AWASUKA Program

AWASUKA is a cooperation program that has always been faithful to this definition, both in its projects and in its way of operating. The program is not an organization in itself, but a knowledge platform promoting various projects and activities, from which other entities and organizations can benefit in order to implement them.

AWASUKA started in July 2015, after the earthquakes in Nepal, and its name was created 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 in Kathmandu; and a local agricultural cooperative Agraagami has hosted Bhimphedi’s lines of credit.

The AWASUKA programme always works from different lines of action, with a clear objective: to transmit to the inhabitants of the area knowledge and awareness of safe houses. This has been developed through the construction of antiseismic houses, smoke-free kitchens and awareness of water treatment.

The construction of houses has been the longest and most complex part of the programme, following different stages: analysis of the local architecture, construction of prototypes, and construction and reinforcement of houses.

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 Bhimhedi, thus trying to stop the destruction of ancient buildings and to highlight the heritage, culture and architectural and construction techniques characteristic of the municipality.

You can see more information on AWASUKA’s website


AWASUKA’s program Impact

  • MORE THAN 150 HOUSES VISITED AND ANALYZED. Study of traditional building systems in rural Nepal.
  • MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE TRAINED IN EARTHQUAKE-RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION. During the processes of construction of prototypes (25+) and houses (75+), ranging from apprentices, labourers, masons, 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). Developed to be adapted to the rural environment and currently available throughout the country for everyone to implement. It is a very simple construction technique to build, fast and economical.
  • OWN REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM. The system, a combination of different reinforcement techniques, is very simple, economical and effective. It improves the seismic-resistance of traditional Nepalese stone and mud architecture and enjoys a perfect cultural and landscape adaptation.
  • 20 EARTHQUAKE-RESISTANT HOUSES. Equipped with seismic-resistant characteristics: prototypes, new houses and reinforced houses, where the various construction systems developed have been put into practice.
  • 333 SMOKELESS KITCHENS. Equipped with a fireplace and an improved kitchen. It also includes the corresponding awareness sessions, having impacted about 1000 families in the whole municipality of Bhimphedi (developed in 4 months).
  • 100 BOTTLES OF CHLORINE SOLUTION. Distributed in remote areas, including training sessions on water treatment, done together with awareness raising on 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 awareness sessions. Together they have more than 20,000 visits on Youtube, Block Wood gold Stone being the leader with 16,000 views.
  • WEB AWASUKA AND FINAL MEMORY. Documents for the diffusion and dissemination of the knowledge acquired, with more than 20 downloadable documents.

Smokeless kitchens. 2020 Project

In times of coronavirus the house has become the only safe place where humans can take refuge. But not everyone in the world has a safe house. After many years of experience making earthquake-resistant houses in rural Nepal, Awasuka has found that there is a much bigger problem: smoke from kitchens, also called “the silent killer”. Inhalation of toxic gases causes chronic lung diseases that make rural communities more vulnerable to coronavirus and other equally serious infections.

While the earthquake killed 9,000 people in 2015, toxic fumes from kitchens kill 24,000 people prematurely each year. Mostly women and children (WHO 2019). This is why Awasuka has focused its priority on the installation of stoves with chimneys, as the optimal solution to eradicate smoke from kitchens.

During 2019 Awasuka and Practical Action collaborated in the installation of 333 chimneys in Makawanpur District.

AWASUKA – PRACTICAL ACTION | Chimneys in Bhimphedi Municipality

In the year 2020, Awasuka collaborates with El Camí de la Solidaritat to install 500 more chimneys and to be able to scale up the project to more areas of Nepal.

DOWNLOADS: Project Documents

Sustainable Development Goals – SDGS

The eradication of smoke in kitchens contributes to three SDGS (Sustainable Development Goals):

SDG 3 – Health and Welfare.

Exposure to PAH is the main risk factor for diseases such as: childhood pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, ischemic heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. It is also related to increased risk in neonatal health: fatal delivery, low weight and decreased lung function.

SDG 5 – Gender Equality.

Reducing the time spent collecting firewood and cooking allows women to spend more time with their children and improve their economic or educational opportunities.

SDG 13 – Actions for the Climate.

Short-term climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane (CH4), as well as other greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2), are emitted due to incomplete combustion of fuels, such as when cooking over open fires or with inefficient stoves. Improved stoves can reduce fuel consumption by 40-60%, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions.

The total price of a kitchen with fireplace (including materials, manufacturing and installation) is 100 Euros. The families pay 10% of this 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 home.

Why this kind of kitchen?

The model to be installed was designed by Practical Action 10 years ago, in collaboration with Bosch-Siemens and some European universities. It was later tested and refined in the field and finally Awasuka introduced some additional improvements. Every smoke-free kitchen comes with it:

Metal chimney, which comes out through the roof and, thanks to its design, prevents water from entering from the outside;

Funnel-shaped metal hood, which conducts the smoke by convection into the vertical duct;

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 suffering the effects of smoke on their health. The reasons for choosing this type of kitchen for remote rural areas are as follows:

  • 100% acceptance of the beneficiaries. It fits perfectly 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.
Education of household head by gender 1
  • Lack of fuel alternatives. Electric cookers are not possible as only 17% of the population in Nepal has access to TIER 5 type electrification (needed for cooking) and in addition, in remote areas the supply is very unstable.
Distribution of primary stoves (urban-rural) 1
  • 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. But the problem arises with the lack of ventilation, which is solved with the chimney.
LEFT: Fuel penetration rate: share of households using a type of fuel (nationwide) – RIGHT: Ventilation structure and cooking location 1

1 Nepal beyond Connections – Energy Access Diagnostic Report 2019, MTF, World Bank, ESMAP, SRED.


2020 AWASUKA Team

Mònica Sans – Director
Anna Gonzalvo – Technical Director
TECHNICAL TEAM BARCELONA – PARIS

Architect Advisors: Pedro Lorenzo, Dr. Architect Expert in Cooperation; Amaia Celaya, International Consultant UN-EU; Montserrat Bosch, Professor UPC and Member of GICITED

UPC Architects: Carlota Gala, Pablo Castillo, Raquel Marcos, Mar de Castro

HEC Paris: Margot Lebourgeois, Elena Pompilio, Priyal Singh, Elisa Solà, Roger Solà

Computing: Carles Turró, Computer Scientist and Ex-athlete

ISP/Web: Sergi Navarro, Cloutions

NEPALESE TECHNICAL TEAM

Social Driver and Local Coordinator: Hareram Pudassaini

Rotary Club contacts: Prabhat Yonzon (Kathmandu), Ram Prasad Sharma (Hetauda)

Asesores: Min Malla (Practical Action – Katmandú), Ram Magrati (MRC Hetauda)


You can see more information on AWASUKA’s website