Politics and policy

Stoves project to provide clean cooking technology in Kenya

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By RAWLINGS OTINI

Posted  Friday, April 27  2012 at  11:30

The prices of paraffin, which is used by most Kenyans for cooking and lighting increased by more than Sh17 to Sh95 a litre between January and December last year.

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Charcoal prices also increased in the same period to Sh49 for every 4 kilogramme. This has pushed most Kenyans to the use of firewood since most of them cannot afford cooking gas whose prices are at least Sh1000 for the 6 kilogramme cylinder.

Reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) links indoor pollution to diseases such as lung cancer, pneumonia, and obstructive pulmonary disease among others.

WHO estimates show that about 50,000 people die annually in East Africa due to indoor air pollution. More than 10 million people in Kenya live in households that cook on traditional open fires in built-in kitchens.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is seeking to have the East African Community member states to scale up the adoption of the clean cooking stoves technology with the help of local nongovernmental organisations like Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP).

GVEP international works by providing affordable financing to small businesses dealing in modern energy equipment which can in turn be sold out at affordable prices.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership that is working to break down barriers to using clean stoves in developing countries.

“These efforts will address current lack of knowledge among users, unaffordability of clean stoves and lack of internationally recognised standards,” said Radha Muthaiah executive director Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

The goal of the Alliance is to support international efforts to spur the adoption of clean cook stoves and fuels in 100 million households by 2020.

The Kenyan stove project covers about 20 districts in the western part of Kenya, central region, Nairobi among other areas.

The project involves bringing together cooking stove manufacturers and helping them to make energy efficient stoves at sustainable costs.

Big stoves for institutions such as schools would cost about Sh10,000 while smaller domestic stove cost about Sh300 to Sh500.

The organisation estimates that reducing black carbon by replacing traditional stoves with energy efficient ones will reduce the incidences of child pneumonia by 50 per cent.

The project is supported by various organisations such as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves which normally works by facilitating funding from donors and promoting use of efficient standards.

The ministry of energy is also in the process developing a legislation that will make it mandatory for all institutions that use firewood and charcoal to adopt improved cooking stoves.