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More than half the people harvesting wood are women and they stress that they would need “fuel efficient stoves because they would then be able to reduce time spent on cooking or collecting fuel”.

The WHO’s Global Burden of Disease assessment highlights that collecting wood is a harassing task. “They spend more than 217 hours a year on this activity” (Mercy Corps-Myanmar, 2012).


Between 1988 and 1997, average costs increased by 8 and by 4 between 1994 and 2004. This rise leads to “indiscriminate cutting of trees for fuelwood in forest areas adjacent to villages and towns” As noted in the ENERGIA’s report.


In addition to harvesting tasks, the Global Burden of Disease assessment indicates that HAP is the third risk factor of the most important causes of the disease burden in Myanmar. Women from 15 years old to 49 are the most affected. Women live 10 years less than men in the country and EMC highlights 3 main causes: high maternity mortality rates, lacking health system and infrastructure, inadequate disease control.

As seen in ENERGIA’s research, it appears that women are not aware of HAP risks and men seem to be more conscious of the risk.


Men and women produce stoves and some tasks are more gender oriented than others. Procurement of raw materials and the firing process are done both by women and men when they work in producers group while all the others tasks are processed by women only. In family businesses, men are in charge of these two particular steps among others.

Some respondents commented about the firing process during ENERGIA’s survey:

“Women stove producers said that initially they found stove firing a challenge without the help of men, but later they have learned to cope. In one location it was observed that women fire stoves alongside other pottery ware so that each batch for firing was of a higher capacity with more people around the kiln at the time of firing.”

It’s important to keep in mind supplementary tasks, cooking, collecting wood, work house that are most of the time women activities.


Myanmar people spend about 70% of their income for buying food which is composed mainly of “rice, maize, millet, potatoes, yam, meat, fish, rice, dried meat, chicken, dried fish, pineapple, mango, green pawpaw, durian and chili.” (EMC)

EMC notes that many influences from India, China and Thailand can be found in the Myanmar food, and of course the way of cooking has an impact on the stove design (for e.g. if they need a great power or not, the stove width, etc.)


When it comes to the decision to buy a stove, women are the deciders of which stoves to purchase. However, in remote areas, men go into town and women usually stay at home or in the village. Men are concerned about the stove when they will have to purchase it. This is key for understanding who has to be reached for the marketing strategy.


For now in the 7 regions targeted by the project, in peri-urban areas about 46% use a charcoal stove, 35% an electric stove. In rural areas, 50% use a 3 stone and 17% a charcoal stove. (EMC)

Having said that, we should mention that households are used to owning 2 or more stoves and especially in peri-urban areas (35%).

But depending on the region, some of them report (23% in rural Ayeyawaddy) that they prefer the 3 stone fire and 33% in Magway the A1 stove.

Do you cook with cookstoves?

Yes, but not only! 95% of the respondents answered that they use it for boiling water and 18% for warmth, some use it for animal feeding, and a few for lighting.

Health, environment, value chain, more topics are covered by these studies and we invite you to read them if you want to get a comprehensive picture of the cooking energy sector in Myanmar:

- The Myanmar Cookstove Market Assessment by Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC)

- A complimentary gender assessment carried out by ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA)

*Who is Professor Aung Kyin?

Pr. Aung Kyin is a forest engineer who graduated from Germany. After years working at the Forest Research Institute, he focused on Improved Cookstoves and supports the move forward in the energy access sector. He is recognized as a “lead expert” in the environmental sector in Myanmar.

SCALE - Strengthening improved cookstove access towards a better quality of life and environment

This project is funded by the European Union

ENERGIA is an international network on gender and sustainable energy, and is assisting in mainstreaming gender in the SCALE programme.

Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC) supports major multinationals in understanding local markets and developing market entry strategies, as well as local businesses looking to expand.

© StovePlus, a program by GERES
This project is funded by the European Union, by the FFEM, the Fondation RAJA and the Fondation Lord Michelham of Hellingly