On the 28th of August, a national multi-stakeholder meeting was conducted, with the aim of convening various actors in the stove supply chain as well as representatives from supporting organisations to share ideas and experiences related to the ICS programme.  Highlights included discussion about the establishment of an ICS producers’ association, which will be further explored during the follow-up national multi-stakeholder meeting in 2014.

The ICS programme staff of ARMI and SNV maintain close contact with relevant governmental bodies, such as the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Science and Technology via informal means as well as more formal face-to-face meetings.  The programme has prepared all papers and forms required to register the label for copyright protection, which is the first step in the formalization of the stove label.

Two new test labs were established in 2013, bringing the total number of operational labs to four: one at RENMI under MoST in Vientiane, one at DST in Savannakhet, one at the ICS office in Savannakhet and one at the ICS office in Champasak.  The first official stove testing lab under MoST, at DST in SVK, was opened on April 29 following an intensive period of training and securing of funding; and the lab under RENMI in Vientiane was opened on 21st of June 2013.

Over the past year, the programme has also incorporated the development of optimal stove dimensions for smaller designs, resulting in prototypes PTT4.1, PTT4.2, PTT5, which are currently undergoing testing.  A wood ICS is also under development and will be tested in the first quarter of 2014.

Lao Women’s Union (LWU) in Savannakhet and LWU in Champasak have signed cooperation agreements with ARMI to be involved with the ICS programme.  The programme is also liaising with the national LWU and the provincial LWU in Vientiane to secure their involvement in the programme.

In Savannakhet, the ICS team and LWU promoted the ICS at markets during public festivals in eight districts.  The retailers were involved in the promotional activities in order to build their capacity in selling ICS and recording sales details.  Cooking demonstrations by LWU proved to the audience the benefit of using ICS compared to traditional stoves.  During the demonstrations alone, 190 stoves were sold.

The ICS programme aims to enhance the supply chain of ICS through engaging with 150 retailers in five provinces.  Initially the focus will be on retailers in Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champasak, who will be approached, trained and equipped with promotional materials such as banners, stands and lottery vouchers.

Retailers have been mapped using Google Maps in Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champasak.  In total, 375 retailers have been identified and 90% of the stores are owned by women.  The ICS team facilitated discussions among producers and retailers on the issue of stove distribution and sales, in order to facilitate the dissemination of ICS.

In 2013 the ICS Programme organized a two-day technical workshop, facilitated by SNV, for all ICS staff.  A total of 16 staff from the three ICS units attended, including eight women.  The objective of the workshop was to familiarize staff with the details of the programme, including the budget and the seven ERs.  The workshop also provided the opportunity for participants to share ideas; and increase their understanding of ICS production methods, stove technology and various programmatic issues.  The workshop ultimately assisted ARMI ICS staff to provide meaningful capacity development services to various actors in the ICS value chain.

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This programme is funded by European Union