Picking the right productssolutions for energy poverty in Ethiopia.docx

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    Picking the right products/solutions for energy poverty.


    I believe it is high time to start discerning the most appropriate technologies for solving energy poverty in rural Ethiopia, out of so many phony products being proposed and offered by so many incompetent dealers supported also by "interested" officials.

    Some even trying to fool and take advantage of the poorest, with tricky, expensive and poor quality solar products and so called "improved" cookstoves. Helped very much, of course, by those who were employed and paid their salaries for enforcing existing laws and regulations.

    During my recent site visit in Maigobo/Tigray (April, 2016) I had the time to observe what - out of so many locally available products (good or bad) - could actually be the most appropriate, practical and competitive solutions for the impoverished local communities.
    This resulted in my proposal of: " Most affordable & practical solution for clean energy access in rural Ethiopia (please view pictures attached)" , also to summarize years of hard work by many contributors.

    Now, having identified the "right products", allow me to share some pictures of the Mirchaye cookstove (meaning My Choice in Amharic language) which has proven to save up to 100% (one bag of charcoal saved from two) on charcoal consumption/costs for local families I have been working with. This allows them save up to Birr 250 every other month for at least a decade or more. Not bad for a stove costing only Birr 130 ( = 6$) .

    Charcoal use here is a reality we can’t help but consider, and until all the envisaged sugar mills start producing and distributing enough bio-fuel/biodiesel allowing the use of better and cleaner improved cookstoves, there is no better option than saving charcoal consumption, and relative deforestation.

    Many challenges in its adoption still persist, though, due to the cultural and poverty trap they have been subjected to for so long.

    It is also unfortunate that most local elites are not understanding and caring enough. They tend not to look back at the misery they themselves probably escaped from (including myself), but their very relatives are still enduring. Neglected.



    That is why I was forced to accept the fact that transformation doesn't come easily here even when such products are provided for free. Imagine, then, what if they were supposed to pay for them, assuming they were lucky enough to find them in the local market in the first place.

    It is still quite disturbing the fact that you can find plenty of inefficient stoves in the market, but not the right ones. Here again, ready and adequate supply is still problem #1 as pointed out time and again.

    Therefore, more convincing education, promotion and help need to be made for a long period of time until adequate level of acceptance is reached, and quality products made easily available.

    Please, let's try it together. Thank you.



    Salvatore Chester

    Tsere lamba – solar energy initiative