Energising Development (EnDev), a global energy access program operating in 20 countries, supports the provision of clean cooking and renewable energy technologies. The program has been supporting the promotion and dissemination of clean cooking solutions in Bangladesh since 2009. The majority of the people in Bangladesh cook with traditional biomass cookstoves which burn fuel inefficiently and cause indoor air pollution. According to a WHO estimate, over 100,000 people die each year in Bangladesh because of exposure to indoor air pollution. In addition, consumption of excess firewood due to use of inefficient traditional stoves contributes to deforestation and climate change.
EnDev has been supporting the promotion and dissemination of improved cook stoves with chimney known as Bondhu Chula, meaning friendly stove, through its implementing partner, Bangladesh Bondhu Foundation (BBF). So far, more than 3 million Bondhu Chula have been sold. They save not only money and firewood, but also produce significantly less smoke compared to traditional biomass stoves. Bondhu Chula are disseminated throughout the country by more than 6,000 local enterprises, which are partners of BBF.
Energising Development (EnDev) Bangladesh supports these enterprises, offers financial schemes to make the production and sale more attractive, and organizes trainings for maintenance and after sales staff known as the Bondhu Chula Doctors, the majority of whom are women.
Ms. Hasina Khatun is a Bondhu Chula Doctor, who lives with her husband in Satkhira district of southwestern Bangladesh. She is 47 years old. Her husband works as a day laborer. With their limited income, she and her husband struggled to meet their family needs. She then learned about the new initiative of BBF called Bondhu Chula Doctor program. Bondhu Chula Doctor would be self-employed.
Ms. Hasina received training and started working as a Bondhu Chula doctor. In addition to cleaning Bondhu Chula, she provides maintenance and after-sales service, and installs stoves. With her work, she earns on average 15,000 Taka per month (approximately Euro 150), a sufficient amount for a rural household in Bangladesh. She feels happy that she has already repaid her loan and is very satisfied with her role. She has been working as a Bondhu Chula doctor for 3 years and wants to carry on her work for a long time.
Between 2019 and 2022, over 3,000 Bondhu Chula doctors, such as Ms. Hasina, have been trained and are working in the field all over the country. This program has helped many disadvantaged women in the rural communities to not only become financially independent but achieve social recognition as well.
Zunayed Ahmed — Energy Advisor
Energising Development (EnDev)