As part of efforts to drive adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels around the world, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has announced awards to four organizations to design and manage behavior change communication (BCC) interventions in Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria. 

Selected from more than 60 proposals, the BCC interventions will take place over the next two years and are expected to deliver impactful, evidence-based communications aimed at influencing consumer purchasing decisions and encouraging consistent use of cleaner cooking options.  The interventions will employ a variety of outreach tools, communication channels, and creative concepts, including a new cooking-focused reality TV show, radio programming, mobile messaging, roadshows, street theater, and more.  

“These behavior change interventions will help increase consumer demand for a range of higher-performing cookstoves and fuels, improving lives, protecting the environment, and enabling manufacturers to meet the needs of more and more households,” said Brian Smith, Chief Operating Officer of the Alliance. “The Alliance’s added focus on demand creation comes at a time when there’s a wider selection of higher-quality stoves available than ever before.”

Integrated communication campaigns are a proven means of raising awareness about new products and motivating people to change their behavior.  Through these awards, the Alliance expects to reach up to 20 million people with messaging about clean cooking. By reaching millions of women and families at scale, the interventions are expected to increase demand for clean cooking products and enhance the marketing efforts of individual enterprises and organizations active in the sector.

A diverse team of international behavior change experts worked together with Alliance staff to review the submissions and select the four winners. To monitor and evaluate each intervention, researchers from the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group and The George Washington University will lead a team that will gather lessons learned and best practices for the sector.

A global market for clean cooking solutions is necessary to reach the 3 billion people who still depend on food cooked with solid fuels each day. When burned in open fires and basic cookstoves, wood, coal, charcoal, and other solid fuels emit harmful smoke that claims 4 million lives annually through a range of diseases and injuries – making household air pollution from cookstove smoke the fourth greatest health risk in the world.

Below are brief summaries of the four awardees and the proposed interventions they will implement:

  • The Mediae CompanyThe Mediae Company is a successful producer of entertaining and educational media that promote changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices amongst East African audiences. They currently produce two highly successful Kenyan TV series: a drama set in a peri-urban village and a reality show targeting farmers with improved agricultural techniques. These TV shows have a combined audience of 15 million. They will develop a new reality series called “Shamba Chef” that will travel to the homes of women throughout Kenya and feature advice on cooking technologies and techniques, as well as tips on food management and nutrition. Clean cooking story lines will also be featured on their two existing shows. Shorter versions of the show will be developed for and aired on radio, and audiences will be able to subscribe to a mobile app to receive ongoing tips and request leaflets with additional information be sent to their homes.
  • Population Services Kenya/Practical Action Consulting: Population Services Kenya (PS Kenya) is Kenya’s largest BCC/social marketing organization and has 25 years’ experience of developing and implementing large-scale campaigns in health. Practical Action Consulting (PAC) is the dynamic consulting arm of the UK-based international NGO Practical Action, and has extensive experience working on energy access and cookstoves in Kenya (and the region). The team will leverage PS Kenya’s network of community outreach workers to conduct household and small group level communication about clean cooking. They will also conduct roadshows and place messaging on local radio stations. They will seek to leverage PS Kenya’s existing distributors to help manufacturers to reach a wider wholesale and retail network, and drive demand through in-store promotions. 
  • McCann Global Health/Africare: McCann Health is the world’s most-awarded professional and consumer health network, and is fully integrated into McCann Worldgroup, the largest marketing communications agency network in the world. Africare engages in projects that leverage local resources for under-served communities to solve their own development challenges, prioritizing the cross-cutting themes of economic development, nutrition, water, WASH, women’s empowerment, and youth engagement. Africare began working on cooking related issues in 2012, and have since worked with the Nigerian LPG and cookstove community to develop programs aimed at increasing uptake of cleaner stoves and fuels across 11 states in Nigeria. The team will focus efforts in two states in Nigeria, with a primary goal of motivating women to make the switch from kerosene to LPG for cooking. They will leverage the expertise of the McCann communications network to develop a mass media campaign, and build on Africare’ s existing community level programs and relationships with the LPG community in Nigeria, including their work with over 100 women’s cooperatives, to integrate more women into the LPG distribution chain. 
  • SMC (Social Marketing Company): SMC is a recognized leader in BCC, social marketing, and community mobilization in Bangladesh. They have worked on numerous health-related campaigns on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and other funders, and have created one of the largest networks of private sector community level health service providers known as “Blue Star”, which now exceeds 6,000 outlets across the country. They also operate one of the largest distribution networks in the country, expanding access to products and services at the last mile. They will develop community-focused campaigns with local theater, household visits, engagement of village leaders, and local radio and cable. They will also integrate cookstoves and fuels into their existing distribution and entrepreneur networks, and train their network of health providers on appropriate health messaging around cooking. 

“These organizations are leaders in the field, and have decades of behavior change communications experience, much of it focused on increasing the use of needed health products at scale,” said Julie Ipe, Senior Manager of Market Insight & Behavior Change at the Alliance.  “We are excited to bring that experience to the cookstoves sector.”

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The Alliance’s 100 by ‘20 goal calls for 100 million households to gain access to clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. The Alliance works with a strong network of public, private and non-profit partners to accelerate the production, deployment, and use of clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels in developing countries.