Sengdao Phonemany

Sengdao Phonemany

The Improved Cook Stove Programme in Lao PDR aims to contribute to poverty reduction through the production of sustainable and efficient Improved Cook Stoves (ICS). The distribution of the ICS contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The current phase of the programme commenced in February 2013 with a partnership between the Association for Rural Mobilization and Improvement (ARMI) and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation with support from The European Union, Oxfam, and The Blue Moon Fund.

The annual multi-stakeholder meeting this year was organized in Champassak province, at the Pakse Hotel on September 10th 2014. The purpose of the meeting is to showcase the achievements and the lessons learned over the 2013-2014 implementation period.

Delegates from the Ministry of Science and Technology, The Renewable Energy and New Materials Institute (RENMI), The Asian Development Bank (ADB), The Lao Women’s Union, representatives from the Department of Science and Technology as well as other members from civil society groups and cook stove producers from four target provinces attended.

The ARMI Champassak Team Leader Mr. Sithisak Didouangphet as well as other project partners presented the achievements of the ICS programme. As of July 2014, there are 21 stove producers and 202 retailers working with the programme. The programme has established partnerships with the Lao Women’s Union who have implemented promotional activities in four provinces. Three stove testing laboratories are functioning in three provinces under the RENMI and the Department of Science and Technology, who endorse the production of the ICS with the issuance of the ICS blue sticker to stoves that have passed quality standards set by the programme. To date,  the programme has produced 14,546 ICS and is on track to meet the target of 100,000 stoves by the end of 2016.

The main challenges of the ICS Programme are the supply shortage to the market and low levels of awareness of the ICS and its benefits in Champassak and Vientiane provinces. Mr. Amphone Souvannalath, Director of ARMI said, “There is a need for the program to scale up promotional activities so that customers nation-wide are aware, understand and are willing to use the new improved stove, which is durable, saves fuel and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.” Discussions held in the meeting seek to address these challenges to improve future implementation of the programme. 95 people attended, including 46 women.

Improved Cook Stoves Empower Disabled Women in Laos

Empowering women with disabilities by offering training in income generating activities is a common vision shared by the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre (LDWDC) and the European Union-funded Improved Cook Stove (ICS) programme. The new collaboration under ADB’s Gender and Climate Change project is developed to provide income opportunities for women, while at the same time opening up the market for improved stoves.

On 3rd September, 23 disabled women from LDWDC visited an ICS production workshop in Khokxay Village, Hadxayfong District, to observe the cook stove production process. A lack of reliable and skilled labourers is often a bottleneck for improved cook stove production, however the potential involvement of LDWDC may help address this issue. Mr. Siew, owner of the improved cook stove workshop, was very impressed by the strong spirit and willingness to learn shown by the women when making their first stoves.

Bastiaan Teune, head of the renewable energy sector of SNV Lao PDR commented: “We have made an important first step in what may become one of the largest improved cook stove centers in Laos. This initiative supports the participation of disabled women in a green economy, and for households the stoves save 25% of time and money. Moreover, it reduces pressure on the environment.” Since 2013, 15,000 improved cook stoves have been sold, which are recognizable by their distinct blue label.

This programme is funded by European Union