From December 2014 to December 2016, GERES conducted an AusAID-funded project aiming to introduce and promote Improved Cookstoves in Kampong Cham and Thbong Khmum provinces. The project supported the dissemination of 90,000 ICS in both regions and allowed to gather critical lessons learned for further dissemination of improved cookstoves in Cambodia.
The objective of this project was to address the prevailing barriers to ICS dissemination in Cambodia, notably among the poorest. Among the main barriers identified were the lack of consumer’s awareness, the lack of regulatory framework to support ICS dissemination, the lack of access to finance for producers to invest in new equipment, and the lack of business and technical support to artisans.
In order to tackle these challenges and to create a sustainable and business-oriented ICS supply chain, GERES provided technical and business trainings to local entrepreneurs (12 producers, 40 distributors and 61 retailers) and created a manufacturing and distribution network in order to coordinate the activities in both regions. The project also supported market demand by raising awareness of potential end-users through promotion campaigns, reaching over 400 community members. A major lesson learnt from the project was also the need to register the ICS under a regulation institution such as the Institute of Standard of Cambodia (ISC), and to set up and enforce a robust control system to allow customers to distinguish certified stoves from fake copies on the market.
This project stands as the latest stone of a GERES multi-year programme which allowed to disseminate more than 3.5 million ICS nationwide since 2003. Chen Cheth, ICS Project Manager, points out the multifaceted impact of ICS dissemination in Cambodia, from the creation of new jobs to the protection of the environment through the reduction of woodfuel consumption.
Among the numerous success stories of this programme was the one of this woman entrepreneur from Kampong Chhnang who started producing ICS 11 years ago with GERES’ technical support, and who now heads 4 production centers, employing 50 persons and delivering 6,000 cookstoves per month.
The next step of this multi-year programme will be the autonomization of the GERES-created Improved Cookstove Producers and Distributors Association of Cambodia (ICoProDAC) in order to strengthen the ICS supply chain and to allow local stakeholders to take over the sustainable development of the ICS market in Cambodia.