Reducing Behavioural Barriers to the Sustained Use of Clean Cooking Technologies in Rwanda

Lead Research Organisation: London School of Economics & Pol Sci
Department Name: Geography and Environment


The use of biomass fuel for cooking in the home can cause significant respiratory and environmental harm. Indeed, the World Health Organisation lists illness relating to indoor air pollution (IAP) as the top environmental cause of death in the world, responsible for around 4.3 million deaths a year. Traditional cooking fires can also cause substantial environmental damage, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions by releasing gases such as CO2, methane and black carbon into the atmosphere. Furthermore, their need for biomass fuel affects local ecosystems, as unsustainable harvesting can lead to the degradation of local forests and reduced productivity of agricultural lands (Mobarak et al, 2012).
Since clean cook stove technologies can offer both environmental and significant health gains, substantial resources have been allocated to the diffusion of these in recent years. As a result, they have even been the focus of high-profile development projects, such as Hillary Clinton's 2010 Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (which pushed for stove ownership of 100 million households by 2020). Despite this, the use of inefficient, traditional cookstoves remains extremely prevalent in the developing world. 75% of South Asians use these stoves still and 82% of households in Sub Saharan Africa burn solid fuels for cooking (Health Effects Institute, 2004; Kammila et al, 2014). Even in contexts where the adoption of energy efficient cookstoves is relatively high, it seems that ownership of these stoves is not always sufficient to promote their sustained use.
In my PhD studies, I will contribute to the existing knowledge on barriers to the sustained use of energy efficient technologies in the developing world. Specifically, I will consider bottlenecks to the use of clean cookstoves in Sub-Saharan Africa - designing and implementing a randomised controlled trial in Rwanda amongst current owners of such stoves. The study will assess the relative effectiveness of different interventions to promote sustained use of these technologies, in a context where initial technology adoption is high.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000622/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2480054 Studentship ES/P000622/1 28/09/2020 30/09/2023 Sarah Elven