"To activate climate action in a country, women are essential. They are the formidable force behind the drive for renewable energy and we plan to intensify our input in the sector,” explains Engr. Bahijjahtu Abubakar, National Coordinator of Renewable Energy Programme at the Federal Ministry of Environment in Nigeria.
The aim of the project is to equip country leaders with the ground reality data they need to identify and deliver reliable clean household energy to 1 million households by 2025, and, more significantly, to identify a basket of viable solutions that can reach all 3 billion people in need of clean energy.
The two most promising clean cookstoves from the first phase were the LPG and a forced-draft biomass stove, and are being moved to the second phase to be tested in 50 households each. The lowest when it came black carbon emissions reduction at 71.9%, the forced-draft biomass stove, exhibited high usage rate because it matched current cooking habits, like using free firewood, making it a promising contender for scale up. Uptake of the LPG, the cleanest stove in this cohort, reducing black carbon emissions by ~99.5%, was the highest among the liquid fuel-based stoves. More significantly, the LPG stove, perceived by local communities as the stove of the future meant for modern cooking, received positive feedback and women even expressed willingness to pay for such a stove.
While both had imperfect results during the first stage, having a combination of liquid fuel and biomass stoves for the next stage of work will contribute towards understanding how clean energy interventions can better meet women’s needs as well as what assumptions should be challenged in the process.
Expecting one stove or even the cleanest stove to satisfy all households’ needs does not reflect the complexity of cooking practices. As one Nigerian woman said, “Some think their stoves aren't okay for their cooking, and would have loved to have another type. For instance, some women using the improved wood stoves would say they prefer to have been issued with LPG stove, whereas some women that were even given the LPG stove would say they wished that they were issued with the improved wood stoves so that they could easily fetch firewood from their farmland and use for free without the financial stress of having to refuel their gas cylinder every now and then.”
Nexleaf’s work in Nigeria and previously in India is making a case for results-based scaling and programming as precursor to financing. As results-based financing continues to grow in the energy space, for example the World Bank’s planned $500 million Clean Cooking Fund to drive universal access to clean cooking for the poorest 3 billion, it is necessary to have identifiable methods to track and prove results for investors and for people.
“This project is a major step in enriching our knowledge and capabilities, and in finding solutions that can thrive in different environments,” says Tara Ramanathan, Director of Clean Cooking at Nexleaf. “It’s invigorating to see that when we work collaboratively not only with other stakeholders but also with the women who are doing the cooking, progress is both measurable and attainable.”