Household perspectives on cookstove and fuel stacking: A qualitative study in urban and rural Kenya
Stove and fuel stacking is becoming accepted as part of the clean cooking transition process, even though it attenuates positive health and climate benefits that can be realized by cookstove interventions. This study analyses the underlying drivers of stove and fuel stacking from the household perspectives, and its implications for improving impact of clean cooking programs.
The study draws on a case study of two communities in Western and Northern Kenya: rural households predominantly using biomass fuels and urban households predominantly using liquefied petroleum gas for cooking. Data was collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, and was analysed using the systematic procedures of grounded theory.
Stove and fuel stacking is found to be a pervasive practice, necessitated by the inability of any single cooking device to fulfill all stove applications and needs in the household. Time-costs and practical limitations associated with the primary stove, such as inability to accommodate large pot sizes were identified as the major reasons for stacking. These reasons were much more dominant than cultural attachment to traditional stoves and associated food tastes. Stacking had some highly regarded positive benefits, such as providing a fallback stove when the primary one could not meet key functionalities; and saving time by allowing for multiple dishes to be prepared simultaneously.
Our findings support other studies that have shown stacking to be a common practice, and highlights the implications of this practice for strategies aimed at scaling-out clean cookstoves.