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close this bookTechnology, Markets and People: The Use and Misuse of Fuelsaving Stoves - A project case study (UNEP, 1989, 66 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAcknowledgements
close this folderSection 1: Overview
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View the document1.1) Summary
View the document1.2) Target readership
View the document1.3) Structure
close this folderSection 2: The project
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View the document2.1) Project chronology
View the document2.2) The project location
close this folder2.3) Initial approaches
View the document2.3.1) Fuelwood production
View the document2.3.2) Domestic stove dissemination -I
close this folder2.4) Where we went wrong...
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View the document2.4.1) Problem definition
View the document2.4.2) Focus and flexibility
close this folderSection 3: Strategies developed: fuelwood production
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close this folder3.1) Making the most of the market
View the document3.1.1) A pricing policy for seedlings
View the document3.1.2) Where the market goes wrong
View the document3.2) Institutional fuelwood production units
View the document3.3) Conservation education
View the document3.4) Structure and goals
close this folderSection 4: Strategies developed: fuelwood demand reduction
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close this folder4.1) Market research
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View the document4.1.1) Needs-oriented research - chickens and eggs
View the document4.1.2) Product-oriented research - The Market Survey for the Kenya Institutional Stove
View the document4.1.3) Market research and impact priorities
close this folder4.2) Dissemination strategies
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View the document4.2.1) Impact priorities
View the document4.2.2) Domestic stove dissemination - II
View the document4.2.3) Institutional stove dissemination
View the document4.2.4) The Fuel Saving Package
close this folder4.3) Technical design
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View the document4.3.1) Any fool can design an efficient stove...
View the document4.3.2) Who needs stoves, anyway?
close this folder4.4) Impact assessment
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View the document4.4.1) The impact of the Kenya Institutional Fuelwood Saving Programme
View the document4.4.2) Problems with impact assessment
close this folder4.5) The Kenya Institutional Fuelwood Saving Programme
View the document4.5.1) Operational structure
View the document4.5.2) What next?
View the document4.6) Is non-profit sustainable?
View the documentSection 5: Conclusions
View the documentBibliography
View the documentEnergy Report Series
View the documentBack Cover


It is a picture all too familiar to all of us working in development: a woman supporting a load of firewood almost as heavy as herself by a single strap across her forehead. She has an hour’s walk ahead of her and the fuel will last the family no more than a few days.

The scene might be almost anywhere in Africa, or parts of Asia and Latin America. We have a renewable resource which is no longer being renewed fast enough: every year this housewife has a few hundred meters farther to walk. A relentlessly increasing demand: every year a few more children to cook for. She is trapped in a vital but unproductive activity consuming more and more of her time.

But there is one aspect of the picture which often goes unnoted by those accustomed to addressing global issues. For her, this is a local problem: where last year she gathered fuel the land has now been cleared for agriculture, so she has to search beyond. But as far as she is concerned, it makes little difference whether the rest of the planet is desert or virgin forest.

Unlike an increase in the price of oil the fuelwood crisis should be seen as an aggregate of millions of village-scale tragedies, rather than as a single, global problem. This is not to belittle its significance. As a commodity which plays a central role in the lives of half the world’s population, the importance of fuelwood can hardly be over-emphasised. But it does mean that we must take a different approach to the fuelwood problem to those we adopt when addressing impending shortages of fossil fuels.

While the consequences of deforestation do have global implications - as any climatologist will confirm - the problem is manifest on an infinitely smaller scale and must be approached accordingly.

The tools of macroeconomic policy have little impact on the use of firewood outside the monetised economy, and even on the micro level, we cannot expect to find a single, globally applicable solution to so diverse a problem. Rather we have to investigate ways and means of improving the situation where it is most acutely felt: in the villages of the developing world.

Although the full diversity of the problem has only come to be appreciated in recent years, the need for grassroots action was recognised at the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy held in Nairobi in 1981. In an initiative inspired by this conference, the United Nations Environment Programme, in cooperation with the Bellerive Foundation, established a project in Kenya to investigate measures to alleviate the village fuelwood shortage.

This project has received continuous assistance and cooperation from the Government of Kenya. I wish to express our gratitude to His Excellency President Daniel Arap Moi for the personal interest he has taken in the UNEP/Bellerive project’s progress. The constructive links we have maintained with the Government of Kenya are being consolidated, with ongoing activities becoming an integral component of the district development strategies of the Ministries of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, and Technical Training and Applied Technology.

Our efforts to reduce the consumption of fuelwood in large-scale catering institutions have proved particularly encouraging. The success of this programme is such that more than half the institutional stoves now being installed in Kenya are models developed by the UNEP/Bellerive project. The figures confirm that this will significantly reduce the nation’s fuelwood consumption.

Many lessons have been learnt in the course of this project. I am pleased that, through this report, an opportunity has arisen to present, to others working in conservation and development, all we did right, and wrong.

For by far the clearest lesson to come out of our activities in Kenya is that no single initiative will ever be enough to reverse the fuelwood crisis. Hence the importance of sharing knowledge and experience as widely as possible amongst those working in the field.

If the problems are to be solved, it will be through the combined efforts of hundreds of different organisations, each working to the same end but in many diverse ways. We can learn from each other’s experiences and argue about each other’s ideas. But we have only to think again of the woman trudging home under her inhuman burden to recognise that something must be done - now.

Sadruddin Aga Khan
President, Bellerive Foundation
Geneva, April 1989