Sustainable cooking in rural households in Kenya – Upishi Safi Mashinani (024)

Sustainable cooking in rural households in Kenya


Sustainable cooking in rural households (Upishi Safi Mashinani)

In Kenya, the national statistics paint a stark picture of energy insufficiency and inequity, particularly in rural areas where only 62.7% of households have access to electricity compared to the national rate of 71.4%. Biomass fuels, specifically firewood (77%) and charcoal (13.3%), dominate the cooking energy landscape. This reliance on traditional biomass fuels leads to extensive deforestation and severe health issues due to indoor air pollution, disproportionately affecting women and girls who are responsible for firewood collection and cooking. There is an urgency for a tailored gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) strategy in Meru County that addresses the specific challenges faced by women and girls in accessing clean cooking fuels.

Meru County could lead the way in creating a more sustainable and equitable energy system that could serve as a model for other regions in Kenya facing similar challenges.

Goal: The Chemichemi Foundation aims to tackle this energy poverty and inequality issue. Their focus is on rural women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Meru County. Their goal is to empower these groups by providing them with renewable energy technologies, specifically for cooking and biomass technologies.

CAA Technical Assistance (TA) Objectives

The TA will assist Chemichemi in achieving its mission, addressing energy poverty, climate change impacts, and health issues among rural women and PWDs in Meru County and beyond. They plan to build the capacity of women and PWDs in eight sub-counties to embrace renewable energy, especially briquette made from agricultural and forest wastes, for cooking. Additionally, the foundation has an ambitious objective of training 500,000 women engaged in agriculture to produce renewable energy for cooking and lighting from agricultural waste.

The aim is to not only meet the needs of efficient cooking in Meru County but to also create a blueprint for sustainable energy solutions that can be replicated in similar contexts. The focus of sustainable cooking fuel is underpinned by a strong GESI strategy that ensures that women, and people with disabilities remain at the heart of this training.

The Canadian Expert Eliza Hogan, will contribute to:

  1. Action research to surface evidence about rural women, PWDs and RE for cooking services in Meru County.  
  2. A Training of Trainers to strengthen the capacity of women and PWDs on the potential for production, use, and marketing of briquettes from agricultural waste and/or other renewable energy as evidence emerges from the action research and assessment of agricultural waste above. 
  3. Awareness raising within communities to sensitize participants on the importance to control  their energy usage and become advocates for sustainable energy solutions.

Technical Experts