With the recent launch of initiatives on clean cooking and household fuels, the World Bank is stepping up its engagement in the household energy sector. To support these efforts, ESMAP held a training session at the World Bank on March 1, as part of the Sustainable Development Network (SDN) Forum held on February 21 through March 1, 2012. The session reviewed lessons learned from World Bank household energy initiatives, and looked at successful approaches in a number of countries in Asia, including China, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Jie Tang of the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific energy unit pointed out that successful cook stove interventions typically have three things in common: institutional support and an enabling policy environment; a steady supply of clean and efficient stoves; and strong demand for improved stoves. He pointed out that creating a thriving market for such stoves often involves developing innovative supply platforms incorporating manufacturing, distribution, sales and post-sale service.
Koffi Ekouevi of the World Bank’s Sustainable Energy Department summed up some of the main lessons learned from years of the Bank’s work in the cook stove arena: the needs and preferences of stove users should be given priority; public awareness campaigns are required to create demand; and both market-based approaches and public support are critical for success. He pointed out that household energy interventions bring together many disciplines, and it is sometimes hard to bring experts together in the context of projects with limited scope and budget.
Bringing in the field practitioner’s perspective, Anowar Hossain Mollah (pictured), project coordinator for Bangladesh’s Village Education Source Center (VERC), said his organization had successfully scaled up the use of improved cook stoves through both supply and demand interventions. VERC helped to train local manufacturers and distributors, promoted the benefits of clean stoves through social marketing campaigns, and spread the word about the dangers of traditional cooking methods through behavior change communication.
All participants agreed that creating demand was key to the success of clean cooking and household fuel initiatives. Mollah argued that at the field level, successful marketing eventually requires a house-to-house approach, but also noted that working with local leaders could be effective. When a local official starts using an improved stove, “others will think—he’s a respected figure—why don’t we buy one,?” he said.
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