Exposure to harmful cookstove smoke has historically received relatively limited attention when compared to other health risk factors (lack of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene) or diseases (malaria or tuberculosis) that lead to similar levels of mortality. Part of the reason for this lack of investment is structural – barriers such as a lack of awareness among policy makers and affected populations about the harmful impacts of cookstove smoke and the corresponding benefits of cleaner stoves, a lack of affordable, improved solutions that meet users’ needs, and a lack of research to effectively quantify the health and environmental benefits of improved stoves and fuels.
Those at the “bottom of the pyramid” pay a heavy price for the environmental, social and health consequences of a life in poverty. By dramatically reducing exposure to harmful cooking smoke, clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels deliver a wide range of health, environmental, livelihood and gender benefits, while serving as a worthwhile investment that can rapidly offset the upfront costs.
In Kenya, it is estimated that Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) causes 14,300 deaths each year. This is much more than the national death toll arising from road accidents. 14.9 million people in Kenya are directly affected by IAP. The main groups include: households using open fires in built-in kitchens, female cooks, institutional cooks and kitchen helpers, as well as secondary school students (teenagers) who study with kerosene lamps. Of these, the household category constitutes about 67% of those affected by indoor air pollution in Kenya.
In 2012, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) supported a cookstoves and fuels sector market assessment in Kenya to enhance the sector market intelligence and knowledge. It identified the sector’s primary gaps in awareness, investment, research, standards, technology, distribution and other key areas, and outlined the steps needed to enhance demand; strengthen supply; and foster an enabling environment for clean cookstoves and fuel use throughout the developing world:
This market assessment laid out ten major issues based on the above three categories. The stakeholders assisted by the Country Coordinating Partners selected by GACC (GIZ and SNV) had the opportunity to deliberate on these ten major issues in order to complete a Country Action Plan (CAP) for Kenya. For each of the major issues, the stakeholders were able to identify the main barriers in Kenya, hypothesize a desired outcome and then document the requisite intervention options to overcome the challenges outlined. The stakeholders also confirmed the specific ways in which their organizations would be involved with the implementation of the Country Action Plan.
Stakeholders further recognised that there was great need for the coordination of government efforts in the sector to be enhanced and to bring on board other key stakeholders from the private and non-profit sector. This would take on-going initiatives to scale in helping to develop the market for clean cooking solutions in Kenya.
Finally, in order to effectively coordinate the activities of various stakeholders in the rapidly growing clean cookstoves sector in Kenya, the need for an institutional framework was identified as a key step in forging the way forward towards the implementation of the Kenya Country Action Plan has been addressed by the formation of the Clean Cookstoves Association of Kenya (CCAK). Its mandate is, among others, to oversee the implementation of the Kenya CAP and to drive the sector to the next level.