SNV Ethiopia has been implementing the Integrated Renewable Energy Services Project (IRES) in four regions: Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations Nationalities and peoples region (SNNP).
This is a 2-year pilot programme funded by the Netherlands government to increase the productivity and incomes of small medium enterprises engaged in the production of improved clean cookstove and clean fuels. The programme aims to reach 75,000 people a total of 15,000 households. To realise this goal, SNV has partnered with Alternative Energy Development and Promotion Directorate under the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy.
Since its inception the project has achieved the distribution of 13,500 improved cookstoves in Ethiopian households through training of 20 women groups manufacturers and 20 youth and women groups promoting improved cookstoves at household level, as well as strengthening the skills of 40 SMEs.
The sustainability of cookstove programmes is dependent on private sector involvement through demand creation of energy technologies at the grassroots level. Energy entrepreneurs need encouragement to take up this challenge to meet the growing demand. To strengthen the improved cookstove value chain, the integration of women is key as they are the direct users of the stove. This results in women empowerment, job creation and a sense of satisfaction to users.
"We started this women's group to create jobs for ourselves in ICS. We have manufactured 175stoves and we earn 300 –500 Birr per month. Our lives have been transformed", a spokesperson for the Oromia women's group explain.
Reaping multiple benefits
SNV's intervention has been a source of income for women's groups who now have access to micro finance and soft loans. In addition, the training in business skills has allowed them to run their businesses effectively.
Strengthening SMEs: Mr Belidu is an entrepreneur based in Amhara. His business involves the production of improved briquette stoves and briquettes. Since working with SNV, his sales have increased by 60%, he has increased his staff from three to 13, expanded his business, and earned more income. “SNV has grown my business by providing the right linkages to expand my market” Mr Bedilu, ICS SME owner, Amhara, Ethiopia