Freetown, 12 December 2019, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Cookstove and Charcoal Development Centre (CCDC) at Government Technical Institute (GTI) Freetown organised a stakeholder workshop at CCDC on the role of testing labs and implementation of standards for improving efficiency of charcoal use. The workshop was under the aegis of the UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) project - Energy Efficient Production and Utilization of Charcoal through Innovative Technologies and Private Sector Involvement in Sierra Leone (EEPUC) in partnership with Ministry of Energy (MOE). Energy access and cooking energy issues remain an important policy objective of Government of Sierra Leone and it is also directly relevant to achievement of global sustainable development goals and in particular Sustainable Development Goal # 7 (SDG7) on affordable and clean energy.
The stakeholder workshop was attended by participants from MOE, Sierra Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB), GIZ EnDev Mano River Union, GTI and UNDP. Derrick Kiwana from Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), Makerere University, Uganda was the facilitator of the workshop. Addressing the workshop Ms Tanzila Sankoh, Team Leader, Sustainable Growth Cluster, UNDP encouraged Ministry of Energy and Sierra Leone Standards Bureau to establish a national framework for testing and certification of charcoal stoves to encourage manufacturers to increase the efficiency of cooking devices and utilise the facilities at CCDC.
UNDP/GEF through the EEPUC project has supported the construction of a modern building to accommodate the laboratory for CCDC where test equipment for charcoal stove testing are being installed and commissioned with associated training and capacity building. During the workshop Derrick Kiwana also shared insights on how CREEEC established its cookstove laboratory as a leading test centre in East Africa over a period of 15 years, which could be emulated by CCDC. Mohammed Kamara, Director of the Renewable Energy Centre (REC) at GTI, outlined his plan to establish a governing board for CCDC consisting of MOE, SLSB, UNDP, GIZ EnDev etc. and to develop a plan for sustaining the CCDC over the longer term.
Abdul Fullah from SLSB supported the call for a national standard and establishing a national quality mark for cookstoves and expressed interest from SLSB to be involved in the process. Lamin Kamara from GIZ EnDev welcomed the establishment of the CCDC and also provided details of testing of cookstove which was carried out with EnDev support.
Winston Moore, lecturer at REC/GTI and one of the trainees, feels that the establishment of the test laboratory at CCDC allows him to use the facilities to work with local manufacturers to improve their products towards higher efficiency and lower emissions. He also sees such efforts directly benefitting his own family which currently uses an inefficient charcoal stove. Ms Hannah Kamara from assistant lecturer at REC/GTI and another trainee also sees the opportunity to use the facilities at CCDC to work with local manufacturers to design efficient charcoal stoves as well as improve existing designs. She felt empowered by the training and capacity building of CCDC staff supported by EEPUC project and believes she has the confidence to collaborate with local manufacturers.
The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) financed project - Energy Efficient Production and Utilization of Charcoal through Innovative Technologies and Private Sector Involvement in Sierra Leone (EEPUC) is supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by Ministry of Energy. The EEPUC project in addition to CCDC establishment is supporting energy and bioenergy policy making, financing schemes for renewable energy and providing training to local charcoal cookstove manufacturers on design and production of efficient stoves. Awareness campaigns will also be carried out on the benefits of efficient charcoal stoves. It is expected that these initiatives by the EEPUC project will move the local manufacture of cookstoves to be more capable to produce efficient charcoal stoves and also encourage urban households prefer efficient charcoal stoves, influencing the market. Such a transition to a more efficient charcoal value chain will result in climate benefits in terms of greenhouse gas mitigation and maintaining the forest cover in the country.