A Recipe for Success? Randomized Free Distribution of Improved Cooking Stoves in Senegal
Today more than 2.7 billion people rely on biomass as their primary cooking fuel, with
profound implications for the environment and people’s well-being. Wood provision is
often time-consuming and the emitted smoke has severe health effects – both burdens
that afflict women in particular. The dissemination of Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS)
is frequently considered an effective remedy for these problems. This paper evaluates
the take-up of ICS and their impacts through a randomized controlled trial in rural
Senegal. Although distributed for free, the ICS are used by almost 100 % of households.
Furthermore, we find substantial effects on firewood consumption, eye infections, and
respiratory disease symptoms. These findings substantiate the increasing efforts of the
international community to improve access to improved cooking stoves and call for a
more direct promotion of these stoves.