Start of DEP III
In 2007 STT undertook an appraisal study that collected quantitative and qualitative data to provide information on the urban context and the energy situation and assess the need, demand, affordability and feasibility of undertaking an urban domestic (household) energy intervention in Dodoma which would deliver wonder-baskets (also known as heat retention cookers [HRC]) to poor urban households. The findings from this appraisal informed the pilot phase which is currently being undertaken. The aim is, on completion of the pilot, to implement a Wonder Basket project.
The appraisal research team consisted of staff from STT working in partnership with the Dodoma Municipl Council (DMC). The appraisal adopted a participatory, and gender sensitive approach. It used a suite of participatory rapid appraisal tools. Local leaders and residents were very supportive of the work.
The first part of the work was undertaken in five urban and peri-urban wards in Dodoma. The second part consisted of in-depth research between July and October 2007 in Chamwino ward. This ward is the largest and poorest of the five wards. It has the largest squatter settlement and has a high level of charcoal consumption. It also contains an established group who are making and delivering wonder-baskets and some local leaders are already familiar with wonder-baskets.
The primary means of domestic, and sometimes commercial, cooking in urban Dodoma are charcoal stoves and traditional three stone fires. As a result, charcoal and firewood are the predominant types of cooking fuel. Other fuels used include electricity, kerosene and bio-gas. All fuels have advantages and disadvantages to their use. The types of cooking are boiling, grilling and frying. An extensive variety of imported food stuffs are more readily available in urban than rural areas. Households often cook 2 or 3 times a day depending on the household income. Women are the main cooks in households in urban areas with men involved in more productive activities outside the house. Children (girls and boys) are often involved as helpers, while young women are often employed as house girls by better off households. Women are also the main collectors of firewood in those wards in which firewood is freely collected.
Women are the decision makers regarding household needs such as energy sources or new technologies. However, men retain power and control over actual purchases with money often coming from the male head of the household. New purchases have to be made through the male head. In urban areas fuel is mainly bought with cash (although in peri-urban and squatter areas it is not uncommon for residents to gather firewood freely from nearby forest areas). Electricity was regularly noted by participants as the most expensive energy source to use for cooking, while charcoal was 2nd, kerosene 3rd and firewood last. Monthly household incomes are quite low in Dodoma. Of the five wards examined incomes range from Tsh5,000,000 per month (self employed business people) to Tsh10,000 for the very poorest of households. Chamwino ward is a prime example of this extreme. A number of low income residents interviewed in Chamwino ward noted that they spend most of their monthly income on energy purchases, particularly charcoal.
The appraisal uncovered a number of changes that have taken place in Dodoma in recent years which have positively or negatively impacted on the cooking process and energy used: increased cost of living; population increases; drier urban environment; expansion of urban settlements; new charcoal legislation; privatization of electricity; tree planting; and the encouragement and availability of improved technologies were all reported. Although GoT has undertaken a number of initiatives to address domestic energy problems it was still noted by local informants that there is a need for reduced electricity tariffs and improved and appropriate forms of cooking technologies to reduce household energy bills and reduce the dependence on unsustainable biomass (firewood and charcoal) as the predominant fuel for cooking.
It was noted that a number of new technologies are not available to many residents because: they are unaffordable; those living in rented accommodation are prevented by landlords from building an energy efficient mud stove or using electricity; of lack of information about the new technologies; they are not available in the area; and many still prefer a burnt taste and smell to food which is associated with cooking on a three stone fire and are therefore sometimes reluctant to use alternative technologies. A number of suggestions were made for how to overcome these barriers.
The study found that there is a strong interest, in Chamwino ward, in the wonder-basket. Once the concept of the wonder-basket was explained and demonstrations of it’s use given to local informants, they were quick to comment that such a technology was urgently needed by urban residents; both as a means of fuel and financial savings but also as a means of encouraging environmental conservation and regeneration through reduced biomass consumption. The study found up to 10,000 Tsh was regarded as affordable as a lump sum payment even by low income groups.
Production of wonder-baskets will result in a range of income generating activities (IGAs) for basket producers, insulation material suppliers, to end product manufacturers. The study identified a group – the Nianjema group – who are manufacturing wonder baskets in Chamwino. Wonder-basket production is just one component of various other activities they are engaged in. The study identifies and explores the elements involved in producing the baskets. These include the container (a grass basket); insulation material of various types; a plastic bag; and plastic and material liners. In addition there is the cost of the equipment needed to make and transport thebaskets and materials and the cost of premises and labour.
Despite the potential for production and a potentially large market base, production by the Nianjema group is low. The group identified a number of reasons for this: low capital; poor promotion and marketing; insufficient equipment and manpower; insufficient transportation; no awareness raising or sensitization strategy; and fluctuating prices of inputs.
The report suggests ways of overcoming these problems and recommends ways of introducing and managing a STT intervention which is sees as needed and affordable in Dodoma Urban District.
The pilot was completed in 2009. For further information on the findings please contact STT on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start of DEP III
Thanks to a grant of £20,000 from the Isle of Man Development Fund and other smaller grants from the Kitchen Table Trust, Alexi Marmot Associates, Bill Bordass Associates, the Just Trust and the generous sponsorship of Matt Easter’s sister’s wedding and Charlotte’s running of the marathon - we have launched the third phase of the Domestic Energy Programme (DEP III).
During this phase STT will work in 10-12 villages and help community stove builders, community workers and schools to deliver between 3,500-4000 energy efficient rocket stoves; establish about 20 nurseries and plant around 100,000 mychorizza inoculated tree seeds.
The launch in November 2007, held at Membe, after a week of rain was blessed with blue skies and sunshine. Lesley, Sheilah and Justin were up at the crack of dawn to get things started in Membe – nearly a 2 hour drive, on rutted and muddy roads, from Dodoma. By the time Victoria and Anna arrived with their crew of beleaguered government officials the scene was set. The bright yellow STT banner was flying surrounded by hundreds of balloons. The 20 Membe stove builders, dressed in their bright yellow shirts rushed about carrying, organizing, preparing food, and greeting the esteemed guests – chief of whom were Mrs Orota, Senior Regional Technical Officer, representing the Regional Administrative Secretary and Mrs Pasinipanofu, representative of the Director of Chamwino District, as well as various other District, Divisonal, Ward and Village leaders.
Sadly, the audience was missing. The launch was all dressed up with nowhere to go….. until the dancers started. The Membe dance group clad in animal furs, bells, drums and whistles made sure that the party got started. Like a small miracle people emerged from nowhere and settled in the shade of the trees around the school.
The Village Executive Officer and Chairman started proceedings. After the introductions were completed the dance group entertained everyone again until it was Sheila’s turn to speak. Justin acted as translator and her speech went down well. All the speeches by the honoured guest (which were begun with the obligatory ‘Membe Hoy!’ and raised fists) were inspirational and informed. The dance group followed with songs relating to the stoves, the environment and the stove builders in Membe which helped to really hammer the message home. The dancing and singing was superb and inspirational. Throughout the proceedings a group of yellow-shirted experts were building a stove.
After the speeches everyone moved to the house of Filimoni (STT’s stove monitor in Membe) and proud owner of the first stove built in Membe to see a stove in action. Many questions were asked and answered enthusiastically by the builders. During the course of the day government officials from Chamwino village were so enthused by the stoves that they asked STT to work next in their village.
The day finished with a meal during which Sheilah confirmed that the next village that STT would work in would be Chamwino to much applause and finished with the obligatory ‘Chamwino Hoy!’
A truly memorial day which augers well for DEP III.