Publication - Behavioural Change Campaign: Promoting Improved Cooking Solutions in Kakuma Refugee Camp
Kakuma town, Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement1 are home to over 280,000 people, including refugees and the host Turkana community, and located in arid, sparsely vegetated Turkana County, in north-western Kenya. The refugee community comprises people from South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda, among other countries. Similar to many low-income, off-grid contexts in Kenya, firewood and charcoal are the primary resources used for cooking by both the host and refugee communities in their households and small (food) businesses.
At the time of campaign design (end of 2020), UNHCR provided a basic allocation of firewood for free to refugees which was supplemented by the communities through purchasing firewood and/or charcoal in their local markets or gathering firewood in the nearby bushes. In 2021, the allocation was phased out and integrated into an existing cash-based support mechanism to refugees, which covers 11% of monthly fuel needs.
Cooking through inefficient practices such as open fires and basic firewood and charcoal stoves, leads to high fuel expenses, environmental degradation, and health issues. In addition, specific to the refugee context, the resource scarcity caused by firewood collection and charcoal production in the area leads to tensions between the local host community who run the firewood and charcoal markets, and the refugees who are formally not allowed to gather firewood but still do so at high risk, especially for women and girls.
SNV, under the EnDev Market Based Energy Access (MBEA) project, has been working since 2017 on increasing the availability of improved stoves and solar products in the local markets. A local artisanal stove production unit was established and commercialised, producing affordable (low-tier) improved artisanal stoves2. SNV also provides ongoing activity-based support to stove distributors to enter the market in Kakuma and develop distribution channels for (high-tier) industrially manufactured stoves, giving residents greater choice in options for stoves that meet their needs and purchasing power.
Even though various improved stove models were made available in the local markets through the provision of market-based support, uptake remained limited. Most people were used to cook on three stone open fires (TSOF) or basic metallic charcoal stoves and awareness of the improved stove options and their benefits was limited. This showed the need for awareness creation on the benefits of improved stoves in a way that would change people’s behaviour and trigger an intent to invest.To this end, behavioural change experts from consulting firm 17Triggers supported SNV to develop an effective, culturally appropriate BCC campaign for people in Kakuma to become aware of, purchase and consistently use improved stoves at the household and commercial level.