Spotlight on India: National Meetings, New Partnerships, and Driving Demand
India was the location of much sector activity in October. In a continued effort to enable the national market for clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels, the Alliance took part in key sector meetings for general and targeted audiences and checked in with key supply-side partners to better understand how they are driving demand for their cooking technologies in local Indian markets.
CEO Radha Muthiah gave the keynote address at the annual India Clean Cooking Forum (ICCF) held in New Delhi. This two-day event featured an expanding group of partners and significant engagement by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Given the size and diversity of India’s population, collaboration with government is key to addressing the issue of clean cooking. Radha Muthiah presented a global perspective on clean cooking energy, outlined country priorities, and highlighted Alliance activities in India. Broad discussions at the Forum centered on developing the India roadmap for clean cooking with 2030 as the target. Additional talks centered on the challenges of scaling up production and distribution, with awareness and adoption of multiple types of fuels and cookstoves as important factors to be addressed. During the dinner associated with ICCF, Muthiah announced a strategic partnership with Tata Trusts together with Mr. R. Venkataraman, Executive Trustee of Tata Trusts who has recently join the Alliance’s Leadership Council.
The Alliance also participated in a public health meeting called by the World Health Organization (WHO) and presented research findings on the benefits of clean cooking on child survival. The WHO, UNICEF, John Snow, Inc., Micro Nutrients and others at the meeting agreed that this was a key issue and planned further discussions for creating awareness among policy makers at various ministries, and for consumers.
Following the Forum, Muthiah and the Alliance’s India Country Representative traveled to Udaipur to meet with BioLite, a 2015 Spark Fund grantee, and to interact with end consumers. The BioLite staff demonstrated their forced draft stove, and talked about the best ways to generate leads for new customers, and how to convert those leads to business. On a visit to two private homes of BioLite customers, stove-stacking appeared to be part of the daily cooking process. Although one woman had LPG, she was using the BioLite stove to occasionally cook a special type of local bread. A second customer did not have electricity in her house, therefore she was using the BioLite stove in the evening to cook, power an LED light, and charge her husband’s mobile phone. Situations such as stove stacking, and the energy needs at an individual level are issues the entire sector faces and are a key part of the Alliance’s efforts for behavioral change in India and worldwide.