Sparking change: smoke free kitchens for Bangladesh


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More than 90% of Bangladeshis use biomass fuel for cooking, but few are aware that the toxic fumes produced by the daily act of cookingpose a serious risk to health - especially to that of women and young children. It is estimated that more than 24 million rural and nearly 6 million urban Bangladeshis are exposed to household air pollution (HAP) due to solid fuel use. What’s more, the pollutants released by burning solid biomass contribute to climate change at regional and global levels.

Launched in 2010 with the mission ‘to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and preserve the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels’, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) brings an unrivalled global network and knowledge base, as well as the ability to galvanise political support at the highest level. Its strategy includes enhancing demand for cookstoves and strengthening supply. In 2012 SNV partnered with GACC and the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry for Power (Power Division) with the ultimate goal of disseminating clean cookstoves to over 30 million households in Bangladesh by 2030.

In January 2014 the Bangladesh Government cookstove core team led by SNV Bangladesh renewable energy advisor Al Mudabbir Bin Anam visited the GACC headquarters in Washington DC to discuss implementing the Bangladesh country action plan for clean cookstoves (launched by the Government in November 2013) and to identify priority interventions for 2014. The team also discussed the establishment of the Government-run Household Energy Platform which will harmonize the cookstove sector development. 

The SNV-GACC partnership agreed to work with the World Bank in the ISO international cookstove standards process and cooperate more closely with USAID and UN SE4ALL in cookstove sector development. It is establishing a National Cookstove Testing and Knowledge Centre in Bangladesh and lobbying relevant line Ministries to incorporate the cookstove agenda into their policy and programming. 

SNV brings in-country field presence, strong connections with the Power Division and a wealth of experience providing technical advisory and capacity-building support to public, private and civil society stakeholders in developing countries and, vitally, the credibility with stakeholders to fulfil a facilitator role. With SNV’s support, the government-led country action plan (CAP) was a multi-stakeholderparticipatory process that allowed all major actors to develop a common understanding and agreement to work together to create a sustainable market and scale up current interventions.