News

    Aid Groups Meeting in Kenya Promote 'Clean Cookstoves'

    Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.
    Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.

    Indoor air pollution emanating from open fires or leaky cookstoves is the fifth-largest health risk in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization. Massive deforestation caused by households collecting firewood is also a huge problem. The use of so-called “clean cookstoves” - stoves that use clean fuel such as natural gas, or cut down on solid fuels such as firewood - is being touted as a way of combating indoor air pollution and deforestation. Aid groups met in Kenya’s capital recently to fine-tune promotion efforts.

    Roseline Amondi is making githeri, a traditional dish of maize and beans, for her small restaurant in the informal settlement of Kibera in Kenya’s capital.

    She places her sufuria, or cooking pot, on what is called a “clean cookstove,” powered by biogas harnessed from the community toilet.

    Amondi says she now pays one-tenth of what she used to when cooking.

    “Me, I have a small hotel [restaurant]. I was using wood," she said. "You can just see that sufuria - it is black. And now, I can cook with gas; it is a pride on my side. In fact, I am very happy, because even charcoal, we buy, and also even wood, we buy at a higher price. But this one is only 10 shillings.”

    Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, and can also utilize solid fuels such as firewood or charcoal more efficiently.

    “When you have a clean cookstove, the level of particulate emissions, the smoke that you are breathing, is reduced drastically, and therefore you get the health benefits from using a clean cookstove,” said Radha Muthiah, the executive director of the Washington-based Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

    Clean cookstoves feature chimneys and other ventilation structures, grills to hold the firewood in place, and insulation.

    Traditional cookstoves and open fires release carbon dioxide, methane, and other harmful emissions.

    “Traditional stoves can also create indoor air pollution," said Laura Clough, a market researcher with the Global Village Energy Partnership. "People often cook in small spaces that are not well ventilated, and the smoke and emissions given off can lead to long-term health consequences.”

    These consequences include pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. Emphysema, cataracts, bronchitis and cardiovascular disease are also risks.

    The World Health Organization estimates that nearly two million people, 500,000 in East Africa alone, die prematurely every year of illnesses arising from indoor air pollution.

    Aid groups are working on promoting and subsidizing clean cookstoves primarily for rural households, which rely heavily on firewood and charcoal to cook their food.

    Between 2006 and 2011, GIZ disseminated 1.3 million stoves on a commission basis all across Kenya, saving up to 50 percent of firewood per stove.

    “If you calculate that, it’s about 1.4 million tonnes per year saved, which is equivalent to 78,000 hectares of tree cover saved,” said Anna Ingwe, the coordinator of the Kenya Cookstove Program at the German aid agency GIZ.

    An important consideration in a rapidly-deforesting region.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dan Robinson
    May 06, 2012 10:09 PM
    Better still would be solar cookers, assuming weather permits, many times and places in the third world.

    by: Charles Appel
    May 03, 2012 9:15 AM
    Fascinating piece. Well done!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora