Cover Image
close this bookBoiling Point No. 38 : Household Energy in High Cold Regions (ITDG - ITDG, 1997, 40 p.)
close this folderGTZ News: Non-theme articles
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentImproved institutional stoves for Sudan schools
View the documentHaiti: Cooking stoves and domestic energy
View the documentHousehold energy in a recently electrified rural settlement in Mpumalanga, South Africa
View the documentImproved Tunisian domestic bread ovens: Flying saucer lids save 50 per cent fuelwood
View the documentMumu: A traditional method of slow cooking in Papua New Guinea
View the documentReducing the risks of poisonous emissions from stoves
View the documentUpdate on biogas in Nepal
View the documentResearch and development


Household Energy Programme (HEP) - Co-ordination and Advisory Service, PO Box 5180, 65726 Eschborn, Germany, Tel: 6196 793004-7, Fax: 797325
Editor: Cornelia Sepp

News from Headquarters

Staff Announcements

Dr. Petra Wagner, formerly assistant team leader, has left the HEP-team after three years of successful cooperation. She will continue to work for GTZ, but will be in charge of the preparation of the EXPO 2000 World Exhibition in Hanover as of January 1997. Two new staff members will join the HEP-team at headquarters: Birgit Starkenberg will take up responsibility in February 1997 for project control, contracts and household energy in Uganda and Anke Weymann will be in charge of all projects within French speaking countries.

Trudy Konemund has been appointed team leader for the new project 'Biomass Use and Household Energy in Ethiopia' which focuses on the integration of household energy measures into national sector programmes for resource conservation and health. Vivienne Abbott will be engaged as technical advisor in that same project.

Sahel Regional Bureau

The regional HEP bureau, PED-Sahel, with Beatrix Westhoff as regional co-ordinator has been established in Burkina Faso. The contact address is:

Programme Energie Domestique (PED) Sahel
01 B.P. 1485, Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso
Tel.: 00 226 - 36 30 09
Fax: 00 226 - 31 74 73 email:

Open House at GTZ/HEP Headquarters

HEP acknowledges the importance of public relations, extensions services, and sensation activities in developing as well as developed countries. Thus, an open house event was held at GTZ in Eschborn in June 1996, presenting an exhibition and slide show focusing on household energy and household energy projects.

Integration of a Household Energy Component into the Gambian German Forestry Project (GGFP)

During a two week mission to The Gambia in June 1996, the possibilities for including household energy measures in the community forestry approach of the Gambian German Forestry Project (GGFP) were examined. It was found that favourable conditions for an integrated approach exist. Also, on account of previous stove dissemination efforts, a basic knowledge of stove technology is already widespread in the country. Because established field structures, dissemination strategies and trained extension personnel are available, household energy can be a part of the bigger theme of natural resource management. The effects of working together with community forestry are seen in the support of awareness raising, the facilitation of women's participation in forestry committees, and the strengthening of the self-help approach. The household energy measures will create much-needed immediate or short-term benefits for the population, whereas the beneficial impact of most community forestry activities will occur only at mid-term. It was suggested that household energy sensitisation strategies should be integrated into all steps of the community forestry approach, and the establishment of any parallel structures should be avoided.

Household energy as a school subject

The 'Projet Foyers Ameliores (PFA)' in Bamako, Mali, by Dagmar Orth

People are aware that their natural environment has changed. Vegetation has become much more sparse. Environmental education stresses the links between environmental degradation and energy use. introducing the topic of household energy to pupils in schools is one way of awareness raising.

The household energy project in Mali, Bamako, 'Projet Foyers Ameliores (PFA)' has taken educational needs seriously. The project's extension workers have been working with school children aged 12 - 14 in Bamako since 1990, disseminating their knowledge of improved stoves. These activities were not integrated into the school curriculum previously, but took place in a more or less spontaneous way, depending on the extension workers' visits. It soon became obvious that to spread the activities in a co-ordinated and permanent way, they would have to be made a fixed item in the curriculum. Teachers, and not the project's extension workers, should teach this subject in school.

Since 1995, in co-operation with the Ministry of Basic Education, the 'Institut Pedagogique National' and several other projects working in the field of basic education, the PFA initiated the process of integrating household energy into the curriculum. Links between the subject and existing courses were established, for example in geography, home economics, and languages. A further activity was the participation by the PFA in a work-group concerned with the development of a broader-based course in environmental education.

The procedure for developing such a curriculum is a long and trying one, so as well as working with the formal education sector, the PFA collaborated with NGOs active in the informal education sector, especially UNICEF. In both sectors, the PFA participated in the ongoing training of teachers. In the formal education sector, the project taught trainers for teachers at the two teacher training institutes.

The material developed by the PFA includes:

· a concept for awareness-raising and training for teachers and teacher trainers,
· a specimin lesson for awareness raising of secondary school pupils, and
· a series of lessons for primary school children.

As long as household energy is not integrated into the official curriculum, PFA team members discuss the possibilities of integrating the subject into existing courses with the teachers. The specimin lesson for secondary school pupils and the concepts are presented to them. Where necessary, teachers are trained in building the improved clay stove 'Nafama'. in this case, the PFA staff emphasises the fact that pupils are not expected to be expert stove-builders.

The course on improved stoves places the subject in the wider frame of environmental protection and measures to prevent desertification. It relates pupils' knowledge of desertification to the theme of improved stoves as pan of a basic secondary school geography lesson,

The two pictures illustrate the link between environmental degradation and energy needs. Pupils are encouraged to see improved stoves as one way among others to provide a solution to this problem (Figures 1 and 2).

The series of lessons for the primary schools is conducted in two ways: by practical excursions And by lessons in the classroom. The pupils not only come into contact with the various types of stoves, but they also team to recognise the effects caused by people satisfying their basic needs in a fragile environment.

The experience in Mali was a positive one on several levels. Policy makers in the education sector were already aware of the problem. Teachers welcomed our input and information and the pupils were interested and understood the broader context.

Of course, the influence which younger school children have on their families is not direct or obvious, but older pupils transferred their new knowledge to their families. It is our hope that they will also transfer their new understanding into the families they will start later.

Although the effects of the activities cannot be measured at present - for example by an increase of stoves sold right now - they are a pioneer investment for the future.

Overall, a close and intense co-operation between household energy ventures and basic education would be desirable and an official integration of household energy ideas into the school curriculum should be envisaged for the future.


The Rational Energy Supply, Conservation, Utilisation, and Education Project. in Dadaad Division. Kenya

The arid and semi-arid lands of Dadaab division in north-eastern Kenya play host to thousands of refugees who entered the country during the early 1990s. Following a decision by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) three refugee camps for roughly 120,000 people, mainly from Somalia, were established.

The area is poor, barely supporting the nomadic people native to the region. As a consequence, environmental degradation in and around the camps has increased, as the additional demand for firewood, poles, and grass has had to be satisfied from nearby natural resources.

The Rational Energy Supply, Conservation, Utilisation, and Education Project, in short RESCUE, commenced operations during 1993 with a view to easing the household energy and environment related problems. During its first year, RESCUE focused on start-off activities, infrastructure development and logistical support, with full scale implementation of planned activities not starting until the second year. These included improving extension strategy and messages, demonstrating ways of restoring the environment, and reforestation measures. Wood fuel saving gooks and user-constructed Rhoda stoves were disseminated in exchange for either work done or tree seedlings planted, with greater importance placed on the latter. Measures to make people aware of the problems covered 80 per cent of the refugee households.

In January 1996, RESCUE entered into its second phase, which is expected to run until December 1998. There has been a significant change in the project's focus of activities, namely an intensification of environmental protection measures and the active involvement and participation of the local host communities and the refugees. Whereas the first phase was aimed at quick results and relief through stove dissemination and propagation of energy saving methods (during the first year malnutrition occurred and the project was in an emergency situation), the second phase adopts a sustainable development approach and centres on the rehabilitation and conservation of the environment.

The main emphasis is placed on the refugee and host communities working together. This is a logical step as these refugee camps are 'consolidation camps' which will continue to exist and will absorb remnants of refugees from other camps scheduled to be closed.

The project has to cope with a number of rather tricky tasks. The most important one is that refugees who view themselves as passers-by must be convinced that investment of labour and effort in environmental protection measures is worthwhile. In addition, mechanisms have to be developed for the host communities and the refugees to work together. Finally, systems need to be developed and promoted for appropriate natural resource management. Ultimately, the participation of the population in natural resource management needs to be assured and incentives for the rehabilitation and conservation of the natural resource base must be provided, especially for the refugees.

RESCUE is facing a number of challenges and it will be interesting to experience its transformation process from a relief/emergency project to a sustainable development project.

Challenges of disseminating stoves in a refugee situation

by Amina Abdalla, GTZ RESCUE Kenya

In most humanitarian relief situations, agencies concentrate on providing the victims with food, shelter, clean water and medical care. Environmental issues in refugees situations were until recently not adequately covered. Often it is assumed that standing fuel stock around the camps is sufficient to meet the need of the displaced. Energy conservation training and dissemination of improved stoves remain the most widely used intervention measures to address refugee impact on the environment. Nevertheless, only small and decreasing budgets are made available to household and institutional energy conservation programmes (Kimani 1995).

Short term concerns frequently take priority over environmental rehabilitation. In the case of refugees, successful stove dissemination is even more challenging, as the planning horizons are short-term and the people are thus less motivated or even reluctant to invest in environmental protection measures.

Stove dissemination:

Stove dissemination projects in conventional development have, over time, learnt that free distribution of stoves and lack of energy conservation training are the major causes for non-sustainability. The fact that refugees are poor and understandably use their meagre budget to supplement items missing in their food baskets necessitates the exploration of refugee resources other than money in stove dissemination. Tree planting and provision of labour for environmental rehabilitation work are some of the exchange commodities tested with positive results.

The lessons learnt through the use of environmental based exchange commodities include (amongst others): the need to introduce a self made stove model, to ensure that acceptability of the stove dissemination strategy is not due to lack of opportunities for refugee labour; to integrate stove dissemination programmes into wider non-seasonally based activities that can ensure continued availability of work, as opposed to environmental rehabilitation work, which is seasonal.

Capacity building:

Linking stove dissemination to energy conservation training

In a refugee setting, where the benefit of any programme is measured by a quantitative approach, the development of energy conservation training is under more strain. The need for training is even higher when the refugee community has experienced little or no fuel shortage in its home country.

Depending on the education level and conservation skills of the community an effective trainer to trainee ratio needs to be decided. The initial ratio needs to be as high as possible to ensure quality information in the beginning and thus avoid possible distortion caused by the healthy refugee rumour machinery.

Simpler energy technologies, that involve participation in design and construction, facilitate the development of the training component. Technologies that involve one to one training as a precondition have higher utilisation patterns.

Stove Production:

Achieving sustainability in stove production through commercialisation

Transport costs and damage to stoves during transportation make the supply of prefabricated stoves to remote refugee camps a costly and unsustainable venture. The question of local fabrication soon becomes essential. We again learn from conventional stove programmes that sustainability in stove production is best achieved through commercialisation. The problem lies with the high stove requirements and short delivery period characteristic of refugee situations.

The prospects for local fabrication is determined by the number of artisans available and whether they are effectively motivated. Motivation can best be achieved through training, offering competitive prices for products, and most importantly, facilitating the supply of quality production tools. A non-subsidised approach needs to be employed, since it results in a cost effective and self sustaining process.


Although many professionals argue that exchange commodities (e.g. stove for work, stove for tress) are a reward punishment approach, it remains the most effective channel through which refugees can be motivated to engage in unpopular activities. It is, however, important that training on proper utilisation of stoves and accompanying energy conservation training precede the dissemination of exchange commodity-based energy saving technologies. Local production of improved stoves at a non-individual level needs to take into account post refugee markets and a sustainable handing over process.