VERC ICS Projects
In Bangladesh, people rely on biomass for cooking. As a consequence, indoor air pollution (IAP) and damaging environmental impacts resulting from burning wood and charcoal combustion of biomass fuel in inefficient cook stoves is widespread. Women and young children involved in cooking are the first victims of this type of air pollution. According to UNICEF, indoor air pollution kills an estimated two million women and children worldwide every year. In Bangladesh, acute respiratory infections are one of the leading causes of deaths in young children. In order to address the health, energy and environmental problems related to household cooking practices, Bangladeshi people need to become aware of IAP risks and change the way they cook. That is why, since the 1980’s, the government of Bangladesh has worked to develop fuel efficient cookstoves, which have been disseminated across the country by VERC. From its testing, VERC has found that theses Improved Cookstoves (ICS) are 29-50% more fuel efficient than traditional cookstoves. This results in money savings to the user, a cleaner kitchen environment, and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The objectives of VERC ICS program are given below:
- Reduce cookstove user’s health hazards
- Protect the environment by reducing CO2 emissions
- Reduce families fuel expenses
- Mobilize the community
- Develop and apply behavioural change communication to ensure adaptation of improved behaviours protect national forest
Short description of ICS program
VERC has been working on ICS program since 1987. It formed a national network named “Improved Cookstoves Program in Bangladesh” in the year of 2000 with the support of ARECOP-Indonesia. The Network involves 93 NGOs working across 28 districts in the country and has a 17-member Executive Committee led by VERC. The focus of the Network is to build up capacity of the Network Organizations as well as community people and popularize ICS through different meetings, seminar, training, workshop, film show etc. IEC materials such as posters, leaflets, magazines and video films are developed and distributed among the stakeholders. The Executive Committee meets twice in a year to share the progress and develop the work plan to carry out the Network activities. Ongoing action research on improved cookstove and health is also the regular activities of Network. Seed money or small initiative fund is awarded to support the extension of ICS activities in new areas and to encourage innovation of sustainable approach. Through the network, approximately 42000 improved cookstoves installed, 20 demonstration canters have been established, and 864 staff and community people have been oriented on ICS technologies.
VERC is recently implementing a project entitled “Development of an Improved Cookstoves Project to Secure carbon Finance for its long term Sustainability” since June 2008. The project is covering five sub-districts in Rajshahi division, three sub-district in Ranjpur division and one sub-district under Dhaka division of Bangladesh. The project is running by experienced and capable staff of VERC. Potential and interested peoples have been identified and developed as entrepreneurs by providing technical and credit support. Necessary promotional materials have been developed which are being used for marketing purpose.
The following table shows the number stoves have been installed so far under the project:
Saidpur and Rongpur
Type of stoves with cost
VERC is promoting seven types of ICS which were being developed by the Government of Bangladesh. The detailed information including cost are being attached as an annexure-I. However, the model 3, 4 & 6 are very popular for domestic use purpose and mode is popular for industrial use purposes.
a. Situation analysis and ICS inventory
In order to understand household fuel use and cooking practices, smoke emission and its potential impact on health, economy and environment VERC carries out a participatory baseline study in the project areas and the overall purpose of the study for assessing the various types of stove and fuel use, cooking practices and impact of smoke.
b. Staff capacity building
Capacity build of project staff and community catalysts is very important to facilitate related activities of the project especially for the demand creation and social marketing. Need of Capacity building is also important to install, maintenance and repairing of ICS quality control. The following capacity building related activities have been undertaken during the reporting period:
- Training on ICS Technology development for staff and stove builders
- Training on Entrepreneurship Development
- Training on Stove performance Testing
c. Social marketing and behaviour change communication
To popularize improved cookstoves among communities, we use different marketing tools such as flip chart, poster, billboard, demonstration center, motivational film, school session or exhibition. Marketing officers from VERC staff and community catalyst will be in charge of this promotional activity. To promote best practice and change people’s way of cooking, we develop behavior change communication techniques focused on IAP risks.
d. Entrepreneurship Development:
Entrepreneur is the key actor for the sustainability of the VERC ICS program. Need based training support as well as credit support have been provided to local entrepreneurs and stove builders.
Monitoring and quality control
An ongoing monitoring and evaluation carry out by the VERC to ensure the sustainability of our ICS project. The monitoring will be conducted in the following ways:
- Participatory Monitoring at community level: The Community People monitor the community ICS activities regularly, by using participatory monitoring tools and the whole process facilitate by VERC staff.
- Area level Monitoring: The Program Manager and Program Organizers (Technologist & Marketing) regularly monitor the Union level field activities; at least one time per month, s/he will have to visit all Unions under total working area and submit the monthly monitoring report to the HQ.
- Monitoring from HQ: Head quarter team coordinate and monitor regularly field activities. HQ team also visit the project areas for ensuring quality. For quality controls, we will organize dimensions tests (to check the all dimensions of ICS according to standard), water boiling and control cooking test (to measure the ICS efficiency).
Our target is to disseminate 114,000 ICS in 13 districts by 2015 for 592,800 peoples. A brochure for the expansion of VERC ICS program has been developed which is being attached as an annexure-2.
Staff involved with ICS program
There are about 40 staff have been involved with the ICS program of VERC. 9 staffs have received advanced training on ICS technology from abroad. Besides more than 125 stove builders have been developed at the field level by VERC who are active in the field.
1. User’s Freedom for selecting the ICS Model:
There are seven models of ICSs are selected for the project. The users should be briefed about the advantage and disadvantage of these models and finally they will select their own suitable model for use.
2. Identifying and counting the correct number of ICS in the project area:
A special seal/trade mark may be used for all the installed ICS in the user’s premises. A list of ICS installed have been made by mentioning name and address of users, date of installation and operation of ICS, name of the field workers who construct the ICS etc. The list jointly signed by the field workers, users, program cum monitoring officer, partner members of the ICS Network of VERC and finally by the project Manager. These lists are very important for both the implementer and donor/buyer of the project.
3. Trouble Shootings of ICS:
The main aim of the project is to keep all ICS installed in operational in the project areas.
After installation of ICS, users should be taught how to maintain, repair and operation of ICS. The users will also provide with list of names of technicians/field workers and address of a entrepreneur in a case of emergency they can consult with them or if necessary buy some accessories ICS in reasonable process. If for some reasons or others some ICS do not function in the project area, it will create problem in calculating total emission of CO2 in the intervention areas.
4. Discounting of the use of ICS in the project area:
The users list of ICS should be carefully made so that the during the program of the project period none of the users should not discontinue the use of ICS on any reasons.
5. ICS for hardcore poor:
The cheaper model of ICS should be built in their premises. But they need a grade which cost around 01 dollar. Therefore, some provision can be made in the project providing some soft loan to hardcore poor people.
6. Some cultural problems:
The field workers and other project personnel will frequently visit the ICS users premises for monitoring and evaluation, trouble shooting etc. But due to some socio-cultural problems, the outsiders are not allowed to visit the ICS users kitchen.
This problem can be solved by engaging women field worker and offering some gifts to the users of ICS.
7. Development of entrepreneurships for manufacturing ICS accessories:
Some arrangement should be made, may be by providing soft loan to involve some interested people to install soma small factories in the project areas for production ICS accessories i.e. chimney, cap, grade etc.
Long Term Impact
- Reduce the health hazard of women and child from the indoor air pollution
- The country will reduce a huge number of fuel, hence it protects the deforestation
- This project will able to pursue further ecological, health and socio-economic benefits associate technologies, from the high ranges of Himalayas and Asian metro-cities to the climate change-threatened low-lying island in the pacific.