Fuel for cooking is a large component of global energy demand, and the need for greater progress in energy access for cooking is a major and often overlooked component of SDG 7 – “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.
The UK Aid (FCDO) funded Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) program is focused on catalyzing the transition from biomass cooking to genuinely ‘clean’ cooking using modern cooking fuels. When we think of energy for cooking, we commonly focus first on the household context, but cooking is also a very common activity in institutions such as schools, health centers, prisons and other community-centric buildings.
In the Global South, children often get a big portion of their daily food intake from meals they get at school, and for that to happen, this means cooking is happening behind the scenes – usually with dirty, polluting, health and environment damaging fuels.
In this blog post we consider the challenges of institutional cooking in the Global South, and the potential for ‘eCooking’ (electric cooking) to be transformational in terms of far-reaching climate, health, cost and time benefits.
Research shows that most schools across East Africa use firewood to cook for students, or in some cases charcoal. Biomass cooking contributes to rising deforestation and climate change – 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 25% of global black carbon emissions (a short-lived climate warming pollutant) are estimated to be caused by burning biomass for household energy needs.