From theory to practice of change: lessons from SNV’s improved cookstoves and fuel projects in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal and Rwanda

This report compares the approach to cookstoves of SNV, the Netherlands Development Organisation, with evidence from the sector about how interventions can lead to market transformation. Case studies of improved cookstove and fuels projects in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal and Rwanda are analysed to examine the potential for successful scale-up and local market transformation. The aim is to understand the quality of SNV’s improved cookstove and fuel interventions in order to inform and improve future practice. There is growing awareness of the need to take a systems perspective to stimulate cookstove market transformation. A more holistic approach to cookstove interventions is emerging that combines efforts to understand users, link up actors, develop effective business models, and create an enabling environment. Many organizations are adopting this vision, but putting it into practice is not easy. It also takes time, as it requires partnerships and new modes of working. The case study analysis finds that a holistic approach to cookstove market transformation, including capacity-building activities, is common to all the programmes examined. It finds flexibility in the exact mode of engagement and technological focus in each country, determined by local contextual factors. Drawing on the case studies, three key features are found to characterise SNV’s cookstove programmes: emphasis on knowledge co-creation, commitment to trust-building, and freedom to adapt. This enables SNV to be a dynamic learning organization, willing and able to reflect and improve.