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Kenya’s women urged to embrace cookstoves to curb pollution

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has challenged women in the country to adopt usage of clean cookstoves in order to reduce significantly the loss of lives as a result of air pollution.

Deputy President Spouse Rachel Ruto noted that 80 percent of Kenyans are dependent on food cooked using fuels resulting in significant household pollution.

“To appreciate the value of clean cook stoves, we probably need to take a glimpse of fuel input into cooking efforts and the concomitant pollution levels. I am delighted to note achievement of enabling women in developing world in general and Kenya in particularly, to go about their cooking chore in a clean environment,” Rachel said.

She was speaking on Tuesday night during the official launch of the Resource Guide on Scaling up Adoption of Clean Cooking Solutions through women empowerment at an event hosted by the Organization of the National Clean Cookstoves and Fuel Conference.

In East Africa, the simple act of cooking at home poses a great danger to many household that still use open fires or rudimentary and inefficient cookstoves, yet clean and efficient household cooking solutions could save lives, empower women and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market.

Improved cookstoves products already serve a large market in households in East Africa, where between 60 and 95 percent of people, which varies by country, use solid fuels.

Apart from their recorded efficiency and reduced amount of smoke and indoor air pollution, their wider social benefits include less pressure on forest and energy resources.

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- An artisan (R) demonstrates an energy stove to a delegate during an exhibition in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Feb. 4, 2014. The CCAK alliance has announced more than 3 million US Dollars in grants and loans for entrepreneurs and and significant progress, in the process to advance new World Health Organization (WHO) indoor air quality guidelines. Xinhua PHOTO: Charles Onyango

The key feature of any improved cookstove over a traditional stove is the use of an insulating material such as clay or mud to conserve heat and make it more efficient.

Rachel challenged women in the country to adopt usage of clean cook stoves in order to reduce significantly loss of lives as a result of air pollution.

She noted that 80 percent of Kenyans are dependent on food cooked using fuels resulting in significant household pollution.

She said 8 million households are subjected to air pollution thus resulting in reported 15,000 deaths per year, saying such situation must be reversed forthwith.

Rachel added that the most inspiring achievement is the attainment of a technology that enables women to meet the nutritional needs of her family through cooking while at the same time conserving her physical environment.

“Moreover, the efficiency levels of this technology enable the women to prepare food at minimal cost and within the shortest time possible thus committing the saved time to other social, economic and political development endeavors,” she added.

Rachel lauded the Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves for identified Kenya to be one of its priority countries to benefit from the technology.

“The adoption of the technology will, no doubt contribute immensely to realization of goals of the social and economic pillars of our country’s Vision 2030 and Millennium Development Goals on women empowerment,” she said.

Speaking during the occasion, President of the UN Foundation Kathy Kalvin urged women to adopt the new technology as one way of enabling them tackle the many challenges facing them.

Cutting black carbon emissions by, for example, replacing inefficient cookstoves and traditional brick kilns with more efficient ones, also cuts fuel costs for households and kiln operators.

More efficient cookstoves are already being introduced in many parts of the world, including West Africa, China and India.

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Kenya pledges support for entrepreneurship in clean cook stoves

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya established a robust policy and regulatory environment to spur investments in development and supply of clean cook Stoves, senior government officials said on Tuesday

Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judi Wakhungu reaffirmed the government’s support towards a vibrant cook stove market in order to catalyze a low carbon transition in the country.

“Cookstoves are a novel innovation that has minimized use of carbon emitting fuels to ensure communities live in clean and healthy environments,” Wakhungu said in Nairobi during a national conference to explore innovative mechanisms to scale up adoption of clean cook stoves in Kenyan households.

The government has forged links with the private sector and grassroots organizations to develop a national action plan to ensure 5 million people use clean cook stoves by 2020.

Wakhungu noted that Kenya has a vibrant market for cleaner cook stoves thanks to policy and regulatory incentives alongside higher levels of awareness among communities on the hazards of dirty fuels.

The Chairman, Clean Cook Stoves Association of Kenya, Jechoniah Kitala noted that Kenya is on course to achieve the universal target of households using energy efficient cooking devices. 

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