In June 2016, the €2.3 million Improved Cookstoves Programme, implemented by SNV, Oxfam and ARMI, and funded by the European Union (EU) Switch Asia Programme, marked a milestone in the project — the production and sale of 100,000 ICS since the project began in 2013.
The ICS project and its stakeholders celebrated this major achievement on 10 June, with a public event at the new, popular, Vientiane Center Mall in downtown Vientiane. In the lead up to this event, ICS were for sale at a booth in the mall, and LED signs with the bright blue, easily recognisable ICS colour and superman logo advertised the event outside. 23 new customers chose to purchase stoves while visiting the mall throughout the week.
On the evening of 10 June, 50 registered guests joined the celebration, which was held in the main hall of the mall, and attracted at least double that number in passersby in addition to the registered guests. Donors, stove producers, project staff, partners, and other stakeholders gathered with snacks and drinks to announce the achievement, while journalists from Lao TV and newspapers covered the event. The highlight of the celebration for many was a Lao cultural dance performance by the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre, one of the project’s retailers, who were also recently accredited as stove producers. 35 lucky guests and passersby won raffle prizes, including ICS t-shirts, books, and other gifts.
The ICS programme has aimed at contributing to poverty alleviation in Lao PDR through the development of a sustainable consumption and production chain of fuel efficient ICS, which reduces the use of wood and charcoal and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. With the support of Nexus for Development, the programme aims to gain revenue from carbon finance to continue its activities over the coming years
Also as a part of the new Market Acceleration of Advanced Clean Cookstoves in the Greater Mekong Region project, clean cookstove models will be introduced to the Lao market with the aim of addressing health issues associated with smoke from cooking on wood and charcoal. This new project held a stakeholder meeting as a part of the project inception prior to the ICS celebration, and the participants joined the event to learn more about the positive uptake of greener cookstoves in Lao PDR.