/ In-depth interviews allow for more probing questions and more nuanced discussion.

Beyond soundbites and 5-minute pitches

Oversimplification is an ongoing challenge in the bid to ensure everyone gets energy and in energy reporting – and, indeed, to the clean cooking sector.

While India’s roll-out of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a laudable effort to bring cleaner cooking to 840 mln people, it completely misses on several fronts. Women, who typically collect firewood, cannot lift heavy LPG canisters, which leaves them reliant on husbands to ‘fetch’ the fuel and not spend that portion of the household budget on something else. While gas heat is effective for boiling rice and curries, the staples of southern diets. But every meal in the north revolves around rotis, a flat bread fried over open fires. Switching to gas leaves the roti, which doubles as an eating utensil, tasteless.

Similarly, initiatives that measure impact in terms of improved cookstoves distributed might satisfy donor KPIs but not meet community needs. Solar cookers are a brilliant solution in certain contexts, but of no use for Muslim women during Ramadan. And simply adding more funds to boost the numbers overlooks associated challenges across the clean cooking ecosystem – e.g. R&D for technology, creating distribution channels, marketing, financing, policy barriers.

EnAct podcasts aim to bring diverse perspectives to the table and serve up fresh, thought-provoking content to our listeners. If you’d like to hear more, please subscribe or consider making a donation.

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