The best kitchen

Worldwide 2.7 billion people rely on traditional combustion of wood and other biomass for cooking and heating with consequent indoor air pollution. The World Health Organization estimates that 3.5 million people die prematurely each year for this reason.

In the small, mountain kingdom of Bhutan, the Dazin cooperative provides households with fuel and smokeless stoves as an affordable, reliable and renewable cooking energy solution. Kinlay Dukpa, head of one of the beneficiary families said, “My family has cooked on an open fire all of my life. We had to collect wood every three days from the forest. The smoke made us cough and irritated our eyes. Now, as member of Dazin, I only need to go to forest once a week and at the same time enjoy a smokeless cooking fire. I also like the taste of the food on the new stove!”

The households use leased stoves and “fuel cookies” (small and efficient briquettes made by compressing forestry wood waste) received in exchange for forestry wood waste, collected and delivered to Dazin’s collection points.

Tshering Tumang, an asthma patient said “We couldn’t afford to use LPG gas regularly for cooking and the doctor had advised me to stay away from open fire smoke. The clean cooking has improved my life: no more smoke, black walls and eye irritation. We are saving $3 every month because we don’t have to go to the city to purchase gas. I can also cook more quickly than before.”

Due to the efficiency of stoves and briquettes a surplus quantity of briquettes is created and may be sold in cities: the income is enough to distribute the remainder in rural areas for free and to cover wood processing machinery costs in local factories.

Nearly 300 people are benefiting from this project and the number is increasing day by day.

Dazin (a Bhutan social enterprise)