The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-Lab, the Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), and the Centre for Integrated Research and Community Development Uganda (CIRCODU) to host an International Development Design Summit for cookstoves innovation in East Africa. Closing today, the IDDS Cookstoves East Africa was an intense, three-week, hands-on design experience to co-create and improve technologies to address the health and environment challenges faced by the three billion people who cook food with traditional cookstoves or open fires.

IDDS Cookstoves brought together participants from East Africa countries with user-centered design and innovation expertise, research and development findings, manufacturing know-how. Participants worked in testing facilities, as well as engaged with local communities and cookstove users to aid the design process, which is informed by feedback on both performance and usability of the stoves.

“As a supervisor and CEO of my enterprise I am now so much better informed on how cookstove testing is done,” said Betty Ikalany, CEO of Appropriate Energy Saving Technologies (AEST) Limited Uganda. “Attending the Summit has helped put me in a better position to better support my team, and I’m already exploring new ideas to redesign and improve the performance of my company’s cookstove.”

The Summit sought to bring a diverse set of participants together to develop scalable technologies that are high performing, affordable and designed to meet user needs.  The workshop also helped catalyze an innovative mindset, so stove entrepreneurs like Betty and others see opportunities to improve their technologies and processes, and see the impossible as possible. 

The closing ceremonies of the Summit is taking place at the Kulika Training Centre today, and is expected to be attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac.

Throughout the Summit, participants worked closely with local community members to learn more about how challenges in Kampala may be addressed with low-cost technologies and systems. From that knowledge, participants built and tested a cookstove prototype to address a problem presented by the community. At the close of the summit, the prototypes were shared with the community for further use and testing.

“The Summit helps change the mindset of participants, to help people feel more empowered to innovate,” said Juliet Kyayesimira from Centre for Integrated Research and Community Development CIRCODU) Uganda. “This will help influence their ongoing management of their businesses, moving from “innovation is not possible because resources aren’t available and people can’t afford innovative technologies” to “innovation is just what is needed when resources are limited and can be the way to improve technologies.”

After the Summit

At the close of the summit, this year’s participants will have access to networks, training, and funding opportunities to continue the innovation through the IDIN Network.

The summit was funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s US Global Development Lab and the Department for International Development.