Nairobi — The Government is developing a strategy to address rising cases of respiratory illnesses and mitigate the global climate crisis by increasing the use of modern clean cooking solutions.
The Energy and Petroleum Ministry is working on the National Clean Cooking Strategy to ensure Kenya is on track to achieving its target of universal access to clean energy by 2028.
Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir disclosed at the third annual Clean Cooking Week forum that the ministry is setting up a delivery unit to implement the strategy.
It is aimed at guiding the process through which the country will increase access to improved transitional and clean cooking solutions. The solutions include climate-friendly efficient biomass stoves, as well as fuel switch from solid biomass and kerosene to cleaner and environmentally friendly options such as biogas, bioethanol, LPG, solar PV and electric cooking.
Mr. Chirchir noted that in Kenya, 59% of households use traditional fireplaces for cooking while only 30% of households have access to clean cooking solutions.
“Over reliance on open fires and traditional cookstoves and fuels is one of the most pressing health and environmental problem that calls for urgent action. It is the reason why we have identified clean cooking as a national development priority by setting the target to achieve universal access to modern cooking energy services by 2028,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Secretary Maj. Gen (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa.
The strategy is being developed with technical assistance from Climate Compatible Growth (CCG), UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions, Modern Energy Cooking Services, GIZ-Energising Development (Endev) and Agence Francaise de Developement. It was a rapid response facility to the Kenyan Government request to the Energy Transition Council.
According to the Ministry of Health, close to 23,000 deaths in Kenya are attributed to household air pollution annually. Indoor air pollution disproportionately affects women and children who spend extended period of time looking for fuel and cooking meals thereby bearing the brunt of exposure to long hours of smoky kitchen environments.
The Clean Cooking Week, now in its third year is organized by the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum annually to catalyze action towards achieving Kenya’s ambitious target of universal access to clean energy by 2028. The theme for this year’s event was Transforming the Enabling Environment to Achieve Universal Access to Clean Cooking by 2028″.
The five-day event that came to a close on Friday involved a series activities including exhibitions, content releases, virtual presentations and demonstration of innovative clean cooking technologies including eCooking. Other activities were the launch of Ministry of Energy and CCAK USSD platform to facilitate linkages between improved clean stoves end users and suppliers; and flagging of trucks that will be used to create awareness on clean cooking solutions.
CCAK Chairman Jechoniah Kitala underscored the need for concerted efforts among all players in the clean cooking sector to fast-track the transition to clean cooking solutions.
“The solution lies in addressing underlying systemic constraints through a multi-actor approach which brings everyone on board. It cannot be done by individual companies, development partners or even the government alone,” said Kitala.
He said CCAK has made significant progress in championing access to modern clean cooking energy services by stimulating demand, strengthening supply and fostering an enabling environment.
Over the last 10 years, Kenya has witnessed increased production capacity up to industrial scale, better quality assurance in the market, innovative business models and enhanced knowledge management.
Part of the sessions at the Clean Cooking Week forum included a review existing policies and strategies that have helped create an enabling environment for adoption and access to clean cooking. These include the Bioenergy Strategy, Behavior Change Communication Strategy, Gender in Energy Policy, and Energy Efficiency Strategy.
In July 2022, the Ministry launched the Behaviour Change and Communications Strategy to promote clean cooking by creating awareness on the benefits of adopting improved cooking solutions. This is expected to result in increased uptake of the solutions both at the household and institutional and small and medium enterprise levels.
It is envisioned that increased uptake and usage of these solutions will result in additional climate change adaptation benefits such as a reduction in biomass degradation, improved health benefits and an increase in household income.
Many of today’s more modern stoves are highly efficient and can reduce fuel use by 30%-60%, resulting in fewer emissions of greenhouse gases and black carbon. Recent evidence also demonstrates that the most advanced (efficient and low-emission) cookstoves and fuels can reduce black carbon emissions by 50%-90%. Well-managed woodlots produce sustainable wood fuel, reducing CO2 emissions.