Sustained adoption of clean and efficient cookstoves is essential for developing countries in reducing adverse health, environmental and climate impacts. Numerous factors influence a family’s decision to adopt a new cookstove or fuel including socioeconomic, behavioral, and environmental. While a range of benefits can be achieved through the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels, experience in community development has shown that improved technologies or cleaner fuels do not guarantee usage. Households are reluctant to adopt technologies or fuels that are:
- difficult to install or maintain,
- less convenient, or
- offer fewer options than traditional methods
Although social and environmental benefits can be achieved through the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels, dramatic reductions in emissions are required to achieve health benefits. Indeed, recent research suggests that substantial health benefits can only be achieved with intensive, near exclusive adoption of extremely low emission technologies and fuels.
A gendered approach is critical for adoption and sustained use of clean cooking solutions, and while better understanding of women’s needs and their involvement in technology development and implementation are vitally important, so too is greater involvement of men. This is because men often play an important role in decisions regarding the household budget. Furthermore, men are sometimes involved in the gathering of biomass and therefore are the main beneficiaries of the fuel savings.