Resource Magazine November/December 2013 : Page 5

it! Living among strangers didn’t feel totally weird, either. From the first day, my compound-mates taught me local words and helped my integration into village life. REAP-Canada’s Improved Cookstove Program, of which I was a part, develops innovative, efficient stoves to fight deforestation and poverty. Check out the organization at: As the REAP website says: “Throughout the developing world, many women use open fires with solid fuels, including firewood, dung, and charcoal, for cooking purposes. Although practical in their simplicity, these fires have poor combustion efficiency, require a significant amount of fuel to cook a meal, and neg-atively impact women’s health. As the global population con-tinues to grow, the environmental and health impacts will also continue to grow unless a better alternative is developed and adopted. The importance of improved cookstoves first became apparent to REAP during their agricultural develop-ment project in the Philippines in 1998. REAP began to develop improved cookstoves after seeing an alarming reliance on firewood and charcoal, which is not only very costly but also results in widespread deforestation and envi-ronmental degradation. In the Philippines, there were abun-dant piles of agricultural residues in rural communities, so REAP and local partners began by developing a locally appropriate stove that could burn these as a fuel, thereby solv-ing both a fuel and a waste problem.” REAP has designed two improved cookstoves that bring many benefits to the women who use them and to the sur-rounding environment. These benefits include efficiency, affordability, environmental friendliness, simplicity, local resource use, versatility, and participatory design. All of REAP’s stoves are designed by experts to maximize their combustion quality, which saves on fuel and reduces smoke. A primary factor involved in stove design is affordabili-ty, and with improved combustion efficiency, users also save money and time that would be spent acquiring fuel. REAP’s cookstoves are designed either to burn agricultural residues instead of wood, or to burn wood more efficiently. This means that communities that use these cookstoves can reduce their negative impact on local forests and the environment while also lowering emissions and reducing women’s and children’s exposure to smoke. In addition, REAP’s stoves are built in-country using local resources and workmanship. The simple designs mean that women are able to adopt the stoves and learn to use them easily. Burning local agricultural residues, which are abun-dantly available, means that women spend less time gathering fuel and less money purchasing fuel. The elegance of REAP’s cookstoves is that their simplic-ity is accompanied by versatility. They can burn multiple fuels, they can cook a variety of meals quickly, and each stove is custom-built for a family’s needs. Stove users also play an important role in developing locally appropriate, improved stove designs through needs assessments and user evaluation trials. This review process is crucial for local acceptance of any new technology. To ensure that the improved cookstoves are popular and are used to their full potential, REAP conducts on-site stove demonstrations and community awareness meetings with local partners while also collecting feedback from users in order to improve the program and the stoves. To date, REAP has designed two improved cookstoves: the Mayon Turbo Stove (MTS) and the REAP Clay Brick Stove, known locally as the Noflay (or “no problem”) stove. The Mayon Turbo Stove The vast majority of rural households in developing countries still rely on biofuels for cooking, including fire-wood, charcoal, and crop residues such as cereal straws, corn cobs, and coconut husks and shells. However, incomplete combustion of this biomass can produce pollution levels in the home that exceed the most polluted industrial cities. Fossil fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene, are also used, but they are increasingly unafford-able for impoverished families. As an alternative, the mountains of surplus rice hulls found throughout south and southeast Asia and in other Chin with a Mayon Turbo Stove used by a restaurant owner. RESOURCE November/December 2013 5

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