Cooking With Fire  And Firewood Collection


Kenyans and other Africans have cooked with fire for thousands of years. Climate change and growing populations have led to severe deforestation and flooding, decreased livestock and other food reserves, increased danger for women and children who travel far to find scarce firewood, and decreased food security and growing poverty, lower nutrition and disease for many Kenyans.




Odaba, S.M.(2008) Solar Cookers International. How shall we cook?

fallen_branchThemes: firewood collection and deforestation, desertification, low precipitation and general change in climate

Summary: The introduction of solar cookers in Kenya has considerably reduced daily wood fuel consumption. This has brought about savings in wood fuel, preventing deforestation and its associated negative climatic impacts. It has improved health, livelihoods, and quality of life through reduced exposure to indoor air pollution from smoke. Solar cookers promote clean, reliable, affordable, efficient and safe home cooking and heating practices.

Danger and Women’s Labour 

Stevens, Elizabeth. (2011). OXFAM Impact: In war-torn Darfur, a stove with a mission

LionessThemes: female violence and firewood collection, health and environmental concerns, solar cookers

Summary: Firewood collection has a negative impact on safety and security, and on health and economic survival of women and girls. Violence and terror are daily occurrences for women and girls collecting firewood. Solar cookers reverse this pattern.

Dennery, P. R. (2007). Solar Cookers International. Solar Cooker Dissemination in Kenya – A Case Study.

Themes: environment impact, household health, economic development for women, implementation strategies

Summary: Limited access to modern energy services places severe constraints on the Kenyan economy. Shortages of 12.12.30 chickens with chicks
cooking energy restrict women from participating fully in economic and civic life. The scarcity of wood fuel has forced the majority of Kenyan households to move down, rather than up the energy ladder. Diets are limited to foods that cook rapidly and provide less nutrition. Drinking water goes untreated. Women and girls use poorly burning biomass such as crop residues and branches cut from live trees to make daily meals and expose themselves to smoke levels and toxins many times higher than recommended

Mishori, R. (2009). The simple tool that saves women’s lives.

Hyena_ZebraThemes: women’s safety, skill development, environmental impact

Summary: Hundreds of thousands of displaced refugees live in refugee camps all over Africa. Solar cookers save people’s lives. Women no longer travel long distances to collect firewood and face sexual and animal attacks. The cooker itself requires less attention than traditional cooking, resulting in more time spent on other things. Solar cooking is a clean way to kill off  water borne diseases and helps reduce the smoke produced from wood and kerosene stoves.


Hill, C. (2011). Enabling rural women’s economic empowerment: Institutions, opportunities, and participation.

Masai_woman_cookingThemes: rural women and issues, environmental concerns, impact for families, health

Summary: In most developing countries, 80% of rural homes use wood, crop residues and dung as fuel for cooking and this is the most time consuming task for women and children. The use of solar energy as an alternative yields a reduction of smoke and provides governments and civil society with lessons in research, the development of clean energy and reduced indoor air pollution.

Decreased Food Security

Canadian Hunger Foundation. (2012). The Road to Resilience.

boy_biscuitsThemes: world hunger, climate change, poverty, natural disasters

Summary: Food security is a persistent world issue as 870 million people go hungry every day and lack access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food. With few assets and limited savings, farming families in food insecure communities are more vulnerable to droughts and floods. This report outlines current world realities of food security and how to transition towards better food security.


Next» Solar Cooking Technologies

Cooking With Fire and Firewood Collection

Solar Cooking Technologies

Benefits of Solar Technologies

Solar Technologies’ Contribution to the Millennium Development Goals 2015


Website: J Golden

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& P Haastrup

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Photos: J Golden, Ryerson University

& N Cole 


Professor Jean Golden Ryerson University


Site Designer: Walt Cudlip



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