Fuel Efficient Stoves for Darfur camps of Internally Displaced Persons Report of Field trip to North and South Darfur, Nov. 16 - Dec.17, 2005

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Approximately 2.2 million internally displaced persons ("IDPs") in Darfur are living in dense camps scattered in arid areas with low fuelwood productivity. Unsustainable harvesting of fuelwood by the IDPs has created ever increasing zones of denudation, that now (in November 2005) have reached several kilometers from the camp boundaries. Leaving the safety of the camps to fetch fuelwood from farther and farther away imposes great risk and hardship on the IDP women.

Three different metal fuel efficient stove ("FES") designs were tested in Darfur IDP camps for their suitability to substantially reduce the fuelwood needs of IDPs. The mud-and-dung "ITDG" stoves being promoted under the current FES program were also examined and tested. A modified design of the ITDG mud-and-dung stove, "Avi," was developed, built and tested. Systematic informal surveys of IDP households were undertaken in North and South Darfur to understand the household parameters related to family size, food, fuel, cooking habits, cooking pots, expenditure on fuel, and preferences related to alternative ways to spend time/money if fuel could be saved.

Surveys found that a significant fraction of families are missing meals for lack of fuel (50% in South Darfur, and 90% in the North Darfur camps visited by the mission). About 60% of women in South Darfur, and about 90% of women in North Darfur camps purchase fuelwood. Selling some of the food rations to purchase fuel to cook meals was significant (40%) in South Darfur and has become common (80%) in North Darfur.

The LBNL mission found that two of the metal stoves and the mud-and-dung Avi can significantly reduce fuelwood consumption using the same fuel, pot, cooking methods, and food ingredients used by Darfur IDPs. The most suitable design for Darfur conditions would be a modified "Tara" stove. With training of the cooks in tending the fire, this stove can save 50% fuel for the IDPs. The stove costs less than $10 (US) to produce in Darfur, and saves fuelwood worth $160 annually at local market prices.

For programmatic and administrative reasons, the LBNL mission do not recommend a mud-and-dung stove, for which control of quality and dimensional accuracy is expensive and cumbersome to administer, particularly in a rapid large rollout effort. A light metal stove, on the other hand, can be rapidly produced in large numbers locally in Darfur, with good quality control exercised on the material and dimensions of the stoves right at the workshop where it is produced.

LBNL mission also recommends immediate trials of 50 Tara stoves in a pilot technical rollout, 500 Tara stoves in a pilot social rollout, in parallel with a technical effort to modify the Tara design to make it better suited for Darfur camp conditions. The mission also recommends a program for manufacturing, disseminating the metal stoves, and educating the IDPs in fuel-efficient cooking practices. Monitoring of the stove quality, dissemination effort and training should be an integral part of the program, with systematic summaries planned with 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 stoves have been disseminated. In the above pilot rollouts as well as in the final implementation, it is important to continue to pay attention to training of the cooks in tending the cooking fire in the stoves, and offer continued social reinforcement to this training (e.g., through periodic competitions to cook normal meals with the least fuelwood use.)

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