roasting.
Within the next year prototypes are to be field-tested for local production, use and acceptance in several developing countries. Under German local conditions, the cost of the cookers is still too high (material costs alone amount to approximately US$ 900). It is expected, however, that substitute materials available locally in developing countries will reduce this cost by about one half which will bring it within a range where it might be economically attractive, at least for institutions.
The Household Energy Unit of GTZ/GATE and its cooperating partners in developing countries will be involved in the field testing.
Reports on Projects
Improved Cookstoves as Focal Points of Development Processes
by A Klingshirn, GATE/GTZ
Much guessing has been going on in the past as to how much fuelwood improved cookstoves really can save and especially as to what effects the savings have on the lifestyles of households, especially women and children. A number of fuelwood consumption studies in the last few years have established clearly that considerable savings can be achieved (30-50%) if the technology is adapted to people's needs and, therefore, regularly used. There is still largely only anecdotal information available on the human effects of these savings. Systematic studies are, in most cases, still missing.
To fill this gap was the main goal of an impact assessment recently carried out in the Women and Energy Project in Kenya. Previous consumption studies had shown (with
local variations) fuelwood savings of approximately 40%, a figure that was corroborated by a high usage rate, a rapidly growing demand and money savings where the fuelwood was being bought.
In order to work cost-effectively and still get reliable information, a combination of methods was used, whereby the different types of information gathered could support or contradict each other. An effort was made to include various types of people involved in the production and dissemination of the improved stoves (users, producers, stockists and sellers, extension personnel from institutions and organizations, local district and national administration, national officials). Structured interviews with individuals alternated with free group discussions. The latter were especially useful with the main groups of users, the women. The group situation distracted attention from individuals and allowed criticisms to be voiced more freely. Imagination was stimulated and much more detailed information was gathered in this way. With varying success, elements of self-assessment were included with different groups of people involved. Personal observations during the evaluation and a review of project documents and discussions with project personnel completed the picture.
Summary of Results
In this article we are presenting one selected aspect only to show how complex and interdependent the results of one technological option can be. We shall be looking at the effects of the most important group, the users. However, significant impacts may also result at the community, and in the case of widespread dissemination, even the national level.
Of all the impacts felt by the women, time saving were perhaps appreciated most. The time savings resulted from:
• less time having to be spent collecting fuelwood and carrying it home or splitting and transporting it when trees were bought,
• less attention needed for the handling of the stove during the cooking process (in some cases, where food was put on the stove in the evening and the embers were well covered with ashes, the women did not need to cook at all in the morning),
• where fuelwood trees had been planted near the home, collection time was minimised.
The amount of time saved, depended on how far the women had to travel to collect the fuelwood and on how much had to be collected or chopped in the first place. This varied from 3 to 20 hours a week. From the responses it was obvious the women considered time savings to be a major impact.
There was a wide variety of answers as to how this time was spent (the answers were not analysed statistically, but assesed on a qualitative basis, since counting the individual answers to each question would have disturbed the flow of information in the groups and the climate of discussion). The list below indicates the order of frequency in which they were mentioned:
• carry out agricultural work either in cash crop or food crop production;
• have more time for taking care of the family, especially the small children and sick relatives;
have the food ready when children go to school in the morning or come home in the afternoon; many women mentioned that because of the improved stove children no longer go to school hungry in the morning;
• have more time for planting vegetables and thus improve their diet;
• come regularly to the group meetings with the agricultural staff and learn new things, such as nutrition, health, hygiene, family living, family planning, care of small children, baking, new recircles etc.
• children no longer have to be kept home from school because the reduced amount of wood can be gathered by the women themselves when coming home from the fields. In some areas this really has improved children's (and especially girls') school performance;
• have more time for visits with neighbours and friends, thus improving the social climate in the community;
• only two out of about two hundred women said that they had more time to rest!
For many of us who are aware of the heavy workload African women have to carry (and Kenyan women certainly are no exception here), this latter fact may seem deplorable. However, there is one thing we have to realise: the choice of what the women do with the time saved through an improved stove can not and should not be influenced by anybody else. It is purely their own decision. What is important, however, is that their possibility of choices is widened, that they have more freedom to do different things. This in itself is a worthwhile development goal.
These impacts, related to us by the women themselves later were confirmed by the agricultural and other extension workers as well as by a number of husbands and children.
Other impact aspects looked at in the assessment were:
• household budget
• income generation
• workload of women/status of women
• innovative and organizational capacity
• health and safety in the household
• environmental awareness
• strengthening self-initiative and self-confidence
Some of these aspects will be presented later. The study team was most impressed by the overall recognition that the technology (improved stoves) itself was a catalytic tool, which at the same time brought a number of direct improvements in the everyday lives of the users.
As the agricultural extension workers pointed out repeatedly, it was more important that the women, due to their positive experience with the stove technology, were eager to learn more new techniques - e.g. constructing cement water tanks, guttering the roofs, producing roofing materials etc. Many women, who first joined a group in order to learn about stove building, stayed together as a group, exchanging ideas and experiences. The extensionist work, therefore, had become much easier, having more time, the women came to the meetings regularly their husbands even encouraging them to attend.
The essential aspect was, therefore, the changes brought about in the attitudes of people to their own capacities to improve their lives and to direct them according to their own needs. In other words, through the technology a process of development has been set in motion, under the people's own control.
The Bakery of the Yatta Bee Keeping Group, Kenya
The bakery of the Yatta Bee Keepers is situated at Mwitasyano Market, Yatta, about 40km from Kitui. Only the last 8km of road is tarmaced and several rivers have to be crossed before reaching the tarmaced road. The market has several shops where bread is sold, and a hotel where bread and mandazis are available. The two nearest schools are presently not provided with bread probably because of the cost and insufficient bread being available. There are three more market places between 5km and 8km from the bakery. The transport of the product can be done by bicycle, matatu or bus. Presently bread is coming from Thika and Kitui. The project objective is the production and sale of bread and bakery products including the necessary equipment to avoid long journeys to large-scale bakeries, and the strengthening of women's self-help groups.
The project started its activities in June 1991 and seems to be a great success. The women are baking 28 loaves of bread every 20 minutes using only small amounts of dry sticks collected off the ground in this semi-arid area. The baking oven was built by a young man named Peter Mbgwa, with the Bellerive Foundation. Fired efficiently with dry sticks, it releases the smoke through the well designed chimney situated in the roof. The women have been trained at the Kenya Institute for Science and Technology (K.I.S.T) which has an excellent Food Technology Section. The department of Bakery Training is lead by a Kenyan, Mr Kibave, who was trained in the UK. The women have attended three, one week training courses, exchanging ideas and experiences and are confident in the baking of bread, cakes, meat pies and samosas.
The community of Yatta is pleased with the products. The bakery is having difficulty in producing enough to meet the demand for its products. Presently, bread is being sold at 6.50 KSh per loaf, cakes at 2.20 KSh and samosas at 3KSh per piece. At the present rate, the project will be able to reimburse itself in 12 to 14 months. Women from other parts of Kitui are asking about the possibility of having a similar project.
The Bakery Project of the Yatta Bee Keepers Women's Group is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Co-operation. The Ministry has a special fund of up to DM 30,.000 for small scale projects carried out by local self-help groups. Such proposals should be sent to GTZ Gate, the German Centre for Appropriate Technology. Here the proposals are examined and, if approved, forwarded to the Ministry for Economic Co-operation with the suggestion to give financial support to the proposed project.
Review of "Skipping Stones" (children's quarterly)
"Skipping Stones" is a non-profit, multi-ethnic, children's quarterly magazine. It is devoted to the arts, writings (in many languages), and photography from around the world including India, Soviet Union, United States, Ethiopia, Japan, Latin America, but many more countries are presented. "Skipping Stones" presents its material actively, encouraging readers to respond, question, offer ideas, send submissions and participate in creative, cooperative, and hands-on ecology reaming activities. The young adult reader finds international fairy tales, reports from children's life styles, and plays of different countries, riddles, poetry end many photographs of children. "Skipping Stones" is an extremely inviting publication for active intercultural communication among children and those who are concerned with the issues surrounding them.
"Skipping Stones" can be subscribed at P O Box 3939, Eugene, Oregon 97403 USA, Tel (503)342-4956. Free or 50% reduced subscriptions are offered to low-income and Third World schools and libraries.
WHERE IN THE WORLD?
I have a lake named after a queen a flag that's black, red, white and green lions but no tigers, crocs but no gators, coffee and tea but no oil or gasoline..