Indoor Air Pollution
Skip to: Background | TRAction Research | Duke - India | Impact Carbon - Uganda | PATH - Uganda
Indoor air pollution (IAP) poses a substantial threat to the health of the world’s poor. Over half of the world’s population still cooks with solid-fuel – including wood, dung, coal or agricultural residues – on poorly functioning traditional stoves or open fires, and this is often carried out in conditions of limited ventilation. As a result, an estimated 1 billion people, mostly women and children, are exposed to IAP levels that are 20 to 100 times greater than World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. This increases their risk for developing lower-respiratory infections, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). IAP also results in many negative economic and environmental impacts. Increasing the use of improved cookstoves, which use lower emission fuels and improved ventilation, can help combat these problems.
Recognizing the threat posed by IAP, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was recently introduced as a public-private partnership that aims to tackle the issue by establishing a global market for clean, efficient, affordable, and user-desired cooking solutions (stoves and fuels).
In alignment with these efforts, TRAction awarded three grants to Duke University in Durham, Impact Carbon in San Francisco, and PATH in Seattle. The grants will fund reasearch to identify factors that enable families to purchase improved low-emission cookstoves and use them correctly. Researchers will develop, implement, and evaluate innovative behavior change interventions to promote improved cookstove acquisition and correct use in India and Uganda.
Please download the following Fact Sheets for a brief overview of the three indoor air pollution research projects being funded by TRAction:
Fact Sheet – Summary of Duke University’s Research on Acquisition and Correct Use of Improved Cookstoves
Fact Sheet – Summary of Impact Carbon’s Research on Acquisition and Correct Use of Improved Cookstoves
Fact Sheet – Summary of PATH’s Research on Acquisition and Correct Use of Improved Cookstoves
TRAction has awarded funds to Duke University to conduct research on introducing various behavior change communication (BCC) components into Project Surya, which has been working to increase dissemination and use of cleaner-burning cooking technologies in Uttar Pradesh, India. After refining common theories of behavior change based on the Indian context and identifying promising BCC interventions, Duke will implement and evaluate the impact of these interventions on improved cookstove (ICS) acquisition and correct use. The study will take into account contextual factors, cost, and reliability of data collection methods. Partners on the project include The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of New Delhi, India; Nexleaf Analytics of Los Angeles, California; and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego.
The research will consist of an initial baseline survey that will involve 2000 households to lay the groundwork for developing and testing the effects of an intervention to increase the adoption and correct use of ICS.
Interventions will include:
- Stove Price Modifications – Households will be offered various levels of subsidies, ranging from zero to full subsidy, or financing options that allow households to spread payments over time.
- An information campaign will either give visual feedback to households on indoor air pollution (for example, by showing them dirty air filters placed in their homes), or education on time savings, money savings, and health benefits related to improved stoves.
- A social marketing campaign will use community-level social mobilization to promote the health and environmental benefits of improved stoves.
Stove behaviors will be compared between households receiving the different interventions and control households not participating in the interventions. The researchers will look at whether stove behaviors changed from before to after the interventions to evaluate their success in increasing adoption and correct use of the stoves. The researchers will also determine if factors such as rural vs. urban residence, presence of institutional structures (NGOs vs. lack of NGOs), and availability of fuel alternatives affect stove behaviors. Additionally, data analysis will assess correct stove use, household preferences for specific attributes of cooking technologies, sustained use of the stoves, costs and benefits of ICS, and social and emotional factors that influence ICS adoption.
Results of the study will be used to:
- Develop a guide that can be used to determine potential sales and supply of ICS;
- Inform a protocol for monitoring sales, use, delivery costs, and key supply and demand shifters of ICS;
- Inform Project Surya’s demonstration and replication phases, the Indian government’s National Biomass Cookstoves Initiative, and the work of other stove groups; and
- Apply the identified cost-benefit outcomes for each intervention to other stove programs.
Impact Carbon has been awarded funds to conduct research on expanding the Uganda Efficient Stove Project, which has commercially sold thousands of improved charcoal stoves in Uganda. The study will test behavior changecommunication (BCC) strategies to increase the purchase and use of improved, clean-burning wood stoves in rural regions of Uganda where wood, not charcoal, is the primary fuel. Partners on the project include the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and two local Ugandan partners – the Centre for Integrated Research and Community Development (CIRCODU) and Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP).
The program will conduct a baseline assessment to collect data on demographics, fuel and time use, cooking patterns, knowledge and attitudes, and health symptoms related to cooking, followed by a feasibility study to identify the most locally appropriate cookstove design. This data will be used to design three randomized intervention trials, which will include:
- A novel sales offer allowing households a free trial of the stove, payments spread out over time, and the right to return the stove if not satisfied.
- Selection of some women to purchase their stoves early and others to purchase their stoves later, to allow comparison between the groups on the effects of the improved stoves on time, money, particulate matter, and health.
- Provision of peer training, with one group receiving training early and another receiving it later.
The project will analyze:
- The effect of the novel sales offer on cookstove uptake;
- Stove use and its impact on time savings, fuel purchasing, exposure to particulate matter, and health symptoms;
- The effects of peer training on stove use, knowledge, and perceptions; and
- Other aspects related to improved cookstoves including community response to stove attributes, social norms, prices women are willing to pay for improved stoves, and social support for using improved stoves.
Results will be used to inform optimal strategies for scaling up and replicating the Uganda Efficient Stove Project. A program guide, “Optimizing Behavior Change in Fuel Efficient Stoves,” will be developed to facilitate scale-up of other cookstove projects. The project partners will also engage with stakeholders such as community members, non-governmental organizations, and local ministries in Uganda to collect feedback and facilitate results-based improved stove program design and policies.
PATH, the Seattle-based Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, has been awarded funds to conduct research on integrating behavior change communication (BCC) interventions into the World Bank-funded Biomass Energy Initiative for Africa (BEIA) project in Uganda. PATH will work with BEIA, which is helping stove programs scale-up their operations and achieve economic viability, to establish local production and dissemination of an efficient, low-emission, relatively low-cost TopLit UpDraft (TLUD) gasifier stove. They will evaluate BCC activities that can improve the acquisition and use of these stoves. Partners on the project include the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group (BA), and a local Ugandan partner – the Joint Energy and Environment Programme (JEEP).
The study will involve baseline assessments to measure fuel consumption, indoor air quality, and stove usage, followed by formative research on current attitudes and practices related to cookstoves. This data will be used to design behavior change communication strategies that will encourage people to buy and correctly use the improved TLUD stove.
Interventions will include:
- Direct-sales – Primarily female community agents will encourage stove purchase by educating community members on the benefits of the TLUD stove.
- Demonstrations – Early adopters of the TLUD stoves will perform cooking demonstrations at local markets to demonstrate stove attributes.
- Integration with Village-Level Household Health Visits – Village Health Teams will be trained to integrate IAP and improved cookstove information into their routine home visits.
- Other BCC activities, identified through the formative research, may include sensitizing leaders, counseling, visiting support groups, giving health talks, engaging male leaders, etc.
The program will be analyzed by comparing data on stove usage, product uptake, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and consumer responses from the different intervention and control groups in select Kampala-area villages in Uganda.
Depending on the results, PATH will work with stakeholders to facilitate one of three scale-up approaches:
- Form a cooperative society, including the sales team and product suppliers, and nominate coordinators;
- Engage an established social marketing organization in Uganda (i.e. Living Goods) to work with the sales people and suppliers; or
- Conduct a success or failure analysis and identify lessons learned.