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The International Institute of Energy Conservation is reaching the end of Phase II in this very successful project that promotes awareness of LPG in low-income households. This phase of the project, currently funded by USAID, has involved the practical demonstration of LPG as a more healthy and environmentally friendly cooking fuel.


The field-workers are drawn from the pilot communities…


IIEC works closely with ten community members, who live in the pilot communities of Orange Farm and Fine Town, which are townships in Region 11, Gauteng. These people are respected within their communities (some are already health-workers) and, as the project’s field-workers, have conducted the practical demonstrations of LPG in a variety of locations accessed by the public. All the field-workers have been trained by Simon Moahloli of LPGSASA. This training was provided free of charge and gave the field-workers the necessary confidence to perform their duties.

                                       
LPG demonstration equipment…




In order to carry out the demonstrations, IIEC needed to have access to a range of LPG cooking equipment. We were most fortunate that CADAC donated portable cylinders, 2-ring stoves and cooker tops for our use. At a later date, Safety Gas and Easigas were able to donate a sample of their newly developed cooker tops designed specifically for the low-income market.



Promoting LPG awareness in low-income households…

In total, the IIEC – LPG project was able to conduct eleven practical demonstrations. These took place at clinics, schools, retail businesses and public events.





The demonstrations promote the ease and simplicity of cooking with LPG. The field-workers also explain the health benefits and answer any questions put to them by the interested public. These same participants are then encouraged to have hands-on experience by lighting the LPG for themselves. Since fear of LPG remains a major barrier to its acceptability, this approach is particularly effective.









The IIEC - LPG project has also lent LPG cooking equipment to 15 households, providing them with the opportunity of testing out LPG on a longer-term basis. The success of the IIEC - LPG project is evidenced by the fact that the local community has shown great enthusiasm and support for our work by requesting that we attend community events and activities. On one such occasion, the project was invited to set up a marquee at the Orange Farm Social Development Services community day. At this event, we were able to provide tea and popcorn for those members of the public attending as well as undertake effective practical demonstrations of the LPG cooking equipment.



Highlights of our awareness creation programme…

                              
                                                                         One particular highlight occurred when the IIEC - LPG project was honoured with an invitation to demonstrate the benefits of LPG use at Thuthukani Tswelopele Primary School in Fine Town. The school was holding an inauguration celebration; 10 years of its existence coinciding with 10 years of democracy in South Africa. This was a prestigious occasion indeed, attended by 300 of the school’s current intake, their proud parents and all the local dignitaries of the township.




The IIEC - LPG project’s contribution to the event was two-fold; we assisted with the feast by providing LPG cooking equipment and our project field-workers premièred their drama about the health benefits of using LPG in the home (see below). The official opening of the Thuthukani Tswelopele Primary School was a fine celebration and we were fortunate to have been invited to play such a vital role.



IIEC has been able to effectively engage with the local community and we feel privileged to have been able to come so close to the people living in the townships within which we are promoting LPG. A fine example of this relationship is shown by our invitation to a traditional Zulu wedding celebration held in Orange Farm; the project was again able to promote LPG through providing the fuel and cooking equipment for yet another superb feast!


The demonstrations have shown that they are a powerful means of engaging the public; the field-workers have collected a substantial data-base of contact details from local people who would like to find out more about purchasing and using LPG. It now becomes imperative to build on this interest by devising ways to improve the accessibility and affordability of LPG.



A drama promoting LPG…

 

The field-workers have devised a short performance that aims to raise awareness of the benefits to householders of using LPG in an entertaining and informative way. This drama was premièred at the official opening of Thuthukani Tswelopele Primary School and was very well received, judging by the rapt attention of the audience!


We hope to develop this performance further and “roadshow” it around the township communities.