In some of the poorest rural communities in Western Kenya, up to 85% of people still use open fires to cook their daily meals. Energy 4 Impact has teamed up with clean cookstove producers, distributors and health workers in the region, to deliver a behaviour change campaign which is raising awareness of the health, economic and environmental benefits of clean cooking and increasing adoption of improved cookstoves.
Nyalore Impact is one of the distributors taking part in the campaign. Its founder, Dorothy Otieno, is passionate about spreading the word on cleaner cooking. She recognised that cooking and searching for fuel falls mainly on women and girls, so she began talking to them about the health and cost benefits of switching to cleaner cooking technologies. However as she didn’t have the resources to reach out on a larger scale, she asked for help.
Maurice Onzere, Business Development Services Coordinator at Energy 4 Impact, explains the thinking behind the campaign:
- explains Dorothy.
Energy 4 Impact helped in the recruitment of the 30 health workers as sales agents for the clean cookstoves and briquettes. Esther Akothee, a community health volunteer, bought an improved cookstove for use at home.
- she explains.
Felix Abok, Homa Bay County Public Health Officer, says that although the messaging on cookstoves is compelling, the high level of poverty in the region is a major barrier to uptake.
- Abok says.
To help make the cookstoves more affordable, Nyalore Impact and other distributors have put in place a payment mechanism that allows poor households to pay for cookstoves over time, typically in three instalments. Women who lack access to the formal banking or financial networks are also tapping into informal Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to help with saving and borrowing towards the purchase of a stove.
The campaign has driven up demand for the stoves in Homa Bay and in neighbouring counties of Migori and Kisumu. Nyalore Impact has tripled its monthly sales of cookstoves and built a reputation as a credible voice on greener energy, with the county government involving them in the formulation of energy policies on clean cooking.
- Dorothy says.