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Clean Stoves: A Simple Solution with Profound Impact on Kenyan Lives

By Practical Action On 26.02.2024 EnergyNews

Thousands of families in Kenya are set to benefit from a reduction in environmental damage and illnesses caused by cooking over open fires.

United Nations Development Programme-UNDP funding will enable Practical Action and communities in three rural counties to work together and combat the challenges of climate change, pollution, and deforestation.

Jechonia Kitala, Practical Action’s Sustainable Energy Expert said “This project has the potential to showcase an approach which could transform the health and lives of millions of Kenyan women and girls. It builds on decades of experience Practical Action has in working in the clean cooking sector and we’re incredibly excited to be working with a set of committed partner organisations to achieve this.”

The 2019 National Census reports that two-thirds of Kenyans rely on solid biomass, which includes firewood and charcoal, as their main cooking fuel. This contributes to environmental degradation, air pollution, and respiratory diseases.

Cooking with charcoal and firewood cause deforestation and create indoor smoke, which can have a devastating effect on health – particularly the health of women and girls.

According to, the Ministry of Energy (2019), Kenya’s Ministry of Health estimates that approximately 21,500 premature deaths affecting mostly women and girls occur each year as a result of air pollution caused by cooking.

A report from the Stockholm Environment Institute (2016) reveals that acute lower respiratory infections are the second leading cause of death in Kenya, accounting for 26% of all reported deaths in Kenyan hospitals.

Over 90% of public institutions such as schools are also dependent on biomass fuels for cooking, which increases the demand for firewood and charcoal.

These alarming figures highlight the urgent need for Kenya to address the harmful consequences of unhealthy cooking practices. In response, the country set an ambitious target in 2020, aiming to reduce such emissions by 32%. This commitment recognises that clean cooking is a top priority, offering immense potential to reduce environmental pollution and improve public health – and Practical Action’s work will contribute to achieving these goals.

A woman in a white shirt holding a small stove, promoting a simple solution for Kenyan Lives.

This new $230,000 project will align with these ambitions which aims to distribute 4.55 million improved stoves between 2020 to 2030 by:

  • Distributing 10,000 fuel-efficient cookstoves to households in rural and peri-urban areas.
  • Installing clean cooking technologies in five public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and prisons.
  • Raising public awareness on Kenya’s Clean Cooking Strategy targeting ten million people.
  • Supporting Machakos, Tana River and Kajiado Counties to develop their first energy plans to enhance sustainable energy access, including clean cooking.
  • Training 500 women and youth on clean cooking technologies and enterprises such as briquetting to improve livelihoods.
  • Supporting Kenyan government Ministries of Energy, Finance, Environment and Planning to address key energy-related decisions.


The one-year project, Accelerating clean cooking Actions(ACCA) is financed by United Nations Development Programme-UNDP and implemented by Practical Action. The other partners include, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum-Kenya , Clean Cooking Association of Kenya and Community Road Empowerment Kenya (CORE).