This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The Gains and Losses of Local Participation in Stove Projects: Insights from the Field
Temilade Sesan | Institute for Science and Society | University of Nottingham UK
Solid biomass – charcoal, wood, dried leaves, twigs, animal dung, shrubs – is the main source of cooking fuel for more than 70% of the population in subIntroduction Saharan Africa
Improved stoves: rational solutions to ‘irrational’ problems?
Participation aids development of appropriate technology
Participation: theory vs. practice
• Aims to increase the involvement of socially and economically marginalised people in decision-making • Enhances social, political and economic freedom for individuals • Little evidence of empowerment • Low rates of technology adoption • Questioning assumptions: who gets to participate, how, and to what ends?
1. Selection process and criteria
Selection process and criteria
• Women groups are main point of entry • Only a few groups selected out of scores • Only a few individuals selected from within the groups • Uneven participation platform practically inevitable? • Unequal distribution of empowerment opportunities tends to favour more ‘powerful’ individuals
2. Content of participation
Content of participation
• Technical participation = training in stove manufacture and marketing • One-way information flow exemplifies ‘banking’ model of learning • Limited actual input of local citizens in terms of process planning and project implementation • Limited participation cause and effect of low levels of empowerment?
3. Participation – a local priority?
Participation – not Nota local priority?
• Local views and expectations of participation may differ from those of organisations • Pre-fieldwork: I suggested political participation was essential for empowerment • Post-fieldwork: realities of subsistence livelihoods make this complicated to achieve • ‘Demand-driven’ participation unsustainable in the absence of motivating factors • Economic, social and cultural disincentives
4. The politics of participation
The politics of participation
• Internal politics within groups and communities may hinder empowerment • Expressions of identity and membership can impact positively or negatively on project outcomes • Cultural dictates may place restrictions on women’s ability to participate in projects • Group dynamics tend to reinforce inequalities
• The fuelwood problem is not unilateral in nature and should not be addressed as such • It is inextricable from the totality of people’s lived experiences in relation to issues such as poverty and food insecurity • Technically defined solutions that ignore this interconnectedness will be problematic • A more comprehensive approach to conception and design of stove projects is needed