Improved Cooking Stove
A simple but extremely useful rural technology

It has been widely recognized fact that indoor air-pollution is one of the major causes of respiratory and eyes problems in rural communities where firewood is used as fuel for cooking. Women and children are the victims of poisonous smoke that fill their houses every day, where they cook, play and study. When our community health workers realised that much of the ailments they were seeing were due to the villagers cooking on open fires inside their homes, we started the ICS project in March 1998 in the Saimarang Village Development Committee (VDC. From then onwards, the project progressed into a new VDC each year, finally covering the whole of our catchment area, and providing thousands of families with the option to install one of these clean and environmentally friendly stoves.

The ICS guides smoke out of the house through a chimney, so the inhabitants are no longer inhaling dangerous toxics, and the house remains clean. This, together with the fact that the ICS has two potholes to cook on, means no energy is wasted, and the food cooks faster. Around 50% of wood consumption can be saved like this, which is a huge relieve for the surrounding forests, an invaluable asset of every village in Nepal. It is very cheap to build and costs approximately under US $4, making it affordable even for the poorest families. Furthermore, it also saves time spent on firewood collection.

The technology of ICS is extremely simple and straight forward, easy to build locally, and showing immediate effect, making it a very successful programme. A family member collects clay, easily available in CWSN's working area, which is mixed with dung and goat hairs or rice husk. Wooden moulds are used to shape this mixture into bricks that are kept in the sun for a few days to dry. These form the main components of the ICS, held together by more clay and reinforced by ten iron rods. Local men and women are trained up as promoters to implement this project and construct the stoves for the people in their own community. After reaching the target (i.e. 85% of total households), CWSN has phased out this project in April, 2009. However, the sustainability will be ensured by the local promoters who are skilled in construction and maintenance of the ICS.

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