On Earth Day, Remembering Why Lessons Learned Are Critical for the Future of Clean Cooking
Earth Day is a poignant reminder of the importance of expanding access to clean cooking solutions. The burning of solid fuels can account for as much as 80% of black carbon emissions in some countries, contributing to sea ice melt and aggravating the impacts of climate change. Not only is 30% of woodfuel harvested unsustainably, but burning woodfuel for cooking accounts for as many emissions as the entire aviation industry.
With three billion people dependent on polluting, open fires or inefficient stoves to cook their food, the transition to clean cooking remains challenging. But many countries are committed to change: since 2010, the Alliance and its partners have reached 40 million people in eight countries with messages about the benefits of clean cooking. These partners are now sharing their knowledge about what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to convincing consumers to change how they cook.
The Alliance recently co-hosted two workshops: one in Kathmandu, Nepal with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and the other in Nairobi, Kenya with the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK). The workshops collectively brought together 120 people in to discuss the results of Alliance-supported behavior change interventions in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal, and India. These campaigns, implemented between 2015 and 2018, employed a range of tactics, from television shows to radio advertisements and street theater, but shared a common objective: to spread awareness of and support for the purchase and continued use of clean cooking technologies.
As part of the Nepal workshop, participants had the opportunity to attend the “Modern Cookstoves Campaign Festival,” which marked the conclusion of the “Modern Cookstoves” campaign. Over 1,000 people showed up for the event, which featured speeches from government officials, testimonials from users of electric cookstoves, as well as games and competitions. In Kenya, the Alliance and CCAK also hosted a panel on clean cooking and behavior change as part of the first African Social and Behavior Change Conference organized by Population Services Kenya.
Both workshops included presentations by Berkeley Air Monitoring Group and George Washington University on their evaluation of Alliance-supported interventions in Bangladesh, Kenya, and Nigeria. Participants discussed common behavioral drivers, strategies for coordinating with manufacturers and policymakers, and the relative successes of different interventions. Participants at both events came up with a list of recommendations for designing and implementing effective behavior change campaigns for clean cooking. The Alliance is currently compiling these recommendations into a report and looks forward to sharing it soon.
To learn more about the Alliance’s behavior change and demand-generation efforts with partners across Africa and South Asia, visit the webpage on behavior change communications and the BCC Resource Hub.
Bond et. al., 2013: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/jgrd.50171
 Sand, M., et al., Response of Arctic temperature to changes in emissions of short-lived climate forcers. Nature and Climate Change. 2015;
 Bailis et al, 2015: Rob Bailis of Stockholm Environment Institute, researched funded by the Global Alliance and published in Nature and Climate Change in 2015 https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2491