Positive Community Impact Liberia

SJedi  has partnered with Project Concern Intl and the international NGO ACDI/VOCA in an innovative project to integrate clean cookstoves into the ongoing Liberian Agricultural Upgrading, Nutrition Child Health (LAUNCH) Program.  This project will distribute over 500 stoves to communities currently partnered with PCI and ACDI/VOCA.

ACDIVOCA

III. Presentation of Activity in Program Description and Objectives

Objective 2: Reduce Chronic Malnutrition of Vulnerable Women and Children under Five

IR 2.3 Improved Prevention and Treatment of Maternal and Child Illnesses

Primary Objectives:

  1. Improve the preparation and preservation of enriched foods provided by the LAUNCH program
  2. Reduce stunting and respiratory diseases among PLW and children under two
  3. Reduce the money households spend on fuel and reduce time expended on fuel collection and food preparation

Secondary Objectives

  1. Complete a pilot testing of clean/fuel efficient stoves in selected communities
  2. Create a baseline assessment of staff capacity and allow all stakeholders to become acquainted with the system of grant proposal planning.

IV. Justification/Process

According to World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to smoke from inefficient traditional methods of cooking increases the risk of lower respiratory infections (e.g. pneumonia) in children and contributes to low birth weight and perinatal mortality.[1] These cooking methods, commonly used by our targeted mothers, have serious health implications to our targeted beneficiaries and could hamper LAUNCH’s potential impact.

In order to mitigate this hazard, LAUNCH proposes to test, with the possibility of scaling up, the use of fuel efficient/clean cooking stoves. After researching available clean cooking stoves in, and outside Liberia, we have identified one brand that offers both clean and fuel efficient benefits. PCI’s Grants Management Team has only been able to identify one Liberian company, SJEDI Green Energy (SGE), that offers tested, clean and fuel efficient stoves.  SGE, located in central Monrovia, imports and distributes Envirofit’s G 3300 wood burning stove. According to testing carried out by Colorado State University, the stove decrease CO2 by 65% and fuel usage by 50%. And due to the higher thermal production, cooking time is decreased by 50%.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find a clean burning stove manufactured in Liberia. UNHCR uses locally made small clay stoves in refugee camps in Nimba County; however, they do not significantly reduce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.

The first phase of this project consisted of researching the accessibility of clean/fuel efficient stoves, the feasibility of their use, and the benefits they can provide to LAUNCH’s overall objectives. A brief assessment was carried out in two Care Groups in Bong County to help our staff understand the types of stoves and cooking practices found in our targeted communities. After these assessments were complete and LAUNCH staff identified and researched the Envirofit stove, a sample purchased was made to allow for inspection by staff and sent for testing by Liberia’s EPA concerning safety, fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions (currently awaiting approval from EPA). After the research phase was completed, and the stoves were found to be accessible, safe and beneficial in achieving our goals, PCI staff targeted specific high preforming Care Groups in Bong County. The criteria which we used consisted of:

  • At least 10 lead mothers make up a Care Group
  • Care Groups meeting regularly (meet twice every month)
  • Care Groups are doing follow up and home visits with their households at the community level.
  • Lead mothers have health cards and are linking our beneficiaries with the nearest clinic.
  • Care Groups are giving health and hygiene messages to their household for behavior change purposes (BCC).
  • Some of the Care Groups are doing mini-saving activities in their household meeting they will collect 10 Liberian dollars each and give it to one member and this improves attendance with household meetings.[2]

Following this identification of beneficiaries and the approval for purchase, PCI’s Health and Nutrition Coordinators will meet with these targeted Care Groups to show and explain the cookstoves, and explain the Care Groups roles and responsibilities.These roles and responsibilities will include:

  • Care Groups must organize and lead demonstrations on proper cooking techniques utilizing LAUNCH distributed commodities.
  • Care Group members (with assistance from LAUNCH staff) will fill out a baseline form describing their normal cooking habits and fuel usage
  • Care Group members will fill out an evaluation form that will define the pros and cons of using the stove and at what price level, if any, this stove would be affordable by community members
  • Care Group members will hold cooking demonstrations on using non-traditional foods that could help diversify diets. “Food Diversity Cooking Classes” will be organized with non-traditional food being provided by LAUNCH. Care Groups will be encourage to experiment with different recipes using non-traditional, healthy foods that could be used as complimentary foods for children under 2.

After roles and responsibilities are defined and a MoU is signed, PCI will purchase and distribute the stoves and construct a schedule for Care Group deliverables. These deliverables (i.e. Cooking Classes) will be posted on LAUNCH’s Community Billboard located in the community. In addition, PCI health coordinators will be monitoring to ensure all responsibilities will be honored. The time frame for this initial test will be four weeks.

V. Monitoring and Evaluation

The Mini-Grant Coordinator will be in charge of monitoring and evaluation.  He will be assisted by the health/nutrition coordinator and health/nutrition officers. They will be charged with monitoring the Care Groups and to ensure they are carrying out their responsibilities. In addition, PCI staff will monitor the usage of stoves and the condition they are being kept. Care Groups will evaluate the stoves performance and usefulness at the end of the testing cycle.

VI. Intended Results

  • Increased attendance in cooking classes
  • Increased number of cooking classes
  • Improved preparation of enriched foods
  • Improved storage of enriched foods
  • Decrease in harmful cooking practices
  • Completed evaluation of the clean stoves
  • Enhanced staff capacity to write and manage mini-grants

VII. Sustainability

Due to the high cost of the stoves and our limited budget, we realize that the provision of stoves to all Care Groups may not be feasible nor will it be sustainable. The Grant Management staff is currently working on ways to work with SJedi to offer interested a micro-lending program, so the stoves are more affordable. We are also looking into ways to minimize shipping costs, which could cut the price from $60 to $20.

The stoves that UNHCR is using in Liberia are made of clay and are reported by the users not to be durable. These stoves only cost about two dollars they do not significantly reduce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.

VII. Sub-Grant Expenditure Summary (Budget)

Item Description Quantity Unit Cost No. of beneficiaries Total cost
Envirofit Clean Stoves 500 Pcs 60.00USD 50 lead mothers 30,000.00 USD

Notes: For more information on the Envirofit Stoves see:

http://www.envirofit.org/

[1]http://www.who.int/indoorair/health_impacts/disease/en/index.html

[2] Some criteria was not confirmed for this testing phase. The list serves as a standard for future selections.

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