By Fred Colgan
A very quick six days in Nigeria will be over on Saturday. We’re here working with ICEED – the International Centre for Environment and Economic Development – partners in the pilot project we did a year ago in a Nigerian school. ICEED is heading up the new Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the trip here was intended to be at the launch of the Alliance. Events were cancelled due to some terror alerts in Abuja, freeing us up for a wonderful week of meetings with the ICEED team.Wednesday we travelled to Bida, in Niger State, and made an unannounced visit to Bida Government Girls School where we installed three stoves a year ago. A surprise visit is the only way to truly gauge local uptake of a technology – because if they knew we were coming they would have prepared a demonstration - and a party!
With some trepidation we came into the kitchen – to find them just finishing up a meal on the 60 Liter Stove! The cooks and administrators told us they love the stoves, have used them every day for a year, appreciate that they continue to use one-tenth of the fuel of the traditional fires, and that there are “No Problems.” I asked several times in several different ways. “No Problems.”In a video interview, the head of the kitchen and vice principal went on to talk about health impacts on the cooks ( they all feel better ), quick cooking times, working indoors with no smoke, and said they have become local celebrities because of the stoves. People have come from all over Niger State to see the stoves in action.
We’re off to the airport to catch the redeye to Sudan – arrive Khartoum at 2AM Sunday. Next news will be from El Fasher and Nyala in Darfur. I’ll be in touch.
The conversations with ICEED have been about two initiatives: placing a stove testing and development center here, and bringing our “factory in a box” production concept to Nigeria. Both ideas are well along the discussion path, and we will be developing memoranda of understandings and contracts early in 2012 to move forward. ICEED has orders in hand for over 300 big stoves, and our initial production run will be 500 units – all to be made in Nigeria by Nigerians. The testing and design center will involve extensive trainings at Aprovecho, and again, we’re looking at 2012 as a launch date of this first activity of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. A most productive week for Aprovecho and for the Institutional Stove Project and some very positive cementing of relationships with important Nigerian institutions.