Project Title: Tackling household air pollution in rural Kenya
Host Organisation: African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), Kenya
The proposed work will look at the possible shift in fuels used for cooking in a rural community, from wood to ethanol with the aim to protect the health of women and young girls who are most times the cooks for their families. Many homes in Kenya and in Africa have been using wood as the main fuel for cooking and heating, but research has shown that this has negative impacts on the health of people. In addition Kenya has been facing declining forest cover due to over-harvesting of trees for wood and charcoal among other uses. An alternative fuel like ethanol is clean and if taken up by many households, the effects on health arising from wood would be eliminated. There are also business opportunities for women who can sell ethanol to other users in their neighborhoods. Women will also have more time which can be used for productive efforts because they do not have to go looking for ethanol like they do with wood. This study is important because it provides households with the opportunity to shift to clean fuels and therefore protect the health of women and children. It also fits with the government's aim of having all homes in the country use clean fuels and lastly it will contribute towards protecting the environment by reducing demand for wood and charcoal and cutting down the production of pollutants that lead to climate change. The project's findings can be applied to other countries in Africa with similar challenges.