This effort is combining financial empowerment of communities in Kenya with distribution of a fuel-efficient cook stove. “Energy-efficient Cook Stoves for Siaya Communities” has integrated introduction of a “rocket” stove that reduces firewood use by half with a community savings and loan scheme that provides microfinancing for stove purchases. By switching from the traditional three-stone hearth to efficient cook stoves, women are improving their health and quality of life while also reducing deforestation.
496 community savings and loans groups established with 8,066 members
More than 11,000 energy-efficient cook stoves installed to date
14,850 tons of firewood saved yearly
Access to modern energy is limited and expensive for households in Siaya County, Kenya. People there traditionally cook on open fires over three stones inside the home, which burns large amounts of firewood that is gathered locally for cooking and heating. This is diminishing forests regionally, and creates unhealthy and even dangerous conditions in homes.
The project has introduced “rocket”-style wood-burning stoves that are twice as efficient as the traditional hearth. The cleaner and more efficient combustion has made healthier and safer kitchens for Siaya County women.
Initially financed through the sale of carbon credits, the project also established a self-funding mechanism of community savings and loan groups. Individual members are able to take out small loans to purchase a fuel-efficient cook stove, making the technology accessible and affordable.
Helping the planet
Reduction of fuel wood consumption contributes to forest conservation, avoiding erosion and preserving microclimatic conditions that are critical for water and land quality. It also prevents carbon emissions that would result from burning wood, and leaves trees standing to act as carbon banks, addressing the problem of climate change.
Since Siaya County community members who use the efficient cook stoves aren’t burning as much wood, they’re able to save time and money. Improved stoves also mean cleaner and safer kitchens, as indoor smoke and risk of fire is reduced. Women and children in particular benefit from healthier kitchen conditions. The project has also provided local jobs for stove artisans and project managers.
The community savings and loan groups, with 90 perccent female membership, are financially empowering women and allowing them to explore others ways of generating income.
The project continues to scale up in Siaya County – it installed 11,000 stoves in the first two-and-a-half years, and its goal over seven years is to install 50,000 stoves. The innovative model of combining distribution of efficient cook stoves with community savings and loan groups that empower women can very well be replicated in other countries or regions.
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