House hold air pollution, climate change rapidly dwindling forest cover… this is what has been associated with cooking in Africa in a wider context, and Uganda in particular. The Nordic Climatic Facility (NCF), Aalborg University and Scale Bio Fuel together with Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation(CREEC) is conducting pilot studies intended to introduce bio ethanol using improved cook stoves as alternative cooking method to solve this fuel and stove problem.
Now in its third phase, CREEC has conducted pilot studies on viability of bioethanol as cooking fuel in the urban and peri-urban areas of the country. A market survey was recently conducted in Luwero district in the villages neighbouring Ndibulungi Sugar Factory. Fifty households participated in the pilot study from four villages with the help of the Local authority (Local Council Chairpersons) in each village. Mobilization, coordination and selection of respondents was done through the help of the LC1 Chairpersons and the management of Ndibulungi sugar factory. The unti chosen included: Ndibulungi sugar factory, Kakaba, Yandwe and Ndibulungi villages. Each village provided at least 12 households that volunteered to take part in the exercise.
Harriet Achieng from CREEC handing out questionaires to people in Luweero after a cooking demonstration
A public lecture was organized to train the community on how to use bio ethanol as a cooking fuel and the dangers of abusing the fuel. It was stressed that ethanol is ONLY adapted for use as a cooking fuel, and as such never to be ingested or used for any other purpose. Its high flammability means that it ought to be kept out of the reach of children in addition to keeping the container always tightly shut. An open demonstration on how to operate the stove was organized to help in usability.
The reception was overwhelming based on the turn up, so much so that at some locations, the burners were not enough. The people had to cast to decide who walks way with the package. The scarcity and high cost of firewood due to the dry spell and deforestation that has greatly decimated the forest cover of the area was a major highlight of their cry. As such women and children have to literally scavenge for fire wood to prepare meals for their families. This has made cooking a stressful activity for them
Bio ethanol as cooking fuel will greatly help to make cooking easier once it is fully rolled out on the Ugandan market. One major hurdle that has to be overcome is it’s suitability to handle the cooking needs of large households in the rural areas, and its ability to cook foods that take long to get ready.