Vientiane has just finished a series of high profile celebrations to commemorate 2015 as the 40th anniversary of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. One of the main events for this celebration was the Vientiane Expo, a showcase of products, projects, and innovations, which was held at the ITECC mall from 28 November to 7 December.
The EU-funded Improved Cookstoves (ICS) Programme participated in this exciting ten-day event at a booth in the EU-designated area, which exhibited a total of five different EU-funded projects. Improved cookstoves were on display, and enthusiastic staff from the project partners, SNV and ARMI engaged the audience with demonstrations and quizzes to explain how ICS save time and fuel compared to traditional stoves.
Many people came to the Expo to shop for their families, but high profile guests also visited the booths to get a taste of the products for sale. The ICS booth was pleased to welcome the Lao Vice President and EU Delegation. The Lao Prime Minister Excellency Thongsing Thammavong even stopped by to take a look at the ICS. The Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre, who were recently certified as ICS producers under an ADB-gender project, sold stoves during the event, and managed to sell 112 stoves to visitors interested in the benefits of using an ICS.
During the final week of the event, the ICS team organised the annual lucky draw. Customers have the opportunity to fill out a form at the shop with their name and in doing so, participate in a lottery. The purpose of this is twofold: both to generate excitement about buying ICS and to gather valuable customer data for monitoring purposed. Winners came from across the entire country, which proved that ICS users are not confined to only project provinces but are transported over large distances to meet an active demand.
The Improved Cookstoves (ICS) Programme has been running since 2013, and celebrated the production of its 50,000th cookstove in Lao PDR in July 2015.