The program is not an organization in itself, but rather a platform promoting various projects and activities with a basic philosophy focused on cooperation. AWASUKA was created in July 2015, after the earthquakes in Nepal. Its name comes from the Nepalese words Aawaas Sudhar Karyakram (Habitat Improvement Program). It has been developed by Amics del Nepal, Base-A and CCD (Centre de Cooperació i Desenvolupament de la UPC). In Nepal, through the Rotary Club of Kantipur and Agraagami.
The AWASUKA program always works from different lines of action and with a clear goal: to transmit knowledge to and to raise awareness among the inhabitants of the area regarding safe houses. This has been developed through the construction of antiseismic houses and smoke-free kitchens, as well as through raising awareness about water treatment.
To these mentioned lines of development we have to add a new one for this year 2020. AWASUKA is being undertaken in a heritage preservation project in the municipality of Bhimphedi, thus triying to stop the degradation and the enhancement of it.
You can find more information on AWASUKA’s website.
Smokeless kitchens /
In times of COVID, house has become the only safe place where humans can take refuge. After many years of experience making earthquake-resistant houses in rural Nepal, AWASUKA has ascertained that there is a much bigger problem: smoke from kitchens.
During 2019 AWASUKA and Practical Action collaborated in the installation of 333 chimneys in Makawanpur District. The social impact of installing one of these chimneys translates into:
In 2020, AWASUKA collaborates with El Camí de la Solidaritat to install 500 more chimneys and to be able to bring the project to more areas of Nepal.
Download Project Documents
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The eradication of smoke in kitchens contributes to three of the UN’s SDGS:
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being.
Exposure to PAH is the main risk factor for cardio-respiratory diseases.
SDG 5 – Gender Equality.
Enable women to participate more in the family economy and education.
SDG 13 – Climate action.
Reduce fuel consumption by 40-60%.
Why this kind of kitchen?
The model to be installed was designed by Practical Action in collaboration with Bosch-Siemens and some European universities., until it was perfected by AWASUKA. Each smoke-free kitchen is included:
1· Metal chimney, which comes out through the roof and, thanks to its design, prevents water from entering from the outside.
2· Funnel-shaped metal hood, which conducts the smoke by convection into the vertical duct.
3· Improved stone and clay stove, with 1, 2 or 3 burners and a design that improves combustion, contributing to a 40% saving in firewood.
The operation of this set is highly optimized: more than 90% of the smoke from the space is expelled to the outside, generating a clean and healthy environment inside, where mothers and children can cook without their health being affected by the smoke. The reasons for choosing this type of kitchen for remote rural areas are as follows:
- 100% acceptance of the beneficiaries. It perfectly fits into their culture and frees them from toxic gases.
- 40% time saving during firewood collection (due to the saving of firewood from the improved kitchen), which women can use in business or for study purposes.
- Lack of fuel alternatives. Electric cookers are not an option as only 17% of the population in Nepal has access to TIER 5 type electrification (needed for cooking) and, in addition, the supply is very unstable in remote areas.
- Biogas is not very widespread because it costs to implement, as maintenance is very difficult in remote areas. Gas bottles are expensive and difficult to transport, since the nearest passable road can be more than 3 hours away on foot. Therefore, firewood is the only alternative for biomass in remote areas. Nevertheless, the problem arises with the lack of ventilation, which is solved with the chimney.
The TOTAL price of a kitchen with fireplace (including materials, manufacturing and installation) is 100€. The families pay for 10% of the total amount and also collaborate in its construction — They collect the necessary materials for the improved kitchen (stones, water and clay) and transport the metal sheets from the nearest passable road to their homes.
AWASUKA program’s impact
- VISITED AND ANALYZED OVER 150 HOUSES . Study of traditional building systems in rural Nepal.
- TRAINED OVER 100 PEOPLE IN EARTHQUAKE-RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION. This training took place during the processes of prototypes’ construction (over 25) and houses (over 75), ranging from apprentices, roustabouts, masons and workers, to the beneficiaries themselves. Certificates delivered in July 2017.
- “CONFINED CONCRETE BLOCK” APPROVED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF NEPAL . Seismic-resistant construction system approved by the NRA (Nepal Reconstruction Authority).
- OWN REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM. . It improves the seismic-resistance of traditional Nepalese stone and mud architecture. Furthermore, it provides a perfect cultural and landscape adaptation.
- 20 EARTHQUAKE-RESISTANT HOUSES. These houses are equipped with seismic-resistant characteristics.
- 333 SMOKELESS KITCHENS. These are equipped with a fireplace and an improved kitchen. It also includes the corresponding sessions on raising awareness, which have impacted about 1000 families in the whole municipality of Bhimphedi (developed in 4 months).
- 100 BOTTLES OF CHLORINE SOLUTION. Distributed in remote areas, where training sessions on water treatment have been carried out, besides having risen awareness about fireplaces and smoke-free stoves.
- PARALLEL PROJECTS FOR THE CITY COUNCIL: the first satellite map of the municipality, waste management report, photo dossier of historical buildings, advice and advocacy for the preservation of historical heritage.
- 5 BROADCASTING VIDEOS. Videos on Safe Homes to be used in raising-awareness sessions.
- WEB AWASUKA AND FINAL MEMORY. Documents for the diffusion and dissemination of the acquired knowledge (over 20 downloadable documents).
2020 AWASUKA Team
Mònica Sans – Director
Anna Gonzalvo – Technical Director
TECHNICAL TEAM BARCELONA – PARIS
Architect Advisors: Pedro Lorenzo (Dr. in Architecture, Expert in Cooperation), Amaia Celaya (International Consultant UN-EU) and Montserrat Bosch (Professor at UPC and member of GICITED).
UPC architects: Carlota Gala, Pablo Castillo, Raquel Marcos and Mar de Castro
HEC Paris: Margot Lebourgeois, Elena Pompilio, Priyal Singh, Elisa Solà and Roger Solà.
Computing: Carles Turró (Computer Scientist and former athlete)
ISP/Website: Sergi Navarro (Cloutions)
NEPALESE TECHNICAL TEAM
Social driver and local coordinator: Hareram Pudassaini
Rotary Club contacts: Prabhat Yonzon (Kathmandu) and Ram Prasad Sharma (Hetauda)
Advisors: Min Malla (Practical Action – Katmandú) and Ram Magrati (MRC Hetauda)
You can find more information on AWASUKA’s website.