An energy needs assessment conducted by East African Wild Life Society among households within and around Mt. Suswa Conservancy has revealed that over 90% of these households rely on biomass to fuel their traditional cooking stoves. This reliance has led to escalating levels of forest destruction in the conservancy as well as habitat reduction for baboons, leopards, spotted hyenas, african civets and rock hyraxes who call Mt. Suswa Conservancy home. An increase in respiratory disorders, predominantly among women and school going children has also been noted.
In response, EAWLS in partnership with the Karen Country Club (KCC) recently installed an institutional rocket stove at Karuka Primary School, Mt. Suswa Conservancy. The rocket stove has a capacity to cook for up to 250 people at a go and is expected to benefit over 225 people directly. This rocket stove uses less firewood than traditional cook stoves and ensures complete fuel combustion, thus faster cooking times.
Karuka Primary School is but one of several schools located around Mt. Suswa Conservancy that use traditional cook stoves to prepare meals for their students and teachers. These traditional cooking stoves are inefficient as they do not fully combust biomass thus, up to 75% of heat they produce is lost. Their combustion processes also release compounds including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, particulate matter and black carbon that are hazardous to human health.
Indoor smoke from biomass is linked to childhood pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer and is ranked in the top 10 risk factors for the global burden of disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
To facilitate the use of their traditional cooking stove, Karuka Primary School pupils previously had to carry at least two pieces of firewood to school every day – a tedious exercise that exposed them to various hazards including attacks by wild animals.
This installation of this and other rocket stoves is a step forward in helping Kenya realise a 100% transition to renewable energy. Furthermore, this initiative champions sustainable development through improvements to human health, energy access as well as biodiversity protection.
If you would like to partner with EAWLS to install rocket stoves in Mt. Suswa Conservancy and reduce biomass dependence, please contact Jabes.Okumu@eawildlife.org.