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Draft: 10 th Nov. 2010

Modernizing the poor’s cooking energy – addressing gender and environmental dimensions of upland poverty in Nepal

Min Bikram MALLA THAKURI, Practical Action Nepal Office i

Background Paper for Conference on the " The Environments of the Poor”, 24-26 Nov 2010, New Delhi

SUMMARY

Indoor air pollution from burning solid fuels for cooking is a major environmental health problem in Nepal, predominantly affecting children and women. Besides that traditional household energy practices have been contributing for substantial time loss, drudgery and environmental damage. There is an issue of equity also as the women & children, and poor are mainly vulnerable to this problem. This restricts women’s participation and empowerment since they are compelled to spend considerable time to collect fuel. Fuel wood collection time has significant opportunity costs, limiting opportunities for women to engage in income generating activities and their personal growth. Because of poverty, poor are unable to switch to clean fuel or use efficient technologies.

The problem is more severe in upland areas (cold regions) as the households from those areas need more energy as they need it for cooking as well as for space heating. Few efforts were made in past to introduce improved stoves in those areas but due to incompatibility of such stoves with local needs, the efforts did not turn out well. High transportation costs, poor reliability of supply and generally poor purchasing power are main hindering factors to adopt/use clean fuel and technologies in rural high hills of Nepal. Considering these gaps, Practical Action (then ITDG) carried out a participatory research in Rasuwa during 2001-04 and came-up with sustainable intervention packages (installation of smoke hoods, stove improvement, ventilation improvement, and awareness on better quality of solid fuel use and other behavioural changes) for those areas. Encouraged by the success and overwhelming demand, Practical Action launched scaling-up project between 2005 and 2010 in the financial support of PCIA/USEPA, DFID, WHO and Trust Funds. The project introduced market based institutional delivery system promoting reliable local manufacturers and suppliers along with micro- financing to needy households.

The impacts of the projects were extensively evaluated. The results suggest that interventions are justified on economic grounds as the calculated IRR is very high. Time savings constituted by far the most important benefit followed by fuel cost savings; direct health improvements were a small component of the overall benefit. The indoor air quality measurement shows 60 per cent reduction in indoor smoke after intervention leading to respiratory health improvement.

Experience of the project suggests that mobilizing revolving fund through the local cooperatives is an appropriate model for promotion of IAP alleviating technologies, particularly in the rural communities, who have limited access to credit facilities. In addition, promotion of private entrepreneurship is crucial for sustainable market promotion of IAP alleviation technologies. Establishing strong supply chain of improved stoves and developing linkages among the various stakeholders as well as capacity development are integral part for the success of any project. For large scale intervention (as per the

i Project Manager, Practical Action Nepal Office, email: min.malla@practicalaction.org.np.

country need), it is imperative for policy makers to give attention (adopt) to those issues if the problem of indoor air pollution is to be seriously addressed. This cannot be done through private sector alone, there is need of public-private partnership to overcome the problem.

1. INTRODUCTION

Heavy reliance on solid biomass fuel to meet cooking energy need is a big environment health problem in Nepal. In Nepal, about 85 per cent of households still depend on solid biomass fuels for cooking and heating (CBS, 2004). Solid biomass fuels such as wood, animal dung and crop residues, which are considered the most polluting fuels are typically burnt in open fires or poorly functioning stoves and more often with inadequate ventilation creating a dangerous cocktail of hundreds of pollutants to which women and young children are exposed on a daily basis. There is abundant evidence supporting the negative health impact of indoor air pollution (IAP) such as acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer in women (Smith, 1999; Ezzeti and Kammen, 2002). Air pollution from solid biomass fuel burning in kitchen is responsible for annual premature death of 7,500 people (around 3.2% of total premature death) 204,400 Disability-Adjusted Live Year (DALYs) ii and 2.7 percent of the national burden of diseases in Nepal (WHO 2007 – based on 2002 data). Besides health impact, the heavy use (reliance) of solid fuel has been contributing to external economic cost such as deforestation, green house gas emission, illiteracy and drudgery. Cooking and heating fires using solid fuels are a major global emission source of Black Carbon and other aerosol species (Bond et al., 2004).

Energy use and poverty are very much interlinked having forward and backward linkages. Because of poverty, people are unable to switch to clean fuel. Solid biomass fuels are considered the most polluting fuels, lie at the bottom of the energy ladder, and are used mostly by the very poor people. Similarly, in the absence of proper energy, people are restricted for economic development. Due to health problems generated from heavy exposure to IAP significant amount of productive time and money are spent.

The first energy priority of people living in poverty is how to meet their household energy needs. Poor spend up to a third of their income on energy, most of which is for cooking. Women, in particular, devote a considerable amount of time collecting, processing and using traditional fuel for cooking. In India, two to seven hours each day are devoted in collection of fuel for cooking (quoted in World Energy Outlook 2002), this is time that could be spent on child care, education, socialising or income generation.

Due to high transportation costs, poor reliability of supply and generally poor purchasing power of households almost households from upland (high hills and mountain) areas are unable to use clean fuel and technology (dependent on solid biomass fuel) for cooking energy. The problem of indoor air pollution (IAP) and access to energy is more severe in those areas as they need more energy as they need it for cooking as well as for space heating. Additionally, they are in very high risks due to diminishing firewood availability, limited access to clean fuels, and extreme poverty that lead them to use smoky fuels (such as dung). Likewise, due to heavy (deficit) wood use and long gestation period to grow tree in high hills & mountain regions, availability of wood is decreasing at alarming rate. A recent study shows that about 76.5 percent households from mountain region compared to 57 percent

ii DALY is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

in Nepal are dependent on traditional cooking stoves with combustion efficiency less than 20 percent

(based on 2006 data, Practical Action 2009).

According to available data, average annual mean temperatures have been increasing in Nepal by 0.06°C between 1977 and 2000 and these increases are more pronounced at higher altitudes and in winter (quoted from Oxfam 2009). Increased forest fires (Hill and Mountain ecological zones) due to long spell of no precipitation in the winter resulting into scarcity in the fuel wood (primary household energy for cooking) and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, decline in forest annual regeneration due to change in water cycle causing higher deforestation due to deficit in supply to meet the yearly increasing demands. Likewise, in Nepal, increasing crop failure has increased the migration of men leading to additional burden to women for energy management.

2. PROJECT INTERVENTION

2.1 Project rational, Introduced Technology and Impact Study

A number of alternatives to biomass fuels exist which help to get rid of the IAP problems, but their high

transportation costs, poor reliability of supply and generally poor purchasing power makes them unfeasible for the households in high hills areas. Current energy use and availability trend in Nepal indicates that use of solid fuel will continue to dominate for the next several years. Considering those facts, Practical Action (a development charity) introduced (identified by a participatory research) a suitable intervention package for reducing solid biomass fuel use and improving indoor air quality in those areas. The intervention package includes installation of smoke hoods, stove improvement, ventilation improvement, and awareness on better quality of solid fuel use and other behavioural changes.

The smokehood made of GI sheet is built against the wall with an improved tripod stove beneath it constructed with a mud base. The smoke hood has a provision of a chimney to vent the smokes from the kitchen and it has been designed for better drafting of the smoke. Apart from that the traditional inefficient stoves are improved by building a protecting base around the back and two sides of the tripod. A wide area at the front is left exposed for fuel feeding and to allow the users to see the fire. Likewise, a bar is set across the front of the stove, to allow air to pass beneath it to improve combustion. Special needs of the households from high hill areas were considered where room heating is one of the prime requirements besides cooking while designing the smokehood. Moreover, by incorporating a grill rod inside the smokehood, provision was made for smoking meat and agro- based products.

To check the viability of investment in such technology and project, a research was carried-out in the financial and technical support of South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). This paper is an output of the research.

2.2 Project Location

In the first phase (2005-2007) the project was implemented in Rasuwa district in the financial support

of Department for International Development (DFID), World Health Organization (WHO) and trust funds from United Kingdom (UK). Rasuwa district lies in the northern part of Central Nepal, about 80 miles from Kathmandu. In 2001, there were 8696 households with a population of 44731 (CBS, 2002). The main ethnic group (about 84%) of the district are Tamang. Most of the households (91.3%) in the area are totally dependent on biomass energy for cooking and room heating and most

of them use inefficient traditional stoves.

The second phase (2008-2010) of the project was implemented in selected 10 villages of Gorkha and Dhading districts in the financial support of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA/USEPA) and trust funds from UK. The districts lie in the Central part of Nepal. There are 62,579 households with 338,658 population in Dhading and 58,923 households with 288,134 population in Gorkha (CBS 2007). Among them 93 percent in Dhading and 82 percent in Gorkha are totally dependent on solid fuel for cooking (CBS 2003). In Gorkha, the project was implemented in Bapak, Simjung and Hansapur Village Development Committees (VDCs), and in Dhading, it was in Darkha, Satyadevi, Jharlang, Jyamrung, Katunje and Bhumesthan. There were 2,685 households in project villages in Gorkha where intervention was done in 500 (18.6%) HHs. In Dhading, there were 7121 HHs in the project area, where intervention was done in 500 (7.0%) HHs.

2.3 Scaling-up approach

Holistic market development approach was adopted under the project for up-scaling of smoke hoods (see fig.1). The project has been successful to create sustainable market infrastructure of smoke hoods in the project districts. Altogether 26 local manufacturers are actively involved in smoke hoods fabrication and installation works. Framework of sustainable market establishment of indoor smoke alleviating technology undertaken by the project is described below in fig.1.

Fig.1: Framework for Establishing Sustainable Market of Smoke Hoods

Demand Supply Establish sustainable Market of IAP alleviating Technologies Social marketing Capacity building of
Demand
Supply
Establish sustainable Market of IAP
alleviating Technologies
Social marketing
Capacity building of
entrepreneurs
Credit facility
manufacturing
products
Establishment of revolving
fund
Business
management
Training
on
fund
Value
chain
&
Support
in
management
market survey
business
planning
Credit Facility
Quality Assurance

Demand Creation: To create demand, social marketing activities were carried out at large scale. Awareness raising activities on advantages/benefits of the intervention, installation, use, maintenance requirement, price etc. were conducted to general public about products and services. Home to home visits were carried-out in targeted project areas. Additionally, focus group discussions and video show were held at different locations. Advertisement and interviews with key stakeholders on IAP problems

and its solutions were broadcasted through local FM radios. Exchange visits were carried-out to make the villagers familiar about the technology.

Financing Mechanism: Instead of subsidy, soft loan was provided to customers to buy and install smoke hoods through the local cooperatives. The project provided seed money as grant to ten local Cooperatives to run the revolving funds. A potential customer needed to make an upfront contribution of about 25% of the total cost of a smoke hood and make formal request to the cooperative for the loan. Once they get loan, the customer had to pay back the loan in two years period in monthly instalment basis. An interest rate of 6-12% was charged. The project imparted capacity building trainings to the local cooperatives to manage the revolving fund.

Establishing Sustainable Supply Chain of Quality Smoke Hoods: Efforts were made to establish strong and sustainable supply chain of the smokehood business. Capacity building trainings were imparted on smoke hoods manufacturing and installation, and business management to the local entrepreneurs. Additionally, a value chain study of the smoke hoods and baseline survey were carried out to support the smoke hoods entrepreneurs to develop their business plan. Likewise, efforts have been made to establish mechanism for smooth supply of raw materials. Meetings/consultations were held with raw material suppliers to ensure smooth supply of raw materials.

2.4 Major Outputs

The project carried-out large scale awareness raising campaign on adverse health impact of IAP to create demand for intervention. Additionally, the project helped to establish revolving funds under local cooperative to increase access to credit to install smoke-hoods. To ensure supply, a strong base was created by developing capacities of the local manufacturers for fabrication and installation of smoke- hoods as well as to run the smoke hoods supply business. The project activities and learning were disseminated to a large audience through local radio, dissemination workshops and publications. The major accomplishments of the project are:

12,000 people are aware on adverse health impact of IAP and alleviation technologies;

Installed 1,800 smoke hoods alongside improvement in cooking stoves to alleviate IAP;

Developed and strengthened capacity of 35 local entrepreneurs to carry-out the smoke hoods business independently;

Enhanced institutional capacity of 10 local cooperatives in cooperative management and to manage revolving funds;

3 . IMPACT OF THE INTERVENTIONS THE RESULTS

3.1. Benefits of Intervention

3.1.1 Indoor air quality Improvement

To test the indoor air quality, primarily level of two major pollutants viz. Particulate Matter (PM) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) were measured. The measurement results show that 24 hours average PM 10 level is 763 µg/m 3 in households without intervention (control group), which is about 15 times higher than the WHO recommended safe level of 50µg/m 3 . In the sample households with intervention, the 24 hour average PM 10 level is 255µg/m 3 which is 66% less than for the control group (Table 1).

The WHO recommends an 8 hour average of CO which is not more than 9 ppm. Our findings indicate that the 24 hour average CO level is 9.39 ppm in households with traditional stoves compared to 2.26 ppm (that is, 76% less) in households with smokehoods. The results show that the difference in the

levels of pollution (PM 10 and CO) in the intervention and control groups is statistically significant (Table 1). Our results suggest that there is a strong correlation (r = 0.813) between CO and PM 10 .

We assess a range of factors that might influence indoor air pollution levels, known as confounding variables, in order to analyse their potential effects on CO. We present the results in Table 2. Our results indicate that the coefficient of intervene (smokehoods and stove improvement) is negative and significant (-6.74) indicating that interventions are effective in reducing the indoor air pollution level significantly. More specifically, the average reduction of CO concentration due to intervention is 6.74 ppm. This result is consistent with what we observe in Table 2. Likewise, the size of the kitchen significantly reduces the IAP level: the larger the kitchen area the lower the IAP level. On the contrary, the use of the stove for purposes other than cooking regular food, such as making alcohol, preparing animal feed and for room heating has a significant positive effect on CO concentrations. We also find a positive and significant effect on IAP levels of the number of cooking sessions and smoking.

3.1.2 Health benefits leading to a reduction in treatment cost and savings in days lost due to

illness;

The occurrence of respiratory illnesses (e.g., cough, phlegm, and wheezing symptoms) is significantly less among the cooks (Table 3) and children (Table 4) in the intervention groups compared to control groups. The probability of reduction in respiratory illness in women cooks and children below 5 years after the intervention is significantly high (see Table 5). The result suggests that the intervention contributes to a reduction in treatment costs by about Rs. 603/year per household (see Table 6). The Government provides medical check-ups and medicines at subsidized rates in the area through public health facilities. On average the cost of subsidized medicines and health check-ups comes to approximately Rs.375/HH/year. If we factor in this cost, the marginal saving due to intervention would come to about Rs. 978/year per household. Likewise, there were savings in sick days after the intervention due to fewer occurrences of diseases. As Table 8 shows, the saving in annual sick days for people in the economically active age (patient and caretaker) is approximately 10 days/HH due to the intervention, which is equivalent to Rs. 1000/year (or Rs. 500/year in economic price iii ).

3.1.3 Fuel wood saving and its associated benefits

All the households use firewood for cooking in the surveyed area. Only a few (1%) households use clean fuels (biogas, LPG, etc.) along with firewood (fuel mix).

Fuel saving: The analysis shows that the intervention results in a significant saving in firewood consumption. Average firewood saving due to the intervention is 1150 kg/year per household (3.148 kg X 365 days – Table 8).

Time saving in fuel collection: The households in the study area do not purchase the fuelwood but collect it from nearby forests. In our sample, the amount of firewood collected per person per trip is approximately 30 kgs on average. The average time per trip comes to about 6.41 hrs. Our results indicate that approximately 31 workings days (the equivalent of Rs. 1550 in economic price) are saved per household annually with the installation of the improved stove with smokehood.

iii Economic price includes direct, indirect, and hidden costs like opportunity cost. For the time saving, we assume that only 50 percent of the saved time would be used productively so it is less than the financial price. The average daily wage rate in the study area is Rs.100/day.

Time saving in cooking: Improvement in stove combustion efficiency and changes in cooking practices lead to significant savings in cooking time. The analysis suggests that intervention saves 14 minutes/day (or approximately 84 hours/year, as seen in Table 1) of cooking time. If converted into monetary terms, this saving is equivalent to approximately Rs. 525/HH in economic price per year.

Finally, due to the significant reduction in the use of firewood at 1150kg/year, we estimate that there would be about 1,700kg/hh/year less of CO 2 emission which contributes to an improvement in the global environment. If we assume the economic value of one tonne of CO 2 avoided to be approximately US$6.00, iv the saving in firewood use results in a saving of Rs.724/HH/year in terms of

a reduction in the level of CO 2 emission. If we calculate saving of all 1,800 households with intervention, the project has been contributing to offset 3060t CO 2 annually.

3.2 Cost of Intervention

The initial investment cost for the intervention per household is approximately Rs.5000/HH with a maintenance requirement of Rs.100/year (see Table 9). This cost is estimated as net costs based on the costs of smokehoods plus stove modification minus the cost of the traditional stove. Similarly, we calculated the programme cost based on Practical Action Nepal’s direct programme cost in Rasuwa (1 st phase) in order to calculate the cost to society. The total programme cost was approximately Rs. 4.76 million (1.12 million for seed money, 0.79 million for grants and 2.85 million for other programme costs) during the 3 years of the project period (see Table 9).

3.3 Cost Benefit Analysis

A household’s decision to install a smokehood depends on the direct costs and benefits to the

household. Hence, we carry out a cost benefit analysis to assess the viability of the investment for intervention. For a household, the total investment includes the price of intervention (smokehood

installation and stove modification cost) which comes to about Rs. 5000 with a maintenance requirement of about Rs. 100/hh per year (see Table 9). The annual financial benefit of the

intervention is Rs. 987/HH from treatment costs and Rs. 1900/HH (19 days) from health care related time savings. Similarly, there is a Rs. 5050/HH (or 50.5 days) saving from indirect time savings (i.e., time savings in cooking and firewood collection). Thus, the total annual financial savings come to about Rs. 7,937/HH/year (see Table 9). A benefit cost analysis from the household perspective suggests that the investment in a smokehood is highly viable on economic grounds with the estimated Financial Internal Rate of Return (FIRR) being 156 percent, which is about thirteen times higher than the cut-off discount rate (12%). If we consider only the health benefits of the intervention (ignoring other benefits), the IRR comes to about 55 percent. If we consider only the monetary cost saving (that

is, the treatment cost saving in cash), the IRR comes down to 12 percent (see Table 10).

We perform a sensitivity analysis in order to check the robustness of the results and the risk associated with the underlying benefit and cost assumptions. The results of the sensitivity analysis show that the investment in smokehoods is viable even in the case of an increase in the product cost

by 20 percent or a decrease in associated benefits by 20 percent. Even in the combined case, the BC

ratio is greater than the unity, indicating the viability of the investment.

In order to check the viability of the indoor air pollution alleviation programme from a societal perspective, we undertake an economic cost benefit analysis. The CBA analysis from a societal perspective shows that the investment in scaling up the programme on indoor smoke alleviating

iv In this study, the exchange rate between the US$ and Nepalese currency was taken as US$ 1.00 = Rs.70.00.

technologies is economically viable with an Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) of 71 percent. Similarly, the analysis shows that over a 10 year period, the NPV will come to Rs. 20.1 million with a B/C ratio of 4.7 at the 3 percent discount rate (Table 10). The results of the sensitivity analysis indicate that the investment in kitchen smoke alleviation programmes is viable even if programme costs increase by 20 percent or benefits decrease by 20 percent as the BC ratio remains greater than the unity (2.2) in those cases also. Moreover, even in the absence of financial benefits from CO 2 savings, the programme seems viable with an IRR of 57 percent.

3.4 Contribution to Milleniam Development Goals (MDGs) and global environment

Although the scale of intervention is small, it is evident from the results that if implementation of such initiative done in large scale it can contribute to achieve the Nepal Government’s commitment for Millennium Development Goals targets. There are strong empirical evidences suggesting that such intervention contribute to reduce child mortality rates, improve maternal health, reduce time and transport burden on women and young children and lessen the pressure on fragile ecosystems. But in this study as the intervention had been available for only a short period of time, we were able to consider only the immediate acute health impacts only while we had to ignore chronic diseases resulting from long term exposure. Based on the findings of empirical studies, efforts have been made to find contribution of improved stoves project to achieve MDGs objectives/targets.

Health improvement due to improvement in indoor air quality has been contributing to achieve the MDG Goal-4 “reduce child mortality” and Goal-5 “improve maternal health”. As the women cook and their small children spend most of time inside kitchen, they are more exposed to indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is found responsible for pneumonia, stillbirth, perinatal mortality and low birth weight. Additionally, getting rid of open fires in the kitchen has prevented the children being burned and scalded. Likewise, it was found responsible for alleviate chronic respiratory problems among women.

Improvement in efficiency of stove (fuel wood saving) has been helping to reduce women’s labour burden and associated health risks, such as prolapse due to carrying heavy loads. It is also contributing to achieve MDG Goal 1, 2 and 3. Alleviating the drudgery of fuel collection and reducing cooking time has given free time to the women for productive endeavours, education and child care. With less time lost in collecting fuels and improved health, children have more time available for school attendance and home work. Additionally, with time saving the parents can also give more time to the children’s care contributing to their education improvement. Saving in health cost and time (being ill, care taking, fuel collection) after intervention has been contributing to achieve MDG Goal 1 “Eradicate Extreme poverty and hunger”. Likewise, the project has developed local entrepreneurs and open-up opportunities to them for income generation.

Finally, it is also contributing to achieve MDG Goal 7 “ensure environmental sustainability” as it has been contributing to reduce fuel wood consumption leading to less pressure on forests and decrease in greenhouse gas emission.

3.5 Lessons Learned

During the initial phase, as the technology was new and investment requirement was high, nobody was ready to take the risk. In that case, few community leaders were identified and sent them for observation visit to Rasuwa where the technology has already been in use. After the exposure visit the participants were convinced and installed smoke hoods at their respective homes. These installations provided an opportunity to other people to observe the benefits of the technology. This had a

triggering effect in the project areas and the demand started to increase. This experience suggests that mobilizing community leaders to achieve project objectives is very crucial. Awareness should be targeted to convince the local leaders, who could play a crucial role in increasing the demand.

Due to subsidy in metallic improved cooking stove (ICS) and other alternatives, there was dependency syndrome (expectation of subsidy) among the customers. Without subsidy they were not ready to buy the smoke hoods. In this case, the project closely worked with the local cooperatives to create demand through convincing the people about the benefits of revolving fund and easy access to loan. Social marketing was done intensively to convince the people in taking timely measures to control IAP as it has been hampering health. Discussion with other stakeholders particularly stove promoting institutions were held and developed coordination to develop synergy and reduce duplication. This experience suggests the need of coordination among stakeholders and inclusive subsidy policy based on the performance of the technology. Although micro-financing is better than subsidy to minimize confusions, easy access and to create ownership, single effort of one organization is not enough to make this model successful.

The project facilitated to establish the market infrastructures in remote high hills areas. Unavailability of raw material for smoke hood on time, difficulty and cost effectiveness in transportation were big hurdles in promotion of smoke hoods in those areas. Due to lack of risk bearing capacity and capacity to forecast demand, the smoke hoods entrepreneurs start to procure raw materials only after ensuring the demand. Additionally, procuring raw materials in small quantities lead to higher transaction and transportation cost. These factors delayed the installation of smoke hoods to the costumers. In few cases, it took almost four months to install a smoke hood after receiving demand from the customers leading to their frustration. To address this problem, the project supported the cooperatives and manufacturers in forecasting demand and encouraged to take calculated risks by procuring large and required quantities of raw materials as per the demand, which contributed to smooth supply of the product to costumers. Quality, guarantee, timely delivery and after sales services of IAP alleviating product are found fundamental to create demand and its sustainability.

Women participation in household (HH) decision making is lacking in most part of Nepal. IAP alleviation does not fall under the priority of HH issues for them. So for increasing demand, awareness campaigns need to be targeted to women and men both at HH levels, so that they can make informed decision mutually for IAP reduction. Social marketing can change the preferences of the people and their investment decision. Awareness materials in local language and mobilization of staff with knowledge of local language were found very effective in creating awareness. Need to develop better and effective coordination with other organizations whose policy decisions may hamper the project activities.

3.6 Implications for Government’s programs and policies

The Government of Nepal has recently endorsed ‘National Indoor Air Quality Standards and Guidelines (NIAQSG 2009) in the initiation of Practical Action Nepal Office. The NIAQSG 2009 aims to improve public health and environment by maintaining the indoor air quality mainly through stove and ventilation improvement. Practical Action Nepal office is committed to support the Government’s initiative. Although at small scale (only intervention in 1800 HHs), the project made significant contribution in this initiative. Additionally, it is expected that this type of intervention contributes to achieve the Government of Nepal’s commitment to achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Similarly, such initiatives helps to implement the Rural Energy Policy, 2006 and achieve the household energy related targets set by the Government in Three-Year Interim Plan (2007-2010).

Although, lots of efforts are in progress, but scale of interventions is very small compared to the need. In addition, the subsidy focused supply driven (top-down) approach is facing difficulties to generate enough demand. There is issue of sustainability and dependency syndrome. Inappropriate dissemination practices, ignorance of people’s felt needs and aspiration in terms of intervention, passive participation of the end users, poor operation and maintenance, lack of technical supervision and follow-up from implementing agency side etc. are issues in existing projects. The success of the project suggests that there is need to work on micro-financing, innovative social marketing, solve gender issues, increase income base (link it with income generating activities), and make it demand led. The Practical Action implemented project has shown the success of such innovative scaling-up model. There is need of scaling-up of such models for whole country. Sustainable markets of improved stoves need to be established in different part of the country. For this there is need to carry- out strong advocacy activities.

In 2001, about 88.2 percent households were dependent on traditional biomass fuel stove, it decreased to 80.9 percent in 2006. Although there are improvements but the growth speed is not satisfactory. To introduce efficient and clean stoves in all Nepalese households there is need of aggressive intervention. An estimation made by Practical Action that by 2026 about 54 percent will have access to commercial energy technology (LPG stove, pressure stoves, electric heater and electric cooker/kettle). While rest 46 percent (2.7 million) households need improved biomass technology to get rid off indoor air pollution problem. For this huge investment (around 219 million Euro) is required to introduce improved stoves, smokehoods, gassifier and biogas in those households.

Fig. 2: Types of cooking devices in use in Nepal (past trend & future projection)

100.0 90.0 80.0 70.0 60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 2001 2006 2011 2016
100.0
90.0
80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
2001
2006
2011
2016
2021
2026
Percentage

Year

Traditional BiomassBriquette Electric Devices Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel LPG Biogas Gasifier ICS & smoke hoods

BriquetteTraditional Biomass Electric Devices Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel LPG Biogas Gasifier ICS & smoke hoods

Electric DevicesTraditional Biomass Briquette Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel LPG Biogas Gasifier ICS & smoke hoods

Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuelTraditional Biomass Briquette Electric Devices LPG Biogas Gasifier ICS & smoke hoods

LPGTraditional Biomass Briquette Electric Devices Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel Biogas Gasifier ICS & smoke hoods

BiogasTraditional Biomass Briquette Electric Devices Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel LPG Gasifier ICS & smoke hoods

GasifierTraditional Biomass Briquette Electric Devices Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel LPG Biogas ICS & smoke hoods

ICS & smoke hoodsTraditional Biomass Briquette Electric Devices Kerosene/Liquid Bio-fuel LPG Biogas Gasifier

Source: Practical Action (2009), Study to Determine Outline Plans for Eliminating Energy Poverty in Nepal

4. Conclusions and Recommendations

In upland areas in rural Nepal, due to heaving use of sold fuel in traditional inefficient stove and poor ventilation, the problem of IAP is very high in those areas (15 times higher than the recommended safe level). Members from those households are experiencing respiratory health problems resulting high expenditure in terms of treatment and loss of productivity. The intervention package (a smoke hoods with stove improvement) introduced by Practical Action for the upland areas has been proved to be very effective (60%) in reducing the indoor air pollution levels. It contributes to improve respiratory health, save time (in fuel collection, being ill, caring patient and cooking), and contribute to improve global environment by reducing deforestation and green house gas emission. It also contributes to reduce drudgery of the women and contributes for their empowerment. The benefit-cost analysis suggests that it is viable to invest in this type product/intervention and its scaling up programme. Yet, the adoption of these interventions is very limited. There are several reasons why scaling up is not taking place. The three most obvious ones are: i) the information gap – i.e., households not aware of the benefits; ii) expenditure incurred in the intervention and the lack of credit facilities; iii) the absence of a regular supply of intervention technologies because there is no established market. It is imperative for policy makers to deal with these challenges if the problem of indoor air pollution is to be seriously addressed. This cannot be done through private sector alone, there is need of public-private partnership to overcome the problem.

With the success of the Practical Action implemented project, it is evident that there is need to adopt micro-financing models, innovative social marketing, local capacity/institutional building and linking it with income generating activities to scaling-up of stoves in Nepal. Likewise, the interventions should be demand led and traditional socio-cultural values should be respected while planning and implementing the project activities. Additionally, efficiency of technology and strict quality control are other requirements for successful scaling-up of any technology.

References

CBS (2002), ‘Population Census 2001’, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.

CBS (2003), ‘District Level Indicators of Nepal for Monitoring Overall Development’, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.

CBS (2004), ‘Nepal Living Standards Survey’, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Ezzati, M. and D. M. Kammen (2002), ‘Household energy, indoor air pollution, and public health in developing countries’, Issue Brief, 02-26, Resources for the Future, Washington D.C.

Oxfam (2009), Climate Change, Poverty and Adaptation in Nepal, Oxfam International Nepal Office.

Practical Action (2009), Study to Determine Outline Plans for Eliminating Energy Poverty in Nepal, Practical Action Nepal Office

Smith, K.R. (1999), ‘Indoor air pollution’, Pollution Management in Focus, Discussion Note Number 4, The World Bank, Washington D.C.

WHO (2007), ‘Indoor Air Pollution: National Burden of Disease Estimates’, World Health Organization, Geneva.

Tables

Table 1: Characteristics of Intervention and Control Households

 

Unit

Without

With

 
 

Description

 

Intervention

intervention

t-stat

PM 10 Level - 24 hrs average

 

(μg/m3)

764

255

4.78***

CO level - 24 hrs average

 

(ppm)

9.39

2.26

6.91***

Annual fuel consumption

 

(kg/year)

2,886

2,174

7.19***

Annual trip for fuel collection

 

(hours)

96

73

7.17***

Average fuel collection time per bhari

 

(minutes)

6.41

6.33

0.473

Annual fuel collection time (in hours)

 

Hours/year

617

454

6.23***

Daily cooking hours

 

Hours/day

3.32 (3

3.09 (3

 
 

hours 19

hours 5

minutes)

minutes)

1.70*

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission

 

(kg/year/HH)

4329

3261

7.19***

Frequency of illness due to IAP

 

Episodes/ye

     
 

ar

3.3

2.5

4.35***

Days

lost

due

to

IAP

generated

health

       

problems

 

Days lost of economically active population due to illness (days/year)

Days/year

9.55

3.84

4.82***

Days lost of children below 15 years

 

Days/year

2.00

0.74

2.39***

Days lost to caretakers

 

Days/year

5.63

1.94

3.53***

*** Significant at 1% level, ** significant at 5% level and * significant at 10% level Source: Household Survey, 2006

Table 2: OLS and IV Regression Results (Dep. Var.: CO level)

 

OLS

IV Estimates

Variables

 

Coefficient

t-stat

Coefficient

t-stat

Intervention

 

-6.74

-5.35***

-8.82

-2.24**

Rain Dummy

 

-0.65

-0.51

0.17

0.12

Average Temperature

 

0.32

2.14**

0.20

0.91

Size of kitchen

 

-0.11

-2.20**

-0.12

-1.82*

Number of windows in the kitchen

0.26

0.50

0.26

0.47

Total family size

 

0.26

1.02

0.35

1.16

Hours used for heating purposes

1.93

2.78***

2.11

2.83***

Foods

other

than

regular

food

4.88

2.23**

4.65

1.97*

prepared

 

Number of cooking sessions

 

1.34

2.44**

1.57

2.67***

Use of polluting fuel for lighting

0.04

0.03

-0.49

-0.38

Smoking Dummy

 

3.32

3.41***

2.96

2.83***

(Constant)

 

-3.25

-0.82

-2.57

-0.43

R Square

 

0.337

 

0.257

 

Adjusted R Square

 

0.299

 

0.213

 

Number of observations

 

203

 

203

 

F-value

8.083***

 

5.84***

 

Note 1: Dependent Variable: CO level - 24 hrs average Note 2: *** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level Source: Household Survey, 2006

Table 3: Symptoms of Illness in Main Cook (Woman) over 12 months Period

 

Without

     

intervention

With intervention

Differenc

Symptoms

 

%

SD

%

SD

e

t- stat

Cough

           

Cough first thing in the morning or at other times of the day

93.4%

0.25

67.5%

0.47

25.9%

6.790***

Cough for more than 3 months

 

48.1%

0.50

18.8%

0.39

29.4%

4.886***

Cough at least 3 months for 2 or more years

45.0%

0.50

17.5%

0.38

27.5%

4.607***

Cough most days, at least 3 months, for 2 more years

24.1%

0.43

15.0%

0.36

9.1%

1.745*

Phlegm

           

Had phlegm during last 12 months

 

89.1%

0.31

65.0%

0.48

24.1%

5.466***

Usually phlegm on most days?

 

86.3%

0.34

65.0%

0.48

21.3%

4.526***

Phlegm for at least 3 months last year

47.5%

0.50

16.3%

0.37

31.3%

5.237***

Phlegm at least 3 months, for more than 2 years

43.8%

0.50

15.0%

0.36

28.8%

4.865***

Phlegm most days, at least 3 months, for more than 2 years

41.6%

0.49

15.0%

0.36

26.6%

4.521***

Episodes of cough and phlegm

             

Episodes of both cough and phlegm continue for 3 weeks

60.9%

0.49

12.5%

0.33

48.4%

8.389***

Cough and phlegm for more than 2 years

40.6%

0.49

1.3%

0.11

39.4%

7.108***

Wheezing

20.3%

0.40

7.5%

0.27

12.8%

2.700***

Sore/watering

eyes

most

of

the

28.8%

0.45

5.0%

0.36

23.8%

4.552***

days

Headaches for most of the days

 

30.0%

0.46

7.5%

0.27

22.5%

4.210***

Smokers

66.0%

0.474

65.0%

0.480

1.0%

0.211

Note:

Total sample for without intervention was 320 compared to 80 with intervention case

 

*** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level Source: Household Survey, 2006

 

Table 4: Symptoms of Illness in Children below 5 Years over last 12 months Period

 

Without

With

 

t- stat

Illness Symptoms

 

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Difference

Cough during last two weeks

 

81.0%

0.39

20.4%

0.41

60.7%

9.663***

Breathe rapidly during coughing

 

75.8%

0.43

16.7%

0.38

59.2%

8.973***

Coughs and Colds of Children over last 12 months period

86.9%

0.34

64.8%

0.48

22.1%

3.670***

Burn or scalds over last period

12 months

5.2%

0.25

0.0%

0.00

5.2%

1.528

Pneumonia

over

last

12

months

           

period

6.5%

0.25

5.6%

0.23

1.0%

0.254

Average number of children below 5 years

0.69

0.84

1.04

0.82

 

3.24***

Note: 153 non-user and 53 user households reported they had children below 5 years. Note: *** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level Source: Household Survey, 2006

Table 5: Probability of Reduction in Illness in Women Cooks and Children below 5 years after Intervention

Symptoms

Probability of reduction in illness after intervention (marginal effect)

z-statistics

Symptoms in Women Cooks

     

- Chronic cough

 

-0.279

-4.31***

- Chronic phlegm (phlegm for more than 3 months)

-0.302

-4.66***

- Cough and phlegm symptom regularly for 3 weeks

-0.503

-7.24***

- Wheezing

-0.104

-2.14**

- Sore/Watering Eyes

 

-0.237

-4.16***

Symptoms in Children below 5 years

   

- Cough

-0.607

-7.55***

- Breathing

rapidly

during

-0.592

-7.20***

coughing

Note: (i) The results were derived from separate Probit Regression Analyses (ii) *** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level;

Table 6: OLS, IV and Tobit Results (Dep. Var.: log of treatment cost)

   

OLS

IV- Estimates

Tobit regression

Coef.

t-stat

Coef.

t-stat

Coef.

t

Intervention

 

-1.824

-5.61***

-2.986

-2.37**

-2.160

-5.57***

Smoking

by

a

household

-0.003

-0.01

-0.014

-0.05

-0.085

-0.28

member (Dummy)

Distance from health facilities (in hours)

0.822

4.74***

0.999

3.87***

0.848

4.14***

Distance from motorable road head (in hours)

0.136

1.69*

0.156

1.79*

0.129

1.36

Total family size

 

-0.004

-0.06

-0.014

-0.19

-0.005

-0.07

Log of income (Rs. '000/year)

 

0.834

4.68***

1.000

3.95***

0.944

4.50***

Number

of

children

below

5

0.128

0.94

0.213

1.35

0.199

1.25

years

Number of adults above 60 years

-0.426

-1.92*

-0.521

-2.05**

-0.431

-1.66*

Chronic illness (Dummy)

 

2.367

2.72***

2.771

2.82***

2.757

2.73***

(Constant)

 

-0.314

-0.42

-0.877

-0.89

-0.960

-1.08

R square

 

0.1422

 

0.0856

Log

-874.114

 
 

likelihood

Adjusted R square

 

0.1224

 

0.0641

Sigma

2.708849

 

F

7.18***

 

3.99***

Pseudo R2

0.0302

 

Number of observations

 

400

   

Number of

   
 

400

observation

400

Note: *** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level

Table 7: Marginal Effects: Negative Binomial Estimates (Dep. Var.: Days lost due to Illness)

 

Regression

IV Estimates

dy/dx

z

dy/dx

z

Intervention

 

-10.491

-9.86***

-19.157

-2.86***

Smoking

by

a

household

member

0.314

0.24

0.696

0.46

(Dummy)

Distance from health facilities (in hours)

1.707

1.95*

2.873

2.14**

Distance from motorable road head (in hours)

-0.440

-1.07

-0.281

-0.57

Total family size

 

-0.217

-0.58

-0.448

-1.05

Log of income (Rs. '000/year)

 

2.399

2.63***

3.341

2.50**

Number of children below 5 years

 

0.767

1.12

1.216

1.42

Number of adults above 60 years

 

-0.539

-0.51

-1.486

-1.13

Chronic illness (Dummy)

 

7.045

1.04

13.371

1.25

Log likelihood

 

-1418.6568

-1424.5889

Lnalpha

-0.1492762

-0.0088178

Alpha

0.8613312

0.991221

Pseudo R2

 

0.0215

0.0045

Number of observations

 

400

394

Note: *** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level

Table 8: Determinants of Firewood Consumption – OLS and IV Estimates

 

OLS

IV Estimates

Coeff.

t-stat

Coeff.

t-stat

Intervention

-3.148

-10.39***

-4.815

-3.82***

Food other than regular food prepared (Dummy)

6.808

11.92***

6.497

9.69***

Total family size

0.511

8.47***

0.540

7.63***

Income (Rs. '000/year)

-0.103

-0.66

0.058

0.27

Use of other fuel (Dummy)

-2.325

-2.06**

-1.657

-1.24

Rain (Dummy)

-0.285

-1.16

-0.694

-1.65*

Stove used for heating purpose (Dummy)

-0.023

-0.13

0.142

0.62

Number of cooking sessions

1.743

13.25***

1.776

11.99***

Fuel collection time

0.049

0.58

0.005

0.05

(Constant)

-0.768

-0.81

-0.954

-0.89

R

square

0.6045

 

0.5162

 

Adjusted R square

0.5954

 

0.5048

 

F

66.24***

 

45.52***

 

Number of observations

400

 

394

 

a Dependent Variable: Total use of fuel a day (in kg.)

Note: *** significant at 1% level; ** significant at 5% level; * significant at 10% level

Source: Household Survey, 2006

Table 9: Summary of Cost and Benefits (in Rs.)

   

Perspectives

 

Headings

 

House hold (in Rs.)

Societal (in Rs.)

Costs

     

Cost of a smokehood

   

5000

(5000 + 150) x 640

Annual maintenance cost

   

100

100

x 640

Programme

cost

(excluding

support

for

 

-

2,850,870

smokehoods)

   

Benefits

     

-

Treatment cost saving

   

987

(987+375) x 640

- Day loss due to illness saving

 

1900

(19 days)

950

x 640

-

Annual

fuel

collection

time

saving

4000

(40 days)

2000 x 640

(Rs/Year)

   

-

Annual cooking hour saving (Rs/Year)

 

1050 (10.5 days)

525

x 640

Carbon dioxide (Rs./Year)

-

(CO 2 )

emission saving

 

-

962

x 640

Table 10: CBA Analysis – the Results

 

PRESENT

VALUE

NPV @ 12% Discount rate (Rs.)

   
 

Scenarios

 

(NRs)

IRR

B/C Ratio

 

COST

BENEFIT

From Household Perspective

           

With treatment cost (cash) saving only

5565

5577

12

12.06%

1.00

With health benefits only

 

5565

16312

10747

55.05%

2.93

Base Results (with total benefits)

 

5,565

44,846

39,281

156.73%

8.06

Sensitivity Results

           

Total Project cost increase by 20%

 

6,678

44,846

38,168

130.25%

6.72

Total

Project

benefits

decrease

by

         

20%

5,565

35,877

30,312

124.95%

6.45

Total

cost increase

&

benefits

         

decrease by 20 % each

6,678

32,713

26,035

94.37%

4.90

From Societal Perspective

           

Base Results

 

5,446,465

25,619,447

20,172,982

71.39%

4.70

Sensitivity Results

           

Total Project cost increase by 20%

 

6,535,758

28,270,192

21,734,434

64.59%

4.33

Total

Project

benefits

decrease

by

         

20%

5,446,465

22,616,153

17,169,688

61.51%

4.15

Total cost increase & benefit decrease by 20 % each

6,535,758

22,616,153

16,080,395

49.32%

3.46

Without CO2 saving benefits

 

5,446,465

21,369,420

15,922,955

57.46%

3.92