A milestone for all the NGO’s around the world working on improving the wood and charcoal cooking devices: the New Lao Stove (NLS) introduced in Cambodia by GERES in 2003, has just celebrated the production of stove n°2,000,000.
A solution to the Cambodian ecological crisis
GERES introduced the New Lao Stove in Cambodia in response to the growing demand of charcoal fordomestic cooking in the urban areas of the country. Creating an improved grate design and insulation while remaining intentionally similar to traditional South East Asian cooking stoves; it was developed as an attractive alternative to traditional stoves. More resistant and consuming less biomass fuel, the product meets the requirements of many households around the country. Thanks to this improved technology, the NLS has saved over 1,200,000 tons* of fuel wood from the Cambodian forests.
A 10 year success story that is not only contributing to reduce the pressure on natural resources of Cambodia but creating income-generating activities for all the producers and retailers of this stove.
To ensure the long term development of the product, GERES supported the creation of ICOPRODAC, the association of producers and distributors of improved cookstoves in Cambodia. Today, in total, 253 independent business owners from 11 provinces are members: 84 stove producers and 171 distributors. Meeting once every 3 months, they decide together on the marketing orientations around the product. A credit cooperative is also proposed to any member in need of a small productive loan. The celebration of NLS n°2,000,000 is just one of the milestones for 2013. Throughout the year to come, the ICOPRODAC members should be able to manage the association independently, without the support of GERES. This achieved, GERES will have successfully accomplished a large-scale dissemination of improved cookstoves in Cambodia, and created an independent sector based on a socially responsible model.
This unique success has placed Cambodia and GERES as a model for improved cookstoves dissemination around the world. With this success, Phnom Penh has been selected to host the Forum of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, from March 18th to March 22nd 2013. This international event gathers private and public stakeholders working on the dissemination of clean and efficient household cooking solutions.
Looking back on the experience of Phun Sophal and Sim Srun, producer and wholesaler of the NLS in the province of Kampong Chhnang.
When Phun Sophalheard about the improved cookstove and the production training provided by GERES, he was then working in a textile factory. He decided to quit his job and open his own cookstove business. After receiving the proper training, he started his business alone, in his house, producing 150 stoves per month. That was in 2009.
Today, 4 years later, he is running a large production site, 2,000 stoves produced per month and 14 employees. The New Lao Stove is the only product coming out of his traditional factory and, benefiting from a solid distribution channel, he can focus on the quality of his products and managing his team.
Sim Srun, a pottery and stove retailer started with the NLS at the very beginning of the project in 2003. Convinced that this stove had true benefits for the final users, he and his wife decided to help introduce the product on the market. Today, being one of the 2 biggest wholesalers of NLS in Kampong Chhnang, working with 10 producers, they sell around 7000 stoves a month.
For both these entrepreneurs, as well as all the other beneficiaries of this project, the NLS experience has brought them a considerable increase of their income and the visibility needed to invest in their future. Thanks to the technical and management training provided by GERES, they have both gained the skills and competencies to expand their business.
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