Title

Cultural Context of the Acceptability of Improved Cookstoves in India: Programmatic Implications

Location

2077

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

14-1-2017 3:00 PM

End Date

14-1-2017 3:50 PM

Abstract

Exposure to household air pollution is estimated to be the third largest contributor to the global burden of disease and the largest contributor in South Asia. Unacceptability of improved cookstoves by the intended user has been identified as a crucial factor hindering uptake and sustained use. We hoped to understand the socio-culture factors that influence acceptance of improved cookstoves by conducting a systematic field trial in two rural villages in Maharashtra, India. We used 1) In-depth interviews and focus groups with women primarily responsible for household cooking, their husbands, senior women, and community health workers, and 2) Kitchen observations. Besides this, we conducted a field test of four locally–available, improved cookstove prototypes. Households used them for one week. At the end of each trial week, we conducted an interview with the women who identified as the primary cook to generate information on her experience using the stove. The results indicated low awareness of the health risks associated with traditional cookstove use, although high experience of exposure to household air pollution symptoms among all groups. The respondents identified availability, number of burners, suitability of use across seasons, types and consumption of fuel, taste of food, amount of smoke emission, and portability as major factors contributing to the choice of an improved cookstove. The field trial findings were dominated by responses concerned with convenience and health advantages. We identify important issues to be considered when introducing an improved cookstove program that will increase acceptability and potentially sustained used of improved cookstoves.

Key words: Air pollution; Cooking; Cultural construction, Asia, India

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Jan 14th, 3:00 PM Jan 14th, 3:50 PM

Cultural Context of the Acceptability of Improved Cookstoves in India: Programmatic Implications

2077

Exposure to household air pollution is estimated to be the third largest contributor to the global burden of disease and the largest contributor in South Asia. Unacceptability of improved cookstoves by the intended user has been identified as a crucial factor hindering uptake and sustained use. We hoped to understand the socio-culture factors that influence acceptance of improved cookstoves by conducting a systematic field trial in two rural villages in Maharashtra, India. We used 1) In-depth interviews and focus groups with women primarily responsible for household cooking, their husbands, senior women, and community health workers, and 2) Kitchen observations. Besides this, we conducted a field test of four locally–available, improved cookstove prototypes. Households used them for one week. At the end of each trial week, we conducted an interview with the women who identified as the primary cook to generate information on her experience using the stove. The results indicated low awareness of the health risks associated with traditional cookstove use, although high experience of exposure to household air pollution symptoms among all groups. The respondents identified availability, number of burners, suitability of use across seasons, types and consumption of fuel, taste of food, amount of smoke emission, and portability as major factors contributing to the choice of an improved cookstove. The field trial findings were dominated by responses concerned with convenience and health advantages. We identify important issues to be considered when introducing an improved cookstove program that will increase acceptability and potentially sustained used of improved cookstoves.

Key words: Air pollution; Cooking; Cultural construction, Asia, India