CLEAN COOKING

Majority of Kenyans still use open fires to cook meals–lobby

Clean Cooking Association of Kenya says unclean cooking fuel poses a threat to their health.

In Summary

• "59 percent of Kenyans still use open fire, while 70 percent still use biomass and cookstoves to prepare meals,” said CCAK chairman David Njugi.

• According to a survey done in 2019,  clean cooking fuels such as Liquid Petroleum Gas save houses at least 75 percent of their revenue compared to unclean fuel.

Clean cooking solutions on display at the second Clean Cooking Week and Expo at the KICC on Monday, 29 November, 2021.
CLEAN COOKING SOLUTIONS Clean cooking solutions on display at the second Clean Cooking Week and Expo at the KICC on Monday, 29 November, 2021.
Image: /NATALIE AMUGITSI

In Kenya, women are the people who mostly interact with fuel energy as they cook food for their families.

According to the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK), majority of them still use unsafe and unsustainable energy sources to meet this daily need.

“59 percent of Kenyans still use open fire, while 70 percent still use biomass and cookstoves to prepare meals,” said CCAK chairman David Njugi.

Njugi was speaking at the second Clean Cooking Week and Expo on Monday at the Kenyatta International Convention Center.

He said that these fuel sources are not only unsafe for their health but also to the environment.

“Fuel such as firewood, charcoal, biomass and cookstoves contribute to in-door air pollution which is bad for people’s health and also contributes to carbon emissions into the atmosphere,” he said.

Maureen Chepkemoi, a researcher with the African Center for Technology Studies, said that women should consider clean cooking solutions because they are safer and less expensive.

“In a 2019 survey we did in the coastal region, we found that clean cooking fuels such as Liquid Petroleum Gas, electricity and bioethanol saved houses at least 75 percent of their revenue compared to unclean fuel,” she said.

Chepkemoi said that the survey, titled Cooking Diaries, made them double their efforts to spread awareness of using clean cooking solutions.

“It is vital that we reach women with the message that clean cooking solutions should be safe, sustainable and need not cost households a lot of money at the end of the month,” she said.

The Clean Cooking expo comes after the seventh Devolution Conference that was held in Kitui last week.

Dan Marangu, the Director of Fuel Energy at the Ministry of Energy said that the expo is a right step towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

“During COP26, Kenya committed to reaching its clean cooking goal by 2028 and fulfill the Sustainable development goal number seven of clean energy,” he said.

He urged all stakeholders present to prioritise clean cooking and increase funds allocated to the association to enable them reach their goal.

Njugi concluded by urging energy stakeholders across all sectors to play their part in producing clean cooking solutions to women.

“These solutions need to be made more affordable, more accessible and more awareness needs to be created concerning them,” he said.

He added that women in the grassroots and rural areas most especially need to get access to these clean cooking solutions and that both the county and the national government need to work to reach them.