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Traditional cooking practices and preferences for stove features among women in rural Senegal: Informing improved cookstove design and interventions.
Hooper LG, Dieye Y, Ndiaye A, Diallo A, Sack CS, Fan VS, Neuzil KM, Ortiz JR. Traditional cooking practices and preferences for stove features among women in rural Senegal: Informing improved cookstove design and interventions. PLoS ONE. 2018 Nov 20; 13(11):e0206822.
Nearly half the world's population burns solid fuel for cooking, heating, and lighting. The incomplete combustion of these fuels is associated with detrimental health and environmental effects. The design and distribution of improved cookstoves that increase combustion efficiency and reduce indoor air pollution are a global priority. However, promoting exclusive and sustainable use of the improved stoves has proved challenging. In 2012, we conducted a survey in a community in rural Senegal to describe stove ownership and preferences for different stove technologies. This report aims to describe local stove and fuel use, to identify household preferences related to stove features and function, and to elicit the community perceptions of cleaner-burning stove alternatives with a focus on liquid propane gas. Similar to many resource-limited settings, biomass fuel use was ubiquitous and multiple stoves were used, even when cleaner burning alternatives were available; less than 1% of households that owned a liquid propane stove used it as the primary cooking device. Despite nearly universal use of the traditional open fire (92% of households), women did not prefer this stove when presented with other options. Propane gas, solar, and improved cookstoves were all viewed as more desirable when compared to the traditional open fire, however first-hand experience and knowledge of these stoves was limited. The stove features of greatest value were, in order: large cooking capacity, minimal smoke production, and rapid heating. Despite the low desirability and smoke emisions from the traditional open fire, its pervasive use, even in the presence of alternative stove options, may be related to its ability to satisfy the practical needs of the surveyed cooks, namely large cooking capacity and rapid, intense heat generation. Our data suggest women in this community want alternative stove options that reduce smoke exposure, however currently available stoves, including liquid propane gas, do not address all of the cooks' preferences.