The Great African Bake Off
From James Beighton
Traditional stoves, as well as being fuel inefficient (they are estimated to contribute around a third of global carbon monoxide emissions) expose people nearby to harmful levels of household air pollution – a major cause of respiratory disease and premature death. Improved cookstoves (pictured) are designed to burn biomass fuels more efficiently and have been promoted by a range of governments, charities and international organisations since the 1940s. Despite these interventions however, the uptake and sustained use of these stoves has been slow. Reasons for failure include cost, cultural resistance to change, access and availability of fuel and the failure to understand users’ needs.
The University Of Nottingham are currently running a three year project looking at the barriers to the introduction and uptake of improved cooking technology in East and Southern Africa and one of the most important aspects of this is to better understand how end-users (those who are supposed to go out and buy this technology) interact with the stoves and how that impacts on adoption and sustained use.