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The Improved Cookstoves (ICS) programme aims to develop the cookstove market by enhancing the performance of all the actors in the ICS value chain: producers, retailers, testing agencies and users). ARMI, the Lao not-for-profit association, manages activities such as training, knowledge exchange, and monitoring. The programme promotes the ICS stove that uses up to 20% less wood and charcoal than traditional stoves (such as the Tao Lai and Tao Dam).

As a result of the ICS programme, the producers can now manufacture more stoves and of higher quality. The stoves are sold by retailers following an effective marketing and sales strategy. Through village workshops and Lao Women’s Union's demonstrations at local festivals, users are becoming aware of the advantages of ICS over traditional stoves. The programme aims to see 420,000 ICS stoves sold and used over an eight-year period. At the end of 2015 78,000 ICS had already been sold.

Promotional activities are organised with local partners such as the Lao Womens’ Union where three cookstove testing laboratories have been established under the Ministry of Science and Technology to test stoves according to internationally recognised protocols. The testing of stoves is important to ensure quality and efficiency. This initiative is financed by the EU SWITCH-Asia programme in partnership with SNV, Oxfam and the Blue Moon Fund. In the long run, carbon financing will make the ICS programme self-sustaining.

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Bastiaan Teune

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Prakash Ghimire

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