We were delighted to receive this kind note from Erik Wurster, Managing Director of Up Energy Group, Inc., relating his recent experience installing a Prakti Design Leo Chimney Stove in a remote Pygmy village in Rwanda.
Enjoy Erik’s story and photos!
I thought you’d enjoy my recent adventure to give a test stove made by Prakti Design in India to a family in a pigmy village (a highly marginalized ethnic group in Rwanda) near where we live. This is certainly not an example of how stoves should be installed efficiently and in large numbers, but it was fun and very well received. It’s important for us to test different technologies before purchasing large numbers of them, so this type of thing is instructive for our future business strategies. Prakti was kind enough to donate this test model to us. This stove is designed to accommodate a chimney but didn’t come with one, so not pictured below is how we convinced the machine shop at the hospital to custom weld and metal chimney to fit the stove.
First, we got the Partners in Health driver to drive us up to the village, which is about 30 minutes from where we live. We came upon a small landslide on our journey:
And then another landslide, which required convincing local farmers to clear the road before we could pass:
We finally arrived at the village, where all houses have been built by Partners in Health as part of their community outreach program. Only about a year ago, this community lived in small mud huts that fell apart every time it rained:
The house to receive the stove was at the top of the mountain, so we started hiking (for the record, I carried the stove most of the way up the mountain!). That’s Leonce carrying it. He leads community outreach for PIH:
We finally arrived at the house:
Here is the stove we are replacing – three stones in an unventilated building:
We put a hole in the wall for the chimney. The wall was surprisingly soft, so we could use a machete to make the hole:
We installed the custom chimney and screwed it into the stove body:
After we light the stove, we see that the chimney is venting properly:
I then explained proper use and maintenance to the woman of the house:
Happy user with no smoke inside:
I’ll visit her periodically over the next year to see how the stove is holding up and how she likes it.
Prakti founder and CEO Dr Mouhsine Serrar was in Washington last week to attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Last year Prakti Design committed to creating an innovative and inclusive partnership to develop and distribute fuel-efficient and low polluting stoves in Haiti that would eliminate the use of charcoal as cooking fuel. These stoves would be scalable, and therefore impact a wide range of issues, including deforestation, health, poverty, global warming, and gender issues.
Prakti Design had been featured in Mr. Clinton’s keynote adress at CGI 2009, in which he underlined the tremendous social and environmental impact Prakti stoves will have in Haiti. To date Prakti stoves have been declared as best on the Haitian markets by third-party labs and implementers. Over 2,000 Leo Charcoal stoves and 100 Orka large-capacity stoves are currently being made by SkillMech for the World Food Program and the UN in Haiti. The Orka stoves run onrecycled briquettes made locally in Port-au-Prince and thus eliminate the need of charcoal as cooking fuel.