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THE FAILURE OF AN INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE CAMPING STOVES IN HAITI

Summary : As part of the fight to promote health, the protection of the environment and access to energy, the experience of Recho Mirak (improving charcoal cooking stoves) began at the beginning of the 1980s in Haiti. 30 years later, a detailed analyses highlighted the reasons for its failure and the challenges in must still face.

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Programme

  • Start date : 1980
  • Budget : N/A
  • Source and details on funding : Government of the Netherlands, USAID, World Bank

Organisation(s)

  • Bureau des Mines et de l'Energie d'Haïti (BME), Care et Banque Mondiale
  • Delmas 31, Rue Jacques 1er
  • Employees : N/A
  • Volunteers : N/A
Website

Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  15/04/2014 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : Incomplete description of the programme
Solution(s) : Environment
Country :  Haiti
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  International Organisation, Public institution, Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Universal
  • Domain :  Environment, Energy, Education, Training, Budget

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Thivillon Thomas , « THE FAILURE OF AN INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE CAMPING STOVES IN HAITI », **Journal RESOLIS** (2014)

Background to the programme

Haiti suffers from massive deforestation (using the wood for charcoal), high population density, extreme poverty and very poor natural resources (the population depend on biomass for more than 70% of their needs), These difficulties have brought about a grave human an environmental crisis. In Port au Prince, the population use different types of stoves, all of which are pollutant, harmful, inefficient and have a very limited life.

Objectives of the programme

At the beginning of the 1980s, the Recho Mirak stove was designed: it's a carbon stove in metal which is easy for craftsmen to make, easy to use, is cost-efficient as it uses less fuel and emits less noxious gas. The promotion of energy efficient stoves and the importation of transitional fuel has alleviated the pressure on biomass and improved the state of the users healths while reducing their daily expenses by creating local jobs (distribution chain).

Implemented actions

- The training of local craftsman and then the design and production of the Recho Mirak.
- CARE-BRE (1996 - 2002): Feasibility study on the distribution of improved stoves; distribution by Recho Mirak and promotion on a big scale (TV/radio/local demonstrations)
- World Bank Program: Training of craftsman and modernisation of the production chain; marketing and awareness campaign (radio/TV/public demonstrations); standardisation and certification of stoves

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

- Several craftsman trained (CARE, BME, World Bank) and grouped in the "National Association of Stove Producers" (ANEPRE).
- CARE-BME Program: At least 20 000 stoves sold to Haitian households; due to a campaign 61.2% of people had heard of Recho Mirak in Port au Prince
- World Bank Program: around 30 000 stoves sold through intermediaries from the trained artisans.
- Fuel savings of 13 to 17%, up to 15 Kg of charcoal saved each month (family of 5 people).

Original characteristics

The Recho Mirak design, although is still has shortcomings, has made significant progress in terms of fuel saving, in daily expenditure for the users and without doubt a reduction in health risks.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

USAID, CARE, BME (Energy and Mining Bureau), World Bank, CAFEM

Feedback

Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

The stove's faults: rough final production of the supports holding up the cooking utensil (unstable, risk of spilling the food), short life time (6 months), uninteresting appearance, poor value for money (200 to 400 Gourdes compared to 75 to 100 Gourdes for traditional stoves).
- Lack of standardisation, difficult to control: fragmentation of producers, rising tests with the number of producers, counterfeiting. 40/144 craftsman respected the production standards (2008).
- Out of 1665 households in Port au Prince, only 4.3% envisaged buying a Recho Mirak.
- The publicity campaign from CARE/BME was based on fuel savings and the protection of the environment but didn't encourage people to buy.
- Absence of appropriate distribution channels (barrier for the distribution of improved stoves) feebleness of sellers (uncertain commercial potential, unwilling to take the risk).

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

- CARE/BME Program: took responsibility for deliveries during the intervention period (but not using local actors meant there was no link between producer and sellers at the end of the program).
- World Bank: set up a distribution cooperative with a local contractor CAFEM (but poor margins meant operational costs weren't covered and the initiative was ended).
- World Bank and BME: Certification of the production (logo "QEEL")

Suggestions for future improvement :

- To reliably estimate the level of carbon monoxide emissions and judge the impact on the consumption of charcoal.
- To strengthen the distribution chain: advanced stock to sellers, identify and accommodate the wholesalers (needs a multi-product activity), involve the PME network (semi) industrial.
- The model must be significantly more efficient if it is to have a longer duration and a more modern and attractive design.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

- Principal criteria of the users: speed of bringing water to the boil, cleanliness of the drum (recuperation of ashes), affordable price (weak buying power of the population) easily detachable grill (handling of charcoal and embers and cleaning of the drum).

Bibliographic references

Thivillon, T. "The experience of Recho Mirak: Feedback from three decades of promoting improved stoves in Haiti" « L’expérience du Recho Mirak : Retour sur trois décennies de promotion des foyers améliorés en Haïti » FACTS Reports (2013) sous presse

To know more

The energy crisis in Haiti:
With a geographic surface of a little under 28 000 Kilometres squared and a population currently estimated a close to 10 millions, Haiti is the most densely populated developing country after Bangladesh. The combined effects


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