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SEI Paper Investigates Avenues for Improving Clean Cooking Options in Zambia

SEI Logo4 August 2013: The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published a working paper examining Zambian household charcoal-use practices, capacities to change, and needs and wants of users that could facilitate or prevent such change.

The paper, titled 'Transforming Household Energy Practices among Charcoal Users in Lusaka, Zambia: A User-Centred Approach' and authored by Aaron Atteridge and Jacqueline Senyagwa, begins with the premise that household charcoal use in Sub-Saharan Africa, and specifically in the case study of Lusaka, Zambia, is both environmentally unsustainable and a serious health risk. The paper finds that while respondents felt a cultural attachment to traditional cooking methods, they recognized economic and health-related shortcomings of the method but were economically unable to use electric cooking, the only other option most were aware of. On the supply side, they found local stove makers could not afford to invest time or capital in designing more efficient cooking alternatives for their customers.

The paper concludes that three possible options could reduce charcoal use in Lusaka: designing efficient cookstoves physically resembling stoves already in use locally (the paper provides specific design suggestions); introducing inexpensive solar water heating devices to lower demand for charcoal to heat water; and restructuring electricity prices to offer lower prices to the poor. [Publication: Transforming Household Energy Practices among Charcoal Users in Lusaka, Zambia: A User-Centred Approach]