Why we do it
Imagine a day in a house full of toxic fumes. You feel choked, exhausted and helpless to change the situation. This nightmare is the living reality of 3 billion people worldwide for traditional stoves are the only available medium to cook food. Statistics suggest that in the developing countries, health impact of indoor air pollution far outweigh those of outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution from solid fuels accounts for 2 million premature deaths per year.
What we do
We introduced our very own low cost stove, an Index award winner cook stove originally designed by Philips and adapted by us for Rural India. This design optimizes solid fuel consumption, increasing efficiency by 66% and achieving very low smoke output. This stove is manufactured by women from the community itself. These women also market and install the stove in the households of the community, helping to disseminate the smokeless solution.
How we do it
We adopt pure entrepreneurship model. Each new women entrepreneur invests to purchase the mold which is recovered from the profits of the first few stoves sold. To make the raw material affordable for these women we came up with new cheaper cement composition for manufacturing, we improved the stove designs to remove all redundant parts and started placing bulk orders for raw materials from local suppliers. Through these efforts we brought down the selling price of our stove by 41% and increased the margin of profit by 50% per stove. Also to transform women from inexperienced laborers to business owners, we teach them basics in accounting, managerial and other skills.
Rural women are taught the skills of business and marketing directly. They are empowered greatly in the sense that their confidence levels sore high and they become willing to take on risks in their life. For example, without help, our first women entrepreneurs are looking forward to start the handicraft business.
The stove is designed in such a way that it reduces the smoke content. Soot collectors are used to reduce particulates in the smoke. This brings down the associated ecological cost of cooking significantly.
Women entrepreneurs are provided with an alternative income source through the sales ofthese stoves. They earn Rs. 300 for every stove sold.