Cooking in Lao

Finalizing the pilot phase.

In Northern Lao PDR nearly 100% of the rural population and 90% of the urban population rely on wood fuel for cooking. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), household air pollution kills 4.3 million people annually. The main issue is that burning wood or charcoal on inefficient cooking appliances leads to a series of negative impacts on natural and human systems. To switch to cleaner devices help to save lives, to improve livelihoods and to decrease negative impacts on the environment. The Clean Stove Initiative (CSI) in Lao PDR is a shared initiative by the World Bank and the Government of Lao PDR.
Phase-1 consisted in stocktaking review and development of a country specific intervention strategy.
Phase-2, which started in May 2013 focused on implementing the intervention strategy, focusing on capacity building and enhancing the enabling environment in the country, and preparation for scaling-up the promotion of clean cookstoves in Lao PDR. Technical support of Phase-2 implementation has been contracted to StovePlus, a program by GERES, in partnership with the Lao Institute of Renewable Energy (LIRE).

Under this intervention, StovePlus  provided the following services:

-  A baseline study concerning stove production and utilization. The study took samples of communities in Northern Lao provinces (Oudomxai, Luang Prabang and Xiengkhouang). It also covered market research to gather information about stove users’ segmentation and preferences.

-  Research and development, to introduce a cookstove model that performs better than traditional stoves, applicable for local production & distribution, affordable and acceptable by the users. A testing laboratory has been developed within LIRE premises to support this service. To date, 2 local producers have been trained to manufacture a cookstove cleaner than the traditional one. 200 samples have been produced, among which 50 have been distributed as sample to local populations, in order to test their acceptance. The 50 families who tried this stove reported that they are satisfied with its performance, in terms of fuel and time saving, as well as compliance with local cooking practices.

-  StovePlus  also supported the appointed governmental CSI Taskforce in drafting a proposition of national standard for cookstoves. This document provides guidelines of acceptable cookstove performance in the Lao PDR and suggests a simple labelling scheme.

The support provided by StovePlus largely built upon the long experience of GERES in Cambodia. StovePlus  is currently supporting clean and efficient cookstove initiatives in Indonesia, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Mali.

We expect that these promising results will lead to a renewed commitment from the involved parties in further developing a sustainable clean and efficient cookstove market in Lao PDR in a foreseeable future.