International Lifeline Fund


Founded in December 2003, International Lifeline Fund is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce human suffering through programs and activities that generate the greatest possible impact at the lowest possible cost. Lifeline makes every effort to identify, employ and promote technological developments that can vastly improve the effectiveness and reduce the cost of its humanitarian programs. Secondly, Lifeline seeks to identify projects that promote self-sufficiency and thereby provide durable solutions to the problems confronting impoverished peoples in Africa and elsewhere.

ILF’s objective is to provide vulnerable women with a low-cost, culturally acceptable alternative to cooking on an open fire and thereby, to: (1) reduce environmental degradation; (2) improve health by reducing indoor air pollution; (3) protect against burn injuries; (4) reduce gender-based violence; and (5) improve livelihoods by saving time and money spent obtaining wood and teaching marketable skills.

Organization Type Non-Governmental Organization

Contact Information

Primary Contact
Mr. Vahid Jahangiri
Secondary Contact
Ms. Rachael Reichenbach
Address 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite B1
Washington, DC
United States
Phone 202-986-4719
Calling/Fax Instructions

Our Focus

Primary Initiatives, Target Populations, and Scope of Work:

Since 2006, the International Lifeline Fund (ILF) has been operating fuel efficient stove (FES) programs in Uganda, Darfur, Kenya, Tanzania and Haiti. These programs promote a “six-brick rocket stove” in both IDP/refugees camps and distressed villages. The stove maximizes efficiency through an insulated combustion chamber made from clay and burnable organic material. ILF-led initiatives have produced over 50,000 stoves for Ugandan, Sudanese, Burundese and Somali refugees/IDPs in camps with dire wood problems. In 2010, ILF has led the Fuel Efficient Stove distribution to earthquake victims of Haiti which has benefited about 9000 households.

In Uganda, ILF has commercialized its FES program targeting returnees in Lira district. This has involved: (1) design of an affordable, durable, and culturally suitable metal stove; (2) development of a replicable distribution model and marketing strategy; (3) operation of a locally run stove factory under ILF supervision; and (4) training a sales force of female micro-entrepreneurs.

Fuels/Technologies: Biomass
Sectors of Experience: Behavior Change
Rural Development
Small Business
Countries of Operation: Haiti

Our Experience And Interest In The Four PCIA Central Focus Areas

Social/Cultural barriers to using traditional fuels and stoves:

Because the implementation of new cooking technologies directly impacts ingrained cultural and behavioral habits around cooking and the preparation of food, ILF has taken deliberate actions to design its rocket stove program to embrace and accommodate social and behavioral needs of intended users. More than any other aspect, the success of any project is conditioned solely on the embrace of the local population. In work carried out in Darfur, for example, it became apparent that cooks were accustomed to a stove positioned low to the ground for the cooking of their traditional meal of “Assida”, necessitating a shift in design where we built the base of the stove into the ground to bring the entire stove to the desired height without compromising cooking efficiency.

Because of the varying cultural and behavioral traditions of the different refugee and IDP populations we work with, ILF has devoted significant effort to developing an improved stove utilizing local talent at every location to assist in the construction and distribution of stoves as well as in training on proper use for maximum efficiency and preparation of traditional meals.

This is in clear evidence in the planning and implementation stages of ILF’s current commercial stove project in Lira, Uganda where ILF has carried out thorough market analysis, performance testing and trial pilot programs to ensure a stove design appropriate to the market. The commercialization process itself represents a shift in traditional “western” humanitarian modes of thought that treat those in need simply as beneficiaries. At the core of ILF’s mission is to transform this thinking, starting with the premise that the populations we work with are informed consumers and then working to meet their needs and provide a product that is not only beneficial to their health and environment, but affordable, economically beneficial, attractive and demonstrably better performing than their current alternatives.

Demonstrating the economic benefits of our stove is a core component of our program and ILF spends a significant amount of time and resources to support our local vendors through demonstrations, radio information and advertising campaigns and other marketing efforts to incentivize the significant economic benefits of our stoves.

Market development for improved cooking technologies:

A well-managed rocket stove program can go a long way toward easing the plight of refugees/IDPs at the same time that it reduces environmental stress in the vicinity surrounding the camps in which they congregate. In more stable settings, the promotions of an affordable commercial version of the rocket stove offers the best hope for distributing that stove on a large scale and promoting sustainable development.

ILF has initiated a commercialized program, focusing on a newly designed long-lasting fuel-efficient stove. ILF had identified key women/institutions to act as ‘stove sellers’ and generate income by selling charcoal and wood stoves at a small profit. This has engaged laborers, brickmakers and blacksmiths in income generating activities. ILF uses radio announcments, demonstartions, music and drama to educate the public about its stove and the benefits of it such as the dangers of indoor air pollution. In locations where stove selling is not feasible, ILF will continue its humanitarian stove distribution program with partners on the ground.

Technology standardization for cooking, heating and ventilation:

ILf has standardized its Metal Rocket Stove in order to assure proper production and consistent quality. The rocket stove is a fuel efficient stove which maximizes efficiency by using an insulated combustion chamber. This chamber is build out of lightweight bricks made from a mixture of clay and other organic materials, such as ground nutshell, millet, rice husk, and sawdust or donkey dung. Used properly, the rocket stove can reduce wood use by as much as 30 to 40 percent and has been proven to reduce emissions of smoke and particulate matter by greater amounts.

ILF has started to produce pellets from agricultural waste and working with paper waster product briquettes to use as fuel for WFP school feeding programs.

Indoor air pollution exposure and health monitoring:

ILF has done great amount of monitoring in the field in order to be able to measure the level of impact. ILF has and will continue to implement kitchen performance tests (KPT) to measure the impact of the rocket stove in residential housing. Emissions testing will be implemented in the future to obtain quantifiable data on health improvements provided by rocket stove. Monitoring plays a very role in order to evaulate any fuel efficient stove program.

Relevant Publications or Studies

Fuel Efficient Stove Programs in Humanitarian Settings: An Implementer's Toolkit

Our Contribution to the Partnership

ILF is looking to pool resources in the field to improve the overall effectiveness of the fuel efficient stove program. The combination of ILF's existing experience with and presence in IDP camps and villages coupled with PCIA’s strengths in indoor air emissions and related technical infromation will result in a value added impact for the fuel efficient stove program. ILF will share its lessons learned and update PCIA on any new developments in the field.