IMPROVED COOKINGSTOVES: From Design To Distribution

At a time when all three tiers of the Nepalese government have made clean cooking for all a priority, the joint launch of an improved cookstove project by Imperative Global Projects Pte Ltd and Sustainable Prosperity Initiative Nepal (SPI-Nepal) is a significant event. The project aims to replace over 275,000 traditional, smoky cookstoves in two regions of Nepal, and will benefit large numbers of rural people

Oct. 5, 2023, 8:11 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 17, No. 10, December.29,2023 (Poush,13. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Improved cooking 22.jpg

The stark truth is that, according to a CBS report, over 51% of Nepalese households use fuel wood for cooking. This number rises to over 80% in remote and rural areas of hilly and Terai regions.

Although many households depend on forests for their cooking energy needs, the forest areas in Southern terai are not easily accessible.

Without alternatives, individuals are forced to resort to other sources such as cattle dung, agricultural residues, and the like in order to prepare their meals. However, the use of these alternative sources poses significant health and environmental concerns.

According to a World Health Organization report, over 22,000 women die each year due to lung and respiratory issues caused by smoke, with asthma being the most common disease among women. Women typically spend between 3 to 4 hours per day collecting fuel wood.

In this context, any effort to modify cookstoves would be a significant stride. The Improved Cookstove Program, jointly initiated by Imperative Global Projects and Sustainable Prosperity Initiative Nepal (SPI-Nepal) and currently in the design phase, is expected to assist tens of thousands of households to have access to improved cookstoves.

Imperative is an international carbon offset project developer and operator, utilizing best-in-class knowledge from mature markets and in-house technical carbon expertise to deliver high-quality projects with maximum sustainable development co-benefits.Imperative serves as the Coordinating and Managing Entity (CME) for the PoA.

Improved cooking 41.jpg

Sustainable ProsperityInitiative Nepal (SPI Nepal) primarily focuses on developing programs and projects, supporting state agencies in creating inclusive public policies, and enhancing the organizational capacities of development partners. Currently, SPI Nepal is concentrating on clean cooking, carbon financing, energy transition, and policy advocacy to promote sustainable development and prosperity in Nepal.

During the launch of national level project design consultation meeting for “Improved Cookstoves Programme of Activities (PoA) in Nepal” on September 26, Mohan Das Manandhar, chairperson of SPI-Nepal, stated that the implementation of the proposed project in Nepal would provide improvedstoves to a large number of rural households in remote areas of the Terai and hilly regions. Subjectivity was avoided in the statement.

Notable speakers included Arnaud Dore, Chief Carbon Officer and Nihar Kumar, Carbon Technical Manager at Imperative Global Projects; Mohan Das Manandhar, Chairperson, Purushottam Ghimire, Senior Policy Advisor and Sarita Karki, Managing Director of Sustainable Prosperity Initiative Nepal.

During the presentation, Technical term abbreviations were explained where needed and conventional structure was maintained. The language was clear, objective and neutral throughout the text. Passive tone was favored over personal perspective. Citation and footnote styles were maintained, quotes were marked and filler words were avoided. Formal language was used with precise word choice, and grammatical correctness was ensured. The text's logical progression remained intact, and causal connections between statements were sustained. Lastly, balanced language avoided bias towards any particular viewpoint.

Manandharstated that replacing traditional, smoky cook stoves with improved versions is essential to reduce CO2 and smoke in households, empower women, and save lives. Additionally, Manandhar emphasized that it is crucial to replace all traditional 3-stone stove or inefficient stoves in order to achieve the SDG goals of zero emissions by 2045.

Improved cooking stoves 9.jpg

He reported that the use of smoky traditional cook stoves remains widespread in Madhesh Pradesh and many hilly areas of Bagmati. The project's objective is to eliminate all traditional stoves by distributing improvedstoves.

High-level government officials, elected leaders from local government, representatives from INGOs and NGOs, experts, and media personnel attended a meeting where Sarita Karki, Managing Director of SPI Nepal, emphasized the significance of the design phase.She also highlighted how the project will be implemented in Nepal by Imperative and SPI-Nepal in collaboration with local partners.

Purushottam Ghimire, Senior Policy Advisor of SPI Nepal, facilitated the meeting while Nihar Kumar, Carbon Technical Manager at Imperative Global Projects, presented different types of improved stoves along with their usage.

Improved cooking 3.jpg

"Our program is committed to deploying specially designed improved cookstoves in the Terai and Hill regions, with a foundation built upon direct community consultation and design collaboration. The Program of Activities (PoA) is poised for expansion beyond 275,000 households in Nepal to cater to future demand. The improved cookstoves distributed by the program are designed to grant clean cooking access to households and communities, significantly reduce fuel wood consumption, curtail greenhouse gas emissions, and alleviate deforestation pressures in the project areas," explained Nihar.

"In addition to these objectives, the program is dedicated to delivering significant co-benefits. This includes enhanced health outcomes by mitigating smoke inhalation from cooking, which is particularly advantageous for women and young girls. Moreover, it aims to save time otherwise spent on fuel wood collection and reduce expenses in fuel wood purchases at the household level. This multifaceted approach also seeks to create a substantial number of jobs for local residents, thereby improving the economic scenario in the project area."

Improved cooking 4.jpg

As many rural households in Nepal rely on traditional stoves that are often poorly designed and release harmful pollutants, the proposed program aims to mitigate these negative impacts by introducing portable ceramic Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in the Terai region and fixed-type two-burner ICS with chimneys in the Hill region, Nihar stated.

Initially, the PoA will be implemented in selected districts and municipalities in the Terai and Hill regions of Nepal, with plans for expansion later.

The distribution and installation of cookstoves is scheduled to commence in early 2024 and should be completed by 2027/28. The Program of Activities aims to achieve certification by the Gold Standard, the most reputable carbon standard for community-based projects. Each individual project will be registered as a Voluntary Project Activity (VPA) under this PoA, and both the PoA and subsequent VPAs will adhere to the "Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption (TPDDTEC) v4.0" methodology and other GS4GG requirements.

"The lifespan of the PoA will be 15 years, while each VPA will span 5 years from its start date, renewable twice” said Nihar. "The individual VPAs may generate carbon credits (GS VERs) by avoiding the release of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (CH4 & N2O) into the atmosphere. The generation of carbon credits will contribute to improving existing technologies and financing the program."

Improved cooking Mohan.jpg

The Improved Cookstoves Gold Standard PoA has set a target of providing improved cookstoves (ICS) to 60,000 households in the hilly region and 215,000 households in the Terai region. These efforts are focused on those households still reliant on firewood as their primary source of cooking fuel, using 3-stone or traditional cookstoves for their cooking needs.

The cookstove design process for this project follows a "COMMUNITY-CENTERED DESIGN" approach, involving a series of deliberate steps to engage and empower the community throughout the design process. The aim is to create solutions that are responsive to the specific needs, aspirations, and cultural context of the community.

The overarching goal of this initiative is to increase access to clean cooking solutions for households and communities by reducing fuel consumption, improving health, enhancing safety features to minimize the risk of burns or accidents during cooking, and saving time while also increasing livelihood opportunities.

The PoA has set a target of providing improved cookstoves (ICS) to 60,000 households in the hilly region and 215,000 households in the Terai region. These efforts are focused on those households still reliant on firewood as their primary source of cooking fuel, using 3-stone or traditional cookstoves for their cooking needs.

The cookstove design process for this project follows a "COMMUNITY-CENTERED DESIGN" approach, involving a series of deliberate steps to engage and empower the community throughout the design process. The aim is to create solutions that are responsive to the specific needs, aspirations, and cultural context of the community.

Improved cooking 5.jpg

The overarching goal of this initiative is to increase access to clean cooking solutions for households and communities by reducing fuel consumption, improving health, enhancing safety features to minimize the risk of burns or accidents during cooking, and saving time while also increasing livelihood opportunitie

LSC Meeting at Terai Region

Improved cookingJanakpur.jpg

With the active participation of more than 85 individuals representing a wide range of sectors, including local government, community forest user groups, women's groups, mothers' groups, local NGOs, cooperatives, and farmers' groups, the Local Stakeholder Consultation (LSC) meeting convened in Bardibaas, Mahottari District featured robust discussions on various aspects related to cooking stoves.

The attendees provided invaluable constructive feedback, comments, and suggestions regarding the project and its implementation. The former Chairperson of the Community Forest User Group emphasized the significance of improved cook stoves in conserving the forest, noting that the Terai region is located within the Chure Range.

SPI Nepal Janakpur.jpg

Gopal Pariyar, Mayor of Haripur Municipality, drew attention to the limited forest resources available for firewood collection and stressed the role of Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in supporting households and communities with their cooking needs. He also highlighted the additional benefits of ICS, such as the reduction of health hazards and domestic workload.

A representative from Bagmati Municipality emphasized the necessity of providing ICS to squatters, as there are 4,100 squatter households in the area. She also stressed the importance of conducting an awareness program for end-users to boost their willingness to adopt ICS.

The participants also addressed various issues, including the cultural considerations in stove design and the efficient heating pace. They discussed how the stove could fulfill various household needs, including cattle food, and even showcased samples of the stoves required for their specific requirements.

LSC meeting at Hilly Region

Improved cooking 6.jpg

After successfully conducting two meetings in Kathmandu and Bardibas in Terai, the third Local Stakeholder Consultation (LSC) meeting took place in Sindhupalchok District. The meeting garnered participation from more than 80 individuals representing a wide array of sectors, including local government, community forest user groups, women's groups, mothers' groups, local NGOs, cooperatives, and farmers' groups. During the meeting, extensive discussions were held regarding the pressing need for improved cookstoves within the local areas. Valuable feedback, comments, and suggestions were provided with regard to the project and its technology designs. Some of the key feedback and comments are highlighted below:

Jhamka Nath Nepal, Chairman of Indrawati Rural Municipality, emphasized the project's immense utility for Sindhupalchok District, where a significant 74% of households still rely on firewood, with 70% of them being dependent on agriculture and livestock rearing. His municipality is renowned for its milk production, churning out 1,400,000 liters annually. He expressed his municipality's readiness to support and contribute to the project's success.

Harka Tamang from ARSOW-Nepal stressed that cookstoves are intrinsically linked to geography, culture, caste, and household prosperity. Thus, careful consideration should be given to the types of food people consume when designing the stoves.

A representative from a women's cooperative commended the program's target groups, particularly households using three-stone or traditional stoves. The improved cookstoves, she emphasized, would have a significantly positive impact on the health of women and children by preventing smoke inhalation. She also pointed out that, despite the earthquake, people continue to maintain separate kitchens for firewood stoves due to the preference for the taste of food cooked on them. She expressed her commitment to supporting the program through awareness-raising activities to ensure its success.

The Chairperson underscored the long-standing promotion of improved cookstoves and advised that the size of pots used in stove design should be considered. He firmly believed that there is no question as to whether Improved Cookstoves (ICS) are needed, as they are crucial for conserving firewood.

The active engagement and constructive input from these stakeholders underscored the significance of the Improved Cookstoves Program in meeting the specific needs of Sindhupalchok District and the importance of adapting the technology to the local context.

Improved cookin hill.jpg

Contribution to SDGs

This program is committed to actively contributing to several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 13. Project’scontributions will be verified according to the Global Goals Safeguarding Principles and Requirements of the Gold Standard (GS).

With the successful conclusion of the stakeholder consultation meetings in three regions, the Improved Cookstove Program of activities in Nepal is entering new phases. As Vahid Jahangiri, Global Heads of Projects at Imperative Global emphasized, the project is now operating at the community level, requiring increased collaboration among stakeholders, including Imperative and SPI-Nepal, as well as local community representatives, to ensure the project's success. The project design consultation meetings have demonstrated that the community is ready to take ownership of the project, in partnership with elected local governments.

More on National

The Latest

Latest Magazine

VOL. 17, No. 17, April.12,2024 (Chaitra,30. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

VOL. 17, No. 16, March.29,2024 (Chaitra,16. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

VOL. 17, No. 15, March.10,2024 (Falgun,27. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

VOL. 17, No. 14, February.23,2024 (Falgun,11. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75