Partner Spotlight: GERES Cambodia
This month, I’m taking a different approach to our partner spotlight by writing about one of our partners. That’s because I recently had the opportunity to visit a few of GERES Cambodia’s production facilities outside of Phnom Penh during my trip last month in advance of the Clean Cooking Forum 2013.
GERES Cambodia is part of the French NGO GERES – the Renewable Energies, Environment and Solidarity Group. They have been active in Cambodia since 1994, working on environmental sustainability and livelihood issues and, since 2003, have promoted the production, adoption, and use of improved cookstoves among the Khmer people.
In fact, one week before my arrival GERES Cambodia celebrated the sale of its 2 millionth cookstove.
My first stop was Mr. Phun Sophal’s production facility in Kampong Chnnang province, where I saw a number of men and women at work during the multi-step production of the New Lao Stove (NLS).
I learned about the versatility of rice rusks, which are abundant in a country like Cambodia. In addition to serving as a liner in the NLS stove, the rice husks also expedite the drying of cookstoves as they are fired in the kilns. One kiln at Mr. Phun’s facility can complete 370 cookstoves in 24 hours, requiring 70 bags of rice husks for each firing.
From the cement making to the detailed work of creating ash holes to firing the cookstoves to lining and completing them, it is clear that the production of the NLS requires attention to detail, expertise, and is an employment boon for the region. In total, about 3,000 people work in the cookstoves sector in Kampong Chnnang province alone.
I also had the chance to visit a testing center, demonstrating that GERES Cambodia plays a holistic role in the cookstoves value chain, being involved in production, testing, quality control, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing, and monitoring cookstove adoption and use.
GERES has also supported the creation of ICOPRODAC, the association of producers and distributors of improved cookstoves in Cambodia. T he association is currently comprised of 253 independent producers and distributors from 11 provinces, meeting quarterly to strengthen the cookstoves market in the Kingdom. They also support a credit cooperative, which helps make microloans available among the manufacturers.
GERES Cambodia is serving as the in-country co-host of the upcoming Clean Cooking Forum 2013 in March, and I believe they will have a great deal of knowledge to share with the Forum participants as they also meet and learn from other sector actors from around the world.
I would like to thank the GERES Cambodia team for their hospitality and for making my trip an informative one!
To learn more about GERES Cambodia, visit www.cambodia.geres.eu.