GERES in Myanmar has completed the first training of cookstoves producers, under the SCALE Project, funded through the SWITCH Asia Programme of the European Union. During the ten days of intense practical apprenticeship, ten men and six women were introduced to the importance of standardization of production and technical quality control.
GERES and its local partner, EverGreen Group, are leading the implementation of a national cookstove dissemination project in the country. Aiming to make 300 000 improved and standardized cookstoves available to satisfy increasing demand for locally appropriate and affordable cooking solutions, the project could avoid over 250 000 t eqCO2 from reduced use of fuel wood. Along with the target to train 30 producers and contribute to the creation of 200 new jobs, SCALE has stimulated policy discussions on the importance of biomass energy and household air pollution in Myanmar.
The training took place in a monastery, tucked right beside the picturesque village Hlaingdet, approximately 50 km from Meiktila in the heart of the Dry Zone, where sparse vegetation and the few remaining forests fight perpetual droughts. Mr. Chen Cheth and Sann Saly, technical advisors from GERES Cambodia, led the training which focused on the practical challenges of using innovative production technologies to achieve high level of efficiency and standardization. Trainees were introduced for the first time to durable moulds that can significantly reduce production time and allow more cookstoves to be manufactured. The hands-on approach to the apprenticeship benefits from GERES’ extensive expertise in Cambodia, where over 3 million standardized cookstoves have been already sold.
During the opening ceremony, U Thant Zin from the Dry Zone Greening Department reiterated the commitment of Myanmar government to support the dissemination of standardized cookstoves to reduce pressure on the few remaining forests in the area, while producers expressed their desire to sell more of their products. GERES recognizes the importance of the market-based approach, which forms the core of SCALE.
Following the training, GERES will provide each producer with specific moulds and recommendations for using the optimum clay mix, based on the available resources in the area. Quality assurance and control teams will monitor production for an extended period of time to ensure manufacturing is abiding by the detailed standards developed in partnership with Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. The process has been lengthy, as no governmental or individual agent was previously tasked with the preservation of technical standards for cookstoves. GERES is leading the development of Generic National and Specific standards that will ensure the availability of clear production guidelines for producers and efficiency rates for consumers.
Supporting Myanmar SMEs to increase the supply of standardized and affordable cookstoves, GERES continues its mission to nurture sustainable solutions to local cooking practices in Southeast Asia. A mission that saves trees, helps women cook in healthier environment and champions local businesses.
Georgi DZHRATOV (SCALE Project Manager)