An example of GIZ’s work: Ten million people are now saving energy when cooking

13.07.2015 – A wood fire in a simple stone hearth – for many people in developing countries, this is where they do all their cooking. GIZ is supporting the distribution of energy-saving stoves.

In developing and emerging countries, 90% of the energy consumed is used in cooking. Often, cooking is done on the hut floor, in a pot over an open fire set in a hearth made of three stones. Wood and charcoal are most widely used as the cheapest types of fuel available. However, their use is costly in another sense, as it destroys forests, their energy efficiency is low and they produce large amounts of smoke. To reduce damage to the environment and health, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to distribute energy-saving stoves.

Cutting down trees for firewood destroys forests and encourages desertification, while collecting wood can take several hours and often requires people to walk long distances. Women and children are particularly exposed to the dangers of the smoke produced when cooking over the open fires. The World Health Organization has estimated that over four million people die every year of respiratory diseases and cancer as a result of the smoke.

GIZ has developed affordable stoves that use between 40% and 80% less energy compared to the ‘classic’ three-stone fire, while producing almost no smoke. The materials for these stoves can be locally sourced, and local craftsmen have been trained in how to build them. To create a functioning market, GIZ is working with non-governmental organisations to increase demand by making consumers aware of the benefits of energy-saving stoves. New distribution channels for the products are being created, as sales outlets such as supermarkets and petrol stations are beginning to stock them. New employment and income-generating opportunities have arisen as a result. The levels of carbon dioxide – harmful to the environment and to health – produced during cooking are being reduced at the same time.

Over the past decade, GIZ has made energy-saving cooking technology available to ten million people.