Project Everest


[Problem]: Fuel Timor July 2019

Lean Phase: Problem

As of 17th July 2019, PEV has conducted over 200 empathising sessions within the Timorese community, giving further clarity on problems experienced by these communities and how they relate to SDGs. Action is currently focused on making sales so that we can assess the impact of the Seguru Stove.

Big picture:

The UN Sustainable Development Goals that we want to address in this project include good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, climate action and life on land.

The problem of smoke inhalation and related health effects is present in Fiji where the rocket stove was piloted for PEV.

Problem Statement: The Timorese people feel concerned when they experience ill health effects from smoke in their home. The Timorese people feel time-poor or stressed about money when they use lots of firewood during cooking which is costly and burdensome to collect. 


Problem Experienced in Timor-Leste

Inefficient burning of biomass contributes to carbon emissions and releases excessive quantities of smoke containing soot and carbon monoxide, which is 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 the 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 primary 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 the wet season when all the deadwood is too saturated to burn and has helped bring sustainability into the forefront of the 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 the 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 have to 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 the wet season. Even in Dili, people have expressed concern with the amount of firewood they go through and the time and cost constraints associated with this. 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 paid 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 the purchase and acts as an incentive for customers to invest. 


Quantified Data:

Quantitatively, the Fuel team has successfully empathised with over 250 families within Dili and its surrounding communities. Over 200+ families use an open-fire cooking method and firewood as their source of fuel. This data has been recorded in the “Fuel Bible” created by the Dec-Jan-Feb Fuel Team and linked here:

Next moves:

To further validate the problem, it is necessary that PEV monitor buyers of the stove and non-buyers of the stove on key metrics. Proposed metrics to measure our stove’s impact are (1) Quantity of wood used per week, (2) How long they take to cook (taking favourite dish as baseline), (3) How often they experience coughing / breathing issues around cooking [Scale of 7], (4) Whether they still use the stove (alluded to by asking what cooking method they currently use). Comparing these metrics against a community where the stove has not been introduced (or individuals who do not have the Seguru stove), and a community where the stove is widely used (or individuals who have prolonged usage of the Seguru stove) will allow us to determine whether changes to these metrics are created by the UVP of the stove itself, or natural changes that would occur within Timor-Leste anyway.

As such, a significant amount of sales on the stove must be made before this testing will become feasible.


OLD Problem (Black Label) Crowdicity Post - DECEMBER 2018:

Tagged users
edited on 30th July 2019, 23:07 by Lucy Preiss

Wade Tink Jul 26, 2018

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 Jul 26, 2018

Status label added: Problem

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Lucy Preiss 3 months ago

Thanks for this edit Paul! In December, it would be good to see more stats from the Fuel Bible and from the Impact Experiment being pulled out and used to validate claims being made in this post.

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