GERES Myanmar is supporting the production and distribution of two Improved Cookstoves (ICS) models in Myanmar, which can be identified thanks to a brand new quality label: San Pya.
In Myanmar, woodfuels (firewood and charcoal) represent more than 80% of the energy used for cooking, while at the same time forest degradation has become a major issue with an annual deforestation rate of 2%. Reducing woodfuel consumption is fundamental to preserve Myanmar’s forests.
Besides, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3 million people in the world die prematurely each year because of cooking on open fire or traditional stoves.
In this context, GERES launched the SCALE project in Myanmar aiming to support the production and dissemination of locally-produced and standardized ICS to improve the health and livelihoods of vulnerable populations, while preserving their natural resources.
Since the beginning of the project in 2014, GERES has trained around 50 producers in standardized ICS production and in quality control process. GERES also put in place a quality control monitoring system to make sure that the cookstoves sold in the market comply with quality standards.
Environmental, health and socio-economic impacts
One of the ICS main benefits is to reduce the use of woodfuel. For instance, the new San Pya firewood A1 stove developed by the project allows to save 40% of firewood in average as compared to traditional 3-stone open fires. Likewise, San Pya charcoal Pathein stove is saving around 35% of charcoal as compared to traditional Pathein charcoal stoves. Such improvements generate important economic savings on fuel expenses for the users and reduce the pressure on forest resources.
Using ICS is also a matter of public health as they release less smoke and hazardous emissions than traditional stoves and open fires, and therefore allow to limit indoor air pollution and users’ exposure.
In addition to environmental and health benefits, using ICS improves the daily life of Myanmar women who are usually in charge of cooking for the family.
Daw Thein Htar, from Pha Lan Kyin village near Meikhtila, received a San Pya firewood A1 stove during one of GERES promotion events. After a few months using the stove, she could notice a huge improvement of her daily life:
I got a lot of advantages from using this ICS. The most significant fact is that I use less fuel: with the previous stove, I needed to use six fuelwood carts, but with this current stove, only four fuelwood carts.
She also highlights the fact that the stove allows her save time as she is cooking faster. This time saving is precious for her as she has busy days taking care of her children and parents, and working as a teacher.
Another important benefit is the prevention from fire hazards. Fire accidents are frequent with traditional stoves and can have devastating consequences for people living in traditional wooden houses. Daw Thein Htar relates what happened a few months ago in her village:
My neighbor is using three-stone fire. One day, she kept the stove in fire by letting boiling water and she went outside for harvesting the chili in her farm. Her house started to burn. Now I am trying to convince my village to stop using those stoves.
Promoting the use of ICS
GERES organizes communication and promotion activities in the Dry Zone villages as well as in city markets across the country, in order to raise awareness among Myanmar people on the socio-economic, environmental and health benefits of ICS. In the meantime, a TV and radio campaign started in February, and a Facebook page dedicated to San Pya stoves has been developed and is currently facilitated by GERES.
San Pya label: the proof of quality
Eventually, GERES makes sure that end-users have access to accurate and reliable information about stoves quality and efficiency. The San Pya visual identity is meant to allow end-users to easily identify San Pya cookstoves in the market. The quality label ensures that the stoves have passed quality control and highlights the four main benefits of ICS: saving fuel, cooking faster, durability and making the household safer.
More about GERES and the project
GERES (Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity) is an international NGO working in more than 20 countries to provide sustainable and energy-efficient solutions for a dual purpose: improve the livelihoods of vulnerable populations while preserving their natural resources.
In Myanmar, GERES implements the SCALE project (Strengthening improved Cookstove Access towards a better quality of Life and Environment), jointly funded by the SWITCH Asia Programme of the European Union, the French Agency for Development (AFD) and several private Foundations: RAJA – Danièle Marcovici, Lord Michelham of Hellingly and Prince Albert II. The project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MoNREC), the Forest Research Institute (FRI) and the Dry Zone Greening Department (DZGD). FRI has longstanding experience conducting research and testing efficient cookstoves, and has developed and distributed traditional firewood A1 stove model since 1992.
This article is a press release sent to Myanmar newspapers and journals in English and Myanmar language to announce the media campaign.