Fiona Lambe

This study Putting the cook before the stove: A user-centred approach to understanding household energy decision-making from the Stockholm Environment Institute takes a look at existing cooking patterns in the Haryana State in northern India where several improved cooking stove projects have taken place.

In the study location, the researchers extensively interviewed householders about their stove building and cooking habits. In this area, Mothers and daughters often build portable or fixed place Chulha stoves that they use to burn dung, wood and straw. The authors did a great job of interviewing stove users and attempting to understand from the users point of view, why these unimproved mud stoves were used more often than the improved stoves that they had available.

Burning dung, is a vital part of the local economy and culture of this place, and the women cooking, use the dung for low simmering, in a purpose-built mud stove. It doesn't look like that stove usage was effectively replaced by the improved stoves that have been introduced in this area. The local cooks also pan fry and then bake roti, which they bake pretty easily in the local chulah stove, and the Philips and Oorja stoves don't have a place to do this baking.

It seems like cooks in this area don't mind having multiple stoves for different purposes, and this type of study is essential to understanding what the cooks needs are before we try to address those with improved stoves.

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