Improved stoves and household energy

Typical improved biomass stoves now available in poor communities thanks to Practical Action energy initiatives include ceramic stoves such as the Upesi or Anagi.

west Kenya women's co-op manufacturing 'Upesi' ceramic fuel efficient wood burning stove, using a paddle mould

In Sri Lanka and Kenya the introduction of improved stoves has been a great success.

Since 1991 about half a million 'Anagi' stoves have been produced and sold in Sri Lanka and more than 400 potters and installers trained in their construction and installation. It is estimated that future production will reach around 120,000 per year.

In Kenya Practical Action has been working closely with women's groups to produce, promote and install the 'Upesi' improved cooking stove. At present thirteen women's groups (approx. 200 people) in western Kenya make and sell around 11,000 Upesi stoves a year. As a result of their labours the women have gained status, self-confidence and financial independence.

In Bangladesh Practical Action is running training courses to show people how to build improved energy efficient stoves using local materials. These stoves consume less than half the fuel compared to a traditional open fire. A key element of the programme is to show people how to set up a micro enterprise to make stoves for others in the community, and thus ensure that more stoves are built after the training courses have finished. Our partner in this work is Climate Care.

In Sudan, improved stoves were originally developed at Wau Nour, a camp for displaced and marginalised people, on the outskirts of Kassala, Sudan, as part of a project to reduce indoor air pollution due to cooking. These stoves are now being used in camps in Darfur, where their efficiency reduces the amount of firewood needed, which in turn reduces women's vulnerability when collecting fuel. More ...

Further information

Clay-based technologies manual
A practical handbook on making the improved stove, as well as clay refrigerators and water coolers, from Practical Action Sudan. This manufacturing manual has step by step instructions, photos and technical drawings.

Practical Answers
Download further technical information on improved stoves and ovens from Practical Answers.

Improved stoves in Sudan
These simple clay stoves use one third of the amount of firewood as a traditional fire, saving time and reducing the risks to women gathering wood.

Boiling Point household energy journal

T4SLCase study: stoves for rural livelihoods
Read more about the impact of the Upesi stove in west Kenya on Practical Action's Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods website.

An illustrated guide to improved stoves (PDF, 214K)

Boiling Point

Read more about household energy in Boiling Point, a journal for those working with stoves and household energy. It deals with technical, social, financial and environmental issues and aims to improve the quality of life for poor communities living in the developing world. Boiling Point was created in 1982 by Practical Action (then ITDG) who published the first 52 issues. It is now published by Hedon. Read more

HEDONHEDON (Household Energy Development Organizations Network)
Practical Action is a core member of the Household Energy Development Organizations Network (HEDON), set up in 1992 to act as a focal point for those working in the field in household energy. It aims to promote links among the diverse organizations working in this field, including NGOs, government agencies, and consultancies.

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