Nepal is a mountainous country challenged by its inherent topography and socioeconomic conditions; nearly one fourth of its population live below the poverty line. Household Air Pollution (HAP) is one of the biggest causes of premature deaths globally. In rural areas, especially remote and poor communities of Nepal, solid biomass fuel burning in the kitchens with inefficient cook stoves has posed a threat to not just health but also the atmosphere.
The project enables the distribution on a wide scale of efficient clean-burning cookstoves, improving the health outcomes of participating households. The clean-burning cookstoves reduce the use of biomass by as much as 2/3rds. This project is implemented in several districts of Nepal.
A 2016 study by the government of Nepal showed that 88.7% of the Nepalese households use firewood for cooking. Up to 3 kg of wood is used per day, having dire consequences on the health of women and children. Women are mostly responsible for gathering firewood and for the household food preparation.
In the project baseline (before this intervention) households were using traditional inefficient cookstoves or open fires for meeting their daily needs. The clean-burning stoves are designed to reduce smoke, particulate matter, and other gaseous emissions, thus creating cleaner indoor air for women and children.
The Improved Cookstoves in Nepal project enables widespread implementation of simple cookstove technology that has significant outcomes in environmental and social well-being. The project is being implemented in Baglung, Argakhanchi,Bara, Chitwan,Gulmi Kaski, Makwanpur, Myagdi, Parbat, and Syangja Districts in Nepal, providing easy access to clean cookstoves, and improving indoor air quality in all these rural regions.
This project supports important sustainable development in several ways. The project enables an innovative finance model that brings access to affordable clean energy, benefitting the local community’s economic health, alongside improved physical well-being. In combating poverty, the project provides for women led microfinance institutions that strengthens private sector led cookstove marketing. Project implementation creates local jobs, and through the reduced pressure on firewood gathering, protects and enhances the local biodiversity, protecting watersheds and forests.
The underlying theory of change supported by this project is that once the clean cookstove entrepreneurs are provided with Results-Based Financing (RBF) incentives, over a period of five years, the project will grow in capacity and will be able to continue to meet the ongoing demand. Through their initially supported activities, they will gradually be able to achieve greater production, quality assurance, and decrease their costs through economies of scale, so that the price of a portable cook stove will be reduced.