[Problem]: Fuel Timor July 2018

Completing over 50 empathising session in communities of Timor Lesté has helped to give the Fuel Team a thorough idea of the problems experienced by communities, and how they relate to sustainable development goals (SDG) and our overriding purpose.

 Inefficient burning of biomass contributes to carbon emissions and releases excessive quantities of smoke containing soot and carbon monoxide, which is a toxic and contributes to large numbers of ongoing respiratory diseases and premature death. Alongside the Fiji Rocket Stove project, one of our goals coming into project was aligned with the SDG to improve worldwide health and wellbeing. During our time in Timor-Leste we have seen ample evidence of the “three stone firepit” method being used as the primarily cooking option because of its affordability and the “deliciousness” or smoky flavour it provides. Furthermore, we have found other harmful pollutants including plastic are regularly used as a fire accelerant. Though there is a basic understanding of the health issues associated with smoke in households, who identify coughing and headaches as an issue, we have seen little evidence there is understanding of how smoke can contribute to ongoing severe health issues. Despite this, it is important to note that households often refer to their preference to cook with wood for the “deliciousness” or flavour it provides. 

 Another issue identified was the negative impacts on sustainability from current fuel use. The Minister of Environment has recognised this to be a big issue recently in Timor Leste, introducing laws to restrict cutting down trees for use of firewood. This proves difficult in Wet season when all the dead wood is too saturated to burn, and has helped bring sustainability into the forefront of conversation. From our experience we have found it is difficult to convey the larger effects of burning biomass from a global climate change perspective. Seemingly very few of the general public have an understanding of how reduction of biodiversity, and high carbon dioxide output from households will further impact weather patterns and global warming. Instead, the problem for our customer segment is much more related to the lack of availability of firewood. With the new laws introduced, collecting firewood during the wet season has become a much more difficult and time consuming process.  When speaking to farmers in semi-rural Dare they expressed concern for this, having to now buy firewood during Wet season instead of sourcing their own. 

 When empathising with communities the issue of time and effort required to source and collect firewood is regularly identified. Many households in Hera have to travel over thirty minutes to an area where they can source firewood, or travel to a purchase it. In many instances, such as the farming families we spoke to in Hera, they rely on a truck borrowed from a family member or friend to transport firewood and are limited to one trip a week. This time consuming process continues with the lighting of the fire every time cooking is required, made difficult with saturated wood during wet season. To alleviate this with a more available product, or reduced firewood consumption, would allow more time to be allocated towards other useful activities such as education or payed work. 

Most importantly for our customers cost and financial limitation remains the most influencing factor in decision making. Those we have spoken to almost always opt for the most affordable option, or refer to how their purchases are restricted financially.  By successfully addressing the other problems identified above we hope to create a product with value that justifies purchase and acts as an incentive for customers to invest. 

edited on 6th September 2018, 00:09 by Justin Hakeem

Wade Tink 10 months ago

Gold! Only thing I would ask is how they describe the problem in their words? What is the key pain around how they experience this problem and the emotions used to describe that will drive your marketing within your channels to grab their attention initially and then the value proposition will enable you to gain sales.

Breaking this section up into "Problems ie. Pains in relation to the customer segment" and "Current alternate solutions" would be great.

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Wade Tink 10 months ago

Status label added: Problem

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