11 January 2012

Tanzania: UNDP Supports Fuel Saving Stoves

Photo: Celeste Hicks/IRIN
File photo: Woman in a refugee camp in Chad with solar cooker.

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Dar es Salaam office in collaboration with relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and that of Natural Resources and Tourism (Forest and Beekeeping Division) have made efforts to introduce improved biomass stoves in Kilimanjaro and Mwanza regions.

Working close with the Prime Minister's Office, Vice-President's Office, Regional Secretariats and Local Government Authorities in Mwanza and Kilimanjaro regions, the ministries conducted participatory in-depth socio-economic studies to determine the underlying causes of household energy scarcity to the majority of the population in the two regions. The aim was to explore the existing opportunities for solving the problem of energy through participatory community efforts.

The results have shown that lack of effective enabling policy support and low community knowledge of existing technologies for efficient energy technologies were hindering factors. "Based on the socio-economic results, UNDP facilitated development of enabling policy environment for supporting provision of efficient energy sources to the majority of the rural communities," says the UNDP energy expert Mr Bariki Kaale.

At national and regional levels, says Kaale, Rural Energy Working Groups consisting of representatives from Government ministries, High learning institutions, Research institutions, NGOs and the mass media were formed. Energy being a cross-cutting field, participatory training sessions on the roles of reliable energy supply for attaining sector development plans was conducted.

According to Kaale, main results from the trainings that involved over 700 participants from national, regional and district levels resolved that there was a need to mainstream energy and environmental conservation in sector development plans and strategies and to disseminate energy efficient technologies for meeting energy needs for household cooking, in particular introduction of improved biomass fuels.

Construction of improved firewood stoves with energy efficiency of 20-25 per cent to replace the traditional three stone stoves with energy efficiency of 7-10 per cent could intensify availability of clean and sustainable energy services to the majority of the poor with positive contribution to climate change.

Participants on their own developed a strong enabling policy for supporting the proposed programme to intensify provision of clean and affordable energy services to the community.

The UNDP office provided catalytic technical role of enhancing the enabling policy on rural energy by demonstrating the best existing energy technologies, that can be easily adopted by the poor rural communities in obtaining clean and affordable energy sources mainly construction and use of improved biomass stoves. Kaale says that policy makers have proposed to initiate the programme on a small scale and expand progressively, based on proven field results where tangible benefits of using energy efficient technologies could be seen on the ground.

Three districts, namely Kwimba and Ukerewe in Mwanza Region and Moshi Rural in Kilimanjaro Region were selected for demonstration. Representative members of the Rural Energy Working groups (REWG) and UNDP are providing catalytic technical support by facilitating sharing of experiences. To ensure the programme is based on bottom up approach and it is addressing development priorities identified by the local communities, says Kaale, participatory awareness raising campaigns on construction and use of improved biomass stoves and their contribution to community livelihood were conducted to 35 village communities by end of Nov 2011, namely in Moshi Rural (10 villages), Kwimba (15 villages) and Ukerewe District (10 village).

Mr Kaale says that the awareness campaigns were complimented by use of Cinema Vans with documentary films on successful construction and use of improved stoves in Tanzania and other African countries. A total of 54,000 villagers from the 35 villages participated in the awareness campaign using Cinema vans that also included HIV/AIDS and gender equity. "Participatory training on clean and affordable energy services were provided to a total of 600 Village Government representatives in the 15 villages. At community level, village governments are owners and drivers of the programme and Village Executive Officers (VEO) were nominated to be focal points," he said.

According to him, village governments later nominated 175 artisans (140 women and 35 men) that were trained on construction of improved biomass stoves within their village surroundings and by using locally available materials, namely clay soil and sand. The trainees later constructed trial stoves to individual households. He adds that progress and experiences gained were monitored through taking video shows which were later shown to village community using Cinema Vans to enable the community to see and evaluate attained progress in construction and use of improved biomass stoves in their village.

Within April to end of Nov 2011 the trained wood stove artisans in collaboration with individual households successfully constructed a total of 13,301 improved stoves (7,200 stoves in Kwimba, 5,001 in Moshi and 2,100 stoves in Ukerewe District). Based on customer (user) needs, an improved biomass stove must have the following qualities:-Durable - that will be influenced by quality of construction material used, easy to light with efficient fire chamber and smoke chimney (exhaust) and the ones that can reduce firewood consumption by at least 50% when compared with open three stove stone.

Such stoves should also cook fast, hence reducing cooking time. They should also be easy to use and in line with traditional cultural norms and easy to maintain and repair. The stoves should be cheap by utilising available local material and labour, providing opportunity for creating carbon financing and also reduce smoke in the kitchen also enhance safety of children. Women groups interviewed confirmed that the stoves have provided various tangible benefits contributing to rapid improvement of their livelihood. Some of the benefits stated include reduction of firewood collection and use.

With 3 stone stove the women reported that they used to collect at least two head loads of firewood (each weighing around 25-30 kg) and using around 8 hours per trip or 16 hours per week. Now they are collecting only one head load of firewood per week, hence saving almost 50% of firewood and around 8 hours. Due to the success attained, all the surrounding villages have requested technical assistance in construction of improved clay stoves which provides a good indicator for the sustainability of the programme. Family members participate in collection of construction material (clay and sand) and they also make stoves with technical assistance from artisans as part of institutional capacity building.

Construction of durable and efficient stove fire chamber is the main element requiring significant experience and skill. UNDP average direct costs for facilitating construction of an improved biomass stove is around US$ 5 mainly supporting the artisans as component of developing local institutional capacity. Districts are providing extension workers and transport facilities while household members are collecting construction raw material and participate in making stoves. Kaale says that successful use of the constructed 13,301 improved biomass stoves (6,651 household each with two stoves) will reduce firewood consumption from 39,906 m3 through using un-improved stove to 19,952 m3.

The monetary value for the wood saved per annum based on current firewood prices in Kwimba, Ukerewe and Moshi districts (TZS 200,000 per m3) is around TZS 2.5 billion or US$ 1,256,945. Reduction of 19,952 m3 of firewood from the pilot villages will also minimise firewood harvesting from woodlands that could result to conservation of over 998 ha of woodlands.

Tree growing efforts on agro-forestry and conservation of village woodlands are also encouraged to intensify future supply of woodfuel. the value of money saved for raising seedling to plant the 998 ha is around TZS 3.2 billion or US$ 1,596,120 at nominal cost of TZS 200 per tree seedling.

Women and children will also save around 2,766,608 hours for collecting firewood with estimated value of US$ 1,383,304 or TZS 2.8 billion at nominal cost of US dollar cents fifty per effective hour used for fetching firewood.

Use of un-improved biomass stove by the 6,652 households covered in the pilot villages is contributing around 159,612 tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2) per annum at the average of 4tCO2 per cubic meter of firewood.

Successful use of the constructed improved biomass stoves will reduce carbon dioxide emission to 79,806 tCO2. Assuming CER value of US$ 15 per tCO2. at least US$ 1,197,090 or TZS 2.4 billion could be earned per annum for a minimum period of seven years.

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