According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves , a United Nations sponsored non-profit foundation dedicated to promote cooking solutions in different developing countries, Colombia has a very limited market for clean cook-stoves and household solutions. On the contrary, countries such as Peru, Mexico and Honduras have been developing related programs sponsored by the government and the private sector.
Although at the current moment in Colombia 75% of the 11.5 million homes are located in urban areas, a large part of the population both rural and urban has no access to energy services and 45% of the population lives below the national poverty line.
Today in Colombia about two million people use firewood as their main energy source. According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE, ECV, 2013), the Pacific region is the area with the highest firewood consumption. An average of 61% households in Colombia use biomass as an energy source for cooking; just in the Orinoquía region there is a 57% consumption rate and the Caribbean it is as high as 48%.
The World Bank has estimated that the cost of health impacts due to the use of firewood as fuel, is greater than US$464 million. On top of that, its use contributes with 2% of the global GHG emissions (IPCC), indoor air pollution and/or intramural and forest degradation caused by the unsustainable firewood use. (Colombia: Environmental health in Colombia: An Economic assessment of health effects, World Bank 2012)
Despite the statistics, the use of firewood as fuel remains very high in Colombia; this is in great part due to the government, the private sector and the fact that consumers have not given the topic the appropriate relevance and priority. In addition, due to the easy access to natural gas in urban regions, the initiatives related to the promotion of improved clean cook stoves are very limited.
The developed initiatives in Colombia that seek to promote clean cook-stoves have been implemented by autonomous corporations such as CORNARE, NGOs such as the Natura Foundation and as in the case of Ecopetrol, with large enterprises in the form of environmental compensation and reforestation efforts.
However, it is important to mention that the projects that have encouraged the installation of clean cook-stoves in Colombia characterize themselves as being paternalistic and do not analyze the economic characteristics and the realities each independent beneficiary faces.
Furthermore, user preferences are not taken into account in order to develop technologies that are easily adaptable by the communities and maintenance/repair service centers for clean cook-stoves have not been established.
Currently, available improved stoves on the Colombian market are very expensive. The price ranges in the USD$400 range, plus extra transportation costs that can ultimately leave it at a total value of USD$700.
In terms of materials and design, the existing technologies do not take into account the cultural and environmental context of different Colombian regions, hindering a proper adoption of the technology.
In order to reduce the impact of firewood use in the Tropical Dry Forest and its population, Patrimonio Natural , a colombian fund working towards the conservation of protected areas, has developed a co-created cooking model with the Caribbean community. The most important features that give added value to this new product is its collective design process and the finished product, which allows the customer to expand his stove over time, adapting to changes that will occur in the family dynamic and both their economic and their savings capacity. All of this leads to the implementation of the stove effectively addressing two key aspects: the "Usability" and the “Microfinance” within its design.
These aspects positively influence in the appropriation of the stove by the user, as it not only meets the demands of efficiency but also touches upon different social, economic, cultural and regional dynamics.
During this whole process, Patrimonio has learned that when a program offers welfare by thinking in people necessities, they tend to become aware of their own environment and the importance of protecting their natural resources and biodiversity.
As long as we as a human community keep in mind that while we provide welfare to our less privileged communities that depend directly from our forests and that are the ones more affected by climate change, they will feel more encouraged to protect and preserve our biodiversity resources.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY, NOT FROM KOMPAZ: