Mar 30, 2012


Today more than 2.7 billion people rely on biomass as their primary cooking fuel, with profound implications for the environment and people’s well-being. Wood provision is often time-consuming and the emitted smoke has severe health effects – both burdens that afflict women in particular. The dissemination of Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) is frequently considered an effective remedy for these problems. This paper evaluates the take-up of ICS and their impacts through a randomized controlled trial in rural Senegal. Although distributed for free, the ICS are used by almost 100 % of households. Furthermore, we find substantial effects on firewood consumption, eye infections, and respiratory disease symptoms. These findings substantiate the increasing efforts of the international community to improve access to improved cooking stoves and call for a more direct promotion of these stoves.
From the new paper "A Recipe for Success? Randomized Free Distribution of Improved Cooking Stoves in Senegal" by Bensch and Peters (March 2012).  
And this data is surprising (almost incredible):
Exposure to resulting smoke leads to acute respiratory illness, and cancers, particularly among women cooks, and their infant children near them. Resulting annual mortality estimate is almost 2 million deaths, higher than that from malaria or tuberculosis.
In Guatemala several NOGs, have been working on this. I have not seen studies on the level of usage, or effectiveness. Nevertheless I have heard that there are several informal practices that make it difficult the adoption of new stoves. One example: traditional stoves generate heat, and families gather around the stove at night. The kitchen is a focal point. New stoves do not generate as much heat. Adoption depends on gradual behavioral changes. 

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