Over two days, StovePlus and GIZ gathered key actors in the cookstove sector for a regional workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Key actors included SNV, GIZ, Envirofit India, GERES Cambodia, ARECOP/ Yayasan Dian Desa, Ever Green Group, Liter of Light and Integrated Development Association (IDEA) Sri Lanka. The aim was to present and discuss the preliminary findings of the study and to share amongst each other some experiences and lessons learned from the field. The study "Building Business Cases to Reach Scale: A Study on Biomass Cookstove Business Models in Asia and Africa”specifically looks into financing and investment flows along different improved cookstove value-chains.

The first day was dedicated to presenting the case study findings for the 3 models analyzed in Asia; EnviroFit India, Chula Stove GIZ Bangladesh and New Lao Stove GERES Cambodia. After the presentations on different ICS programs in the region, participants put their heads together to provide additional input on the study, highlight issues on the topic and find solutions that could be implemented.

Identifying strengths and weaknesses of the regional ICS sector was an important exercise with many touching upon similar issues; limited access to funds, difficulties involving local and regional decision makers and trying to understand the drivers of scalable and sustainable cookstove initiatives/ businesses. There were however many strengths identified for the sector; donors and decision makers are becoming more aware about the negative impacts associated with inefficient cooking and the benefits of improved cookstove technologies – not to mention that biomass is still a readily available and affordable resource in the region. The more efficient use of biomass will allow users to save time and money and to decrease health risks for their population. It’s important to highlight that access to renewable energies help some of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved.

On the second day, experts were invited to visit GERES Cambodia’s stove production sites in Kampong Chhnang province, an area located about 100 km north of the capital and well-known for its skilled clay potters. After crossing rice fields and villages, the group arrived at their destination; the GERES training center. There, you can find materials and machines used to train local partners and entrepreneurs which is also at the disposal of those who cannot afford to pay. The group was led by Mr. Iwan Baskoro, StovePlus’ Lead Technical Advisor, who explained the entire manufacturing process from raw materials to the end product.

On the field, the small group was welcomed with a big smile. In the production unit, every worker has a particular task; molding, cutting, finishing works – men and women are actively working. Hundreds of stoves are drying, some others are baking. To finish the visit, a woman shows a demonstration and burn biomass in the stove.

At the end of the day, the group went back to Phnom Penh.

We are thankful to all our workshop participants in Asia !