Back 08.11.2010

A new project enhances climate change mitigation and local development in Ethiopia

Gaia will promote energy efficient cooking in social institutions in Ethiopia, contributing significantly to sustainable development.

Gaia’s project will install an energy efficient Rocket biomass stove in 100 school feeding centres and several universities and correctional facilities in Ethiopia, preparing food for thousands of people daily. The stove cuts biomass consumption by 70% and saves energy considerably. Learning from these concrete activities, this unique and innovative pilot project aims to develop a replicable model to utilise international carbon financing to create solid business setup to disseminate energy efficient stoves.

The environmental benefits that the project brings about are remarkable. Demand for fuel wood for cooking will reduce, followed by reductions in carbon dioxide emissions which cause climate change. The project will also combat degradation of the local environment: it reduces deforestation and de-stocking of forests and soil erosion, and promotes soil and water conservation and sustainable forest management. Studies indicate that forest cover in Ethiopia has declined from 40% to 2.4% over the past six decades.

At the same time, the project will improve the quality of life of local people. Since fuel wood is normally collected by children and women, new cooking stoves will reduce child labour, and children will have more time to allocate for studying. The Rocket stoves will also eliminate particularly women’s exposure to indoor air pollutants, which are a significant health problem.

The economic benefits of the project include additional income and new markets for small and micro enterprise stove producers in Ethiopia. The project promotes technology and skills transfer for sustainable technology and climate change. In addition, the social institutions involved in the project will benefit from reducing fuel budgets.

At present, practically all Ethiopian households and institutions use open fire wood fuels for cooking. The volume of wood used is enormous but the heat delivered is minimal. The total amount of wood consumed, estimated to be 50 million tonnes annually, makes up to 80% of the total energy consumed in the country and puts huge pressure on its natural resources. Open fire cooking also exposes people to great amounts of smoke, fire hazards and health problems.

The stove project, active in 2010–2011, is financed by the Nordic Climate Facility (NFC) which provides financing for climate related projects in eligible low-income countries. NCF is funded by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and jointly administered with the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO).

Gaia will implement the project with its Ethiopian partner Ethio Resource Group, which is a private consulting company. World Food Programme in Ethiopia and the Regional Bureau of Education of Afar region are associate partners to the project.

For further information:

  • Gaia / Pasi Rinne, Chairman of the Board, gsm +41 79 472 6909, firstname.surname(at)