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|| Low-cost Interventions to Reduce Emissions and Fuel Consumption in Open Wood Fires in Rural Communities: Evidence from Field Surveys
|| Rob Bailis, Irene Mutisya, Susanne Hounsell, Kevin McLean
| Published in:
|| July 2021
|| We evaluate the impact of a grass-roots campaign promoting adoption of simple modifications to cooking fires in rural communities in Western Kenya. The modifications consist of adding rock-beds to open fires or simple woodstoves, increasing airflow, improving combustion efficiency, and decreasing the distance between the fire and cooking pot, which improves heat transfer. The campaign was sponsored by Sun24, a US-based non-profit organization. They trained women leaders active in a local Anglican diocese consisting of 9200 families. The women returned to their communities and held their own trainings at local parishes. We randomly sampled 1362 households from those communities to understand the impact of the campaign. 67% of surveyed families were aware of rockbeds: 51% had attended trainings themselves and 16% heard about rockbeds from relatives or neighbors. 85% of the families that had heard about rockbeds installed them at home and continued to use them for many months after first hearing about them. Nearly all users express a high degree of satisfaction with rockbeds and 67% of trained respondents report cooking two or more meals daily on with rockbeds. We examined variation in weekly and daily frequency of use and find larger households are twice as likely to use rockbeds daily and to cook all their meals with rockbeds than smaller households (p < 0.01). Respondents that were trained by Sun24 or women leaders were nearly three times as likely to use rockbeds daily than respondents who heard about rockbeds by word-of-mouth (p < 0.01). Among households reporting daily use, better educated respondents were nearly twice as likely to use rockbeds for all meals. However, respondents who owned charcoal or LPG stoves were 30% and 60% less likely to use rockbeds for all their meals than other respondents (p < 0.05, p < 0.01). Using a regional estimate of “non-renewable biomass” of 36%, we estimate annual emission reductions of roughly 480 kg of CO2-equivalent for each adopter. Sun24 invested roughly USD 700 in training women leaders and facilitating rockbed adoption in thousands of rural households. Previous research found that median fuelwood savings of nearly 30% when families modified open fire stoves with rockbeds. Applying this average to all adopting families results in annual wood savings of 390 kg per family or 2900 tons per year across the diocese. Using a regional estimate of “non-renewable biomass” and assuming rockbed use persists for 5 years, total emission reductions would be 11.8 tCO2e at a mitigation cost of just USD 0.06 per ton CO2e making rockbeds a cost-effective mitigation strategy.
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