Presenting to the Community

To inform the community about our findings and demonstrate how to use the two safe paraffin stoves, we went to two cash stores in C section where ten to fifteen residents were gathered each time.

Our First Presentation

The two stoves set up for the presentation

The two stoves set up for the presentation

Originally, we planned to have the two safe paraffin stoves along side with the current paraffin stoves (flame and primus) on a table in the front of the crowd.  To demonstrate the efficiency of the Arivi and ParaSafe stoves, we were going to boil one litre of water in equal sized pots on each of the stoves.  Clearly, the two more efficient stoves would boil long before the current paraffin stoves and show the community members that cooking time would decrease if they used either of the safe stoves we were providing.  This type of side-by side comparison was not possible the day of the presentation because Siya informed us that due to the wind, it was not safe to use the current flame stove or primus.

Instead we only demonstrated the Arivi Safe Paraffin Stove and the ParaSafe Primus Stove, by boiling one litre of water on each, in equal sized pots (it is important to make sure that pot size and type are consistent when doing a boiling test).  While the water was coming to a boil, we talked about the safety features as well as benefits of using each stove.  Once the water boiled, we lifted the stove to show the self-extinguishing properties of each stove.  We placed one of the pots of boiling water into the hot box and described the benefits of using a hot box and how to make one.  Siya, a co-researcher, helped us translate to the residents when wording was unclear.  We found that when Siya talked about the stoves in Xhosa, the audience understood much better and was more likely to ask questions and state their concerns.  This was important to know when planning our second presentation.

The audience consisted of ten community members, a majority of whom were women.  This is because the women of the households typically do the most cooking and therefore had the greatest interest in the newer safe stoves.  Those present were impressed by how quickly the water boiled and even more so by the safety features of each stove.  The crowd was in awe when the flame extinguished after each stove was lifted up.  When asked how much they would be willing to pay for the stoves, the residents came to a consensus of R150.  They liked the appearance of the Arivi stove, and even more so the safety features.  In the end, we set up plans to have various residents try the Arivi stove for a night and fill out a survey with their comments.  As far as the hot box, community members were much less interested in this part of the demonstration.  It seemed unlikely that they would go home and make one for themselves.  In the future, we suggest having a workshop at the community centre devoted to how to make a hot box and the money that could be saved by using one.

The Second Presentation

Siya presenting at the Gas Store

Siya presenting at the Gas Store

Our second and final presentation took place at the only store that sells gas in C Section.  We used what we learned in the first presentation to help the second presentation run more smoothly and be more effective.  This time, Siya was the main presenter instead of us since we knew that people would better understand him.  We were also able to gather more people for the presentation, about fifteen, since we asked the store owner to gather us a crowd.  The community members were active participants in the presentation, constantly asking questions and starting conversation.  The presentation was much more interactive overall.  This time, people were more inclined to choose the ParaSafe Primus Stove because the safety features and its appearance.  A few people even mentioned that they planned to go to the Shoprite and purchase the stove for themselves.  This presentation was successful in inciting interest in the safe stoves.

One issue that arose during this presentation especially, was at the beginning when people thought we were there to give them stoves or hand them free T-shirts.  As soon as this problem arose, we made sure to clear up the misunderstandings.  In the future, we suggest that when making a presentation, have something to give the residents whether it is simple food cooked on the stoves or T-shirts.