Partner Spotlight: Kopernik: Serving the Last Mile
Smoking a ‘peace pipe’ traditionally seals a covenant or treaty — but can a smoke-free ‘peace stove’ also bring a community together?
In March 2013, Kopernik worked with local partner Institut Mosintuwu to introduce clean cookstove technology in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, where communities have been divided by religious conflict. We wanted to offer an affordable cookstove that would make life easier for women who usually cook over a three stone fire. The UB.03-1 Biomass Stove is a rocket stove designed by Dr Muhammud Nurhuda, a Muslim theoretical physicist from Java. The unintended consequence: a Muslim village was so impressed by Dr. Nurhuda’s stove they have now joined Institut Mosintuwu’s peace-building activities after years of declining to participate.
Kopernik is a technology marketplace for the developing world, connecting simple technologies with the people who need them the most.
We make life-changing technologies like solar lights, clean cookstoves and water filters available to people in the ‘last mile’ – the most remote parts of the developing world. Since launching in 2010, Kopernik has reached more than 110,000 people in 14 countries with technologies that have improved their quality of life.
By connecting local partners, technology producers and donors, we create opportunities for innovative technologies to reach the last mile, where they are sold at a locally affordable price.
In the past three years, we have distributed three different clean cookstove models in India, Indonesia and Timor-Leste, reaching more than 14,000 people. We work with locally-manufactured cookstoves where possible, such as the Greenway Smart Stove in India and the UB.03-1 Biomass Stove in Indonesia.
We aim to give people in the last mile a voice equal to consumers in developed markets. In Indonesia, we present different cookstove models at our Tech Fairs held across the archipelago, where women let us know which models they are interested in buying and how much they are willing to pay. After selling stoves through our local partners, we assess the impact, interviewing women about how they are using their stoves and how happy they are with the stoves’ performance. We also send SMS surveys for instant feedback from users in remote places.
Kopernik uses this feedback to work with cookstove manufacturers to improve the quality and affordability of their products, so that they can better meet the needs of their customers.
For example, in Lombok, Indonesia, our 2012 impact assessment identified concerns about the durability of the stove model we were distributing there. We responded by working with the stove manufacturer to improve the quality of the metal used to produce the stove. We also sent a field officer to provide additional training to communities in Lombok on how to use and maintain their stoves.
By creating a dialogue between our stove users, local partners and cookstove manufacturers, we have built trust within the communities where we work. This has led to their continued interest in distributing and using clean cookstove technology.
With the goal of improving access to clean cookstoves worldwide, we share the feedback we receive from cookstove users on our website to help other organisations make smart choices about cookstove technology.
We want to offer people in the last mile access to the most efficient and affordable cookstove models. Partnering with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a great opportunity for Kopernik to share and learn from the latest innovations in the clean cookstove field – from developing and distributing the technology to measuring the impact.