Every year over 4 million people, mostly women and children, die due to air pollution caused by unhealthy cookstoves and other heat sources. On Tuesday, September 29, your Netherlands Embassy’s NL4WorldBank team, in close cooperation with the World Bank Group, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized the first ever Clean Cookstove Webinar to address this issue.
How it works
Geared towards the Dutch private sector, the webinar offered the participants the chance to pitch their companies’ cookstove or related product to a group of World Bank staff all working on cookstove projects across the world. Ronald Goldberg (IGG-KL), Private Sector Liaison Officer Commerijn Plomp (RVO) and Frank van der Vleuten (RVO) welcomed a group of about 15 participants in The Hague. Their in-person participation allowed for a pre-briefing, the opportunity to pitch during the webinar and a debrief afterwards.
With participants from both the Dutch Clean Cookstoves Coalition and the Global Cookstove Alliance, twenty people joined the webinar online, logging in from all over the world and being able to ask questions to all the participants through chat while watching the video connection between The Hague and Washington. In Washington, the World Bank’s global lead for cookstoves, Wendy Hughes, laid out the World Bank strategy in the field of cookstoves and stressed the need for the World Bank to learn from the private sector.
Dutch Private Sector
The Dutch cookstove sector, recognized by the World Bank as one of the best in the world, took the opportunity to shed a light on the various products on offer and the latest developments in R&D. SIMGas, for instance, has a cookstove that works on biomass, and is working on a biomass-fueled refrigerator to help keep milk cold, while Magic Mitad targets bakeries in Ethiopia to switch to its efficient cookstove. African Clean Energy (ACE) focuses on the household level in countries like Uganda and Lesotho, offering a wood fueled stove that also generates some electricity and can heat a house, a feature needed in countries with cooler climates.
Other companies, like BIX Fund, are focusing more on the financing-side of things: what mechanisms can we develop to allow the poorest of households to buy such devices that are currently prohibitively expensive for most? The diversity of products, approaches and expertise the various organizations brought to the table brought the World Bank staff up to speed, and helped them shape future projects and activities. At the same time, the Dutch organizations learned more about the World Bank strategy, the limitations and restrictions the World Bank faces, and how the private sector arm of the World Bank, the IFC, can perhaps help the Dutch organizations scale up their operations.
A new tool for assisting the private sector
The Clean Cookstove Webinar was a first trial of both the concept and equipment of such a webinar. Based on the initial responses on both sides of the ocean it passed with flying colors. The webinar offers an opportunity to Dutch organizations and the World Bank to get to know each other a better with a limited investment of time and money. Once it is determined there might be a good match between various parties, they can then further explore the possibilities of meeting in person in Washington or in project countries.
Those interested in learning more about the Clean Cookstove Webinar can listen to the audio recording.