Low income Kenyans to gain from clean energy for cooking initiative


Household air pollution caused by the use of solid fuel burning is one of the largest risk factors for disease worldwide.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenyans who use kerosene, wood, or charcoal for cooking are set to gain from a clean energy initiative.

A countrywide rollout of access to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is intended to be used for cooking by low-income homes, has been started by a team of international researchers from the University of Liverpool.

This is after a previous project that ran from 2018 to 2022 showed significant health and gender equity gains by adoption of LPG for cooking.

The project had significant benefits for the environment as it promoted less deforestation and pollution from solid fuel burning.

The team received over Sh1 billion to expand sustainable energy access quickly throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, in an effort to promote gender equality, better health, and stop climate change.

Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and other collaborators from Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda will co-direct the study.

The 5-year programme dubbed CLEAN-Air (Africa) will focus on addressing barriers to adoption of clean modern fuels for resource poor households.

This comes after earlier research conducted by the University of Liverpool showed that household air pollution caused by the use of these fuels is one of the largest risk factors for disease worldwide and causes more than two million premature deaths each year.

“After effectively training community health workers in air pollution, health and prevention across Kenya we now plan to reach 130,000 community health workers to complete the training under Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage,” Dr James Mwitari a senior research fellow based at Kemri and co-Director for CLEAN-Air (Africa).

“The potential for primary and secondary prevention of household air pollution related disease at a community level is substantial and we have already seen examples of how lives have been saved through this education,” he added.

Additionally, the money will be utilized to create an air pollution center of excellence at Kemri, which will house cutting-edge training facilities and air monitoring technology.

Academicians and organizations from the public and private sectors in Kenya and throughout Africa will use the center to carry out research and air quality monitoring.

People who cook with fuels like wood run the risk of seriously damaging their lungs by breathing in unsafe amounts of pollutants and bacterial toxins, according to a prior study by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Despite persistent initiatives to encourage people to transition to clean energy sources like LPG, the campaign has continued to face obstacles from poverty, reluctance to break old habits, and a lack of knowledge about how such fuels affect lung health.

With national goals to scale clean cooking under SDG7, the CLEAN-Air (Africa) Unit will extend its program beyond Cameroon and Kenya to other East African nations, including Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.

The Unit will build on the accomplishments of the county-level community air pollution prevention initiative that CLEAN-Air (Africa) implemented in all 47 counties of Kenya.

Other research collaborators include the Lung Institute, the Rwanda Biomedical Center, the University of Dar es Salaam, Makerere University, Moi University, the Eagle Research Center, and the Douala General Hospital from Cameroon.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.