Locally produced efficient Upesi stoves reduce wood consumption in Kenya and help to preserve the unique vegetation and biodiversity of Kakamega rainforest. The stoves have a cleaner burning process and thus decrease indoor air pollution and associated acute respiratory infections in women and children. Moreover, savings in burning unsustainably harvested fuel wood cut down CO2 emissions.
The project plans to distribute 52,000 efficient cook stoves to rural households in communities adjacent to Kakamega Forest in Western Kenya throughout the project life of seven years. Kakamega rainforest is Kenya’s last remnant lowland indigenous forest and is home to an immense variety of unique and threatened animals and plants. The northern part is a protected area belonging to the Kakamega National Reserve. Despite having a protected status, Kakamega forest is severely damaged and degraded due to the pressure on its resources. The surrounding area is one of the densest populated rural regions of the world (> 500 inhabitant/km2) and 90 percent of the people depend on forest resources for fuel wood and livelihood. The Kakamega Forest has lost almost 50 percent of its area since it was formally gazetted in 1933.
I am happy. Before I had the cook stove, I had to go to the forest every day, which is a 15-20km walk with all the heavy wood on my head. Now I only have to go to the forest twice a week.
Susan Muyanzi, 33 years, 2 children, Lusero, Kakamega, Kenya
Households in the project area use a traditional three-stone fireplace for cooking and women spend an average of 15 hours per week collecting fuel wood from Kakamega forest for home use. Poverty rate around Kakamega Forest is above 60 percent and unemployment above 25 percent. This calls for a simple, affordable and locally produced efficient stove technology to reduce wood consumption and preserve unique vegetation and biodiversity of Kakamega Forest. The project therefore identified the efficient Upesi cook stove as an appropriate technology for this region.
The Upesi stove is a natural ceramic stove and is 35-50 percent more efficient than the three-stone stove. It is manufactured and marketed at a subsidized price by local women’s and youth groups. The efficient stove is not a portable stove, but will be fix installed in households. This is more convenient for cooking since traditional dishes such as Ugali (made from maize flour) need to be stirred during preparation process. The project is developed and implemented by the US-Kenyan organisation Eco2librium.
IMPACTS AND BENEFITS ACHIEVED SO FAR: