Discussions around clean cooking are taking center stage. Cooking using polluting methods is considered a health and environmental hazard. A significantly large number of people are affected.
According to the World Health Organization, about 3 billion people globally cook using polluting open fires or use stoves fueled by coal, kerosene, or biomass. Similarly, close to 4 million people die every year of premature illnesses caused by household indoor air pollution from inefficient cooking systems.
It is obvious, the majority of the people affected are those in rural areas and the urban poor. A lot of discussions and forums around clean cooking energy sources are active in towns and cities. Those in slum areas, which are, in this case, considered as the urban poor, are forgotten. The rural dwellers who are geographically disadvantaged information-wise are also left behind.
As we advocate for clean cooking energy solutions as one way of addressing climate change and reducing illnesses associated with polluting energy sources, we must take these discussions closer to the main victims.
We might have the technology; yet, if the primary victims are not aware of the dangers they are subjected to by their daily activities, then our deliberations and good intentions will amount to nothing.
It is time to move from theory to practice. However, first provide information on the cost involved, accessibility, financial assistance available, existing viable clean cooking solutions, and the potential benefits of shifting from polluting to cleaner solutions.
Clean Cooking Forum 2019
During the Clean Cooking Forum 2019 that took place in Nairobi from 5th to 7th November with a representation of individuals including myself from more than 50 countries around the world reaffirmed the need to intensify the talks among the rural persons and the urban poor in the developing nations.
“It is difficult for people in rural areas to embrace briquettes at first. This is because it is a new technology for most of them. Maybe their exposure is limited,” said one of the clean cooking solutions entrepreneurs at the forum.
To successfully achieve SDG 7, ‘Affordable and Clean Energy,’ the rural persons and the urban poor must be included in policy and decision making forums regarding clean cooking. They deserve an invitation to the high table. Rural women, in particular, should be highly prioritized because they are on the receiving end.
There can never be a universal clean cooking solution; cultural dynamics, economic, and social aspects of a given community play an integral role. Thus, the opinions and thoughts of these different communities should be put into consideration.
Our target as a country (Kenya) was to be powered by green energy by 2020. That is evidently not feasible. However, if we are determined, then we should start by supporting and implementing clean cooking initiatives among communities that largely depend on polluting sources.
This article was published on the Star Newspaper Opinion By Caroline Kibii- Take Clean Cooking Fuel to Rural Folks