In developing countries, about 90 percent of rural and 50 percent of urban-based citizens depend exclusively on charcoal wood for cooking. Worldwide, 2.5 billion people use solid fuels—wood, charcoal and dung—for cooking and heating. Every year, fumes and smoke from open cooking fires kill approximately 1.6 million people mostly women and children, from emphysema and other respiratory diseases.

An article by ESMAP, 25 May 2011

The Article states:

"An innovative solution was developed in Cambodia’s Kampong Chhnang province, building on that region’s specialty of clay pottery. An NGO, Groupe Energies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités (GERES), worked with local women to adapt their pottery tradition to produce a prototype Neang Kongrey stove in 2004. The Neang Kongrey Stoves (NKS) are designed to use less firewood, concentrate heat, and produce far less smoke than the earlier 'Siem' type cook stoves.

Once the prototype was tested and improved, three groups of women were trained to produce them, and now they can manufacture 3,000 cookstoves a month, which retail at the equivalent of $1.50 apiece. Each potter now earns about $70 a month.

The project, which is also supported by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Program (ASTAE), has been stated to provide a win-win-win solution that helps the women producers, provides a more efficient stove for household cooking, and protects household health by offering a clean, but affordable, alternative to wood or dung fires.

"It saves cooking fuel, it cooks well, and the rice cooks quickly,” said Prak Ruhk, who has adopted the Neang Kongrey stove. “It's cheap and accessible to everyone. Before, I had an old style 'Siem' stove, which used a lot of fuel and made a lot of smoke. Now, I have the Neang Kongrey stove. Cooking is easy and the quality is good."

Energy efficient cook stoves could reduce the large share of household expenses currently required for cooking, allowing households to save money for food, education, and health services. And the future looks promising. A proposed women-producer association’s management structure for the NKS-Facility could be an effective tool to create a strong stove production community, to scale up what has proven so successful among the potters of Kampong Chhnang."

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