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Evaluating Sustained Adoption of Biomass Pellet Stoves in Rwanda

Photo of Philips Gasifier Stove

Research Overview

This project will study the adoption and impacts of clean cooking within the program Inyenyeri, a for-profit fuel and cookstove social venture. Inyenyeri markets the Philips gasifying stove and renewable biomass fuel pellets to consumers in western Rwanda. The program is a market driven and customer service oriented venture that recognizes the disconnect between the incentives of household decision makers and cooks. Their business model targets cooks, the majority of whom are women, in order to achieve adoption and sustained use of clean cooking. 

The current research, jointly funded by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and TRAction, will use quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand the drivers and barriers to adoption and sustained use of cleaner cooking solutions. 

Project Location

Gisenyi, Rwanda

Map of Gisenyi, Rwanda

Research Objectives

  • How effective has the implementation of the Inyenyeri social venture been, in terms of design, operation, administration, and evaluation? 
  • What are the key social, cultural, environmental, and economic considerations that serves as motivators and barriers to achieving sustained adoption of cleaner cooking technologies? 
  • What impact has the intervention and the resulting changes in household stove use behaviors had on reductions of household air pollution levels? 

Study Approach

Inyenyeri’s business model is to contract with interested households to purchase locally produced biomass fuel pellets. As part of the contract they received a Philips cookstove to use during the duration of their contract. Inyenyeri aims to enhance demand and encourage sustained use of sustainably produced pellets and clean cookstoves by motivating potential users through community demonstrations, distributing a highly energy-efficient stove model, and providing continuous follow-up through a unique customer service support program. This research study will use mixed methods to evaluate the impact of Inyenyeri on the sustained adoption of clean cookstoves in Rwanda. Data on household characteristics, clean cooking adoption, frequency of stove use, sustained and correct stove use, and stove stacking will be measured using stove use monitors (SUMs), quantitative household surveys, and in-depth interviews. Barriers and drivers to sustained adoption will be evaluated through in-depth interviews. The implications of sustained use for exposure to HAP, specifically carbon monoxide and particulate matter, will be measured by having primary cooks wear exposure monitors for a 24 hour period. At the end of the study, the team will analyze quantitative and qualitative data to assess the impact of the Inyenyeri business model on stove use behaviors and household air pollution levels.

Research into Action

UNC and its partners will disseminate key findings from this research through presentations at local, national, and international conferences, stakeholder workshops and the publication of scientific manuscripts, policy briefs and fact sheets. The results will also be used to improve Inyenyeri’s marketing strategy and inform the implementation of other clean cooking promotion efforts.

Research Partners

Carolina Population Center at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Health Builders/Access Project-Rwanda
Co-Principal Investigator: Pamela Jagger, PhD, Carolina Population Center
Co-Principal Investigator: Felix Kayigamba, PhD, Access Project-Rwanda

Study Status

Project Status: Implementation

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