Ethiopian nor the Kenyan programmes would have been successful without
substantial initial government and donor backing. Improved stoves were
consciously targeted at upper income consumers as a way of achieving
sustainable commercial penetration within the lifetime of donor supported
programmes. The approach succeeded, demand spread to all social classes,
more producers entered the market, and today the improved stoves business
is solely driven by demand.
On the other hand in Uganda, despite donors and governments
financial efforts, consumers never showed interest in improved stoves.
A greater variety of stoves have entered the marketplace. Mostly bought
by the poorest in anticipation of cost savings, the better off have
(unlike in Kenya and Ethiopia) shown marginal interest. Volumes have
been low with few demonstrable poverty alleviation benefits and a market
has never developed.
cites evidence that stove quality has deteriorated as price competition
has led producers to cut costs to remain competitive. Whereas improved
Kenyan stoves tested in the 1980s consumed 30-50 per cent less charcoal
than conventional ones, today this is down to 24 per cent. Consumers
do not usually notice the recent drop in stove efficiency but have noted
a decline in appearance and robustness. This was particularly true in
Uganda and led to a loss of confidence in the product.
of the project indicate that, as the market has taken off, women clay
liner producers have seen returns on production plummet and their economic
power vis-á-vis stove assemblers steadily weaken. Also, Ugandan
stove programmes have been top-down, donor-driven and ignored the importance
of creating consumer awareness.