Over three billion people worldwide depend on solid fuels, including biomass (wood, dung and agricultural residues) and coal, to meet their most basic energy needs: cooking, boiling water and heating. The inefficient burning of solid fuels on an open fire or traditional stove indoors are have been reported to cause smoke that fills the air, with dire consequences such as difficult breathing, tears in the eyes and dangerous cocktail of hundreds of pollutants, primarily carbon monoxide and small particles, but also nitrogen oxides, benzene, butadiene, formaldehyde, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and many other health-damaging chemicals.
Access to Fuel and Energy among refugees and host communities is an important aspect according to the Global SAFE strategy. Kyangwali Refugees Settlement in Hoima district is experiencing a dual problem of firewood scarcity and over dependency on firewood and charcoal for cooking energy.
Every day refugees in Kyangwali spend hours walking long distances to fetch firewood. Such high dependence on biomass for instance firewood and charcoal is unsustainable due to heavy reliance of forests that are being harvestedat a high rate. This study was conducted to ascertain the current practices and dynamics for utilization of household cooking energy in Kyangwali Settlement to enable Action Africa Help (AAH) Uganda and partners design new interventions that promote adaptation of modern energy technologies for the households to conserve energy and explore alternative sources of cooking energy.
Objectives of the study: The specific objectives were to document the; (i) Current cooking-energy practices of the refugees; (ii) Demand and supply of modern cooking energy technologies; (iii) Factors that influence household’s choice of cooking energy and (iv) Factors that facilitate utilization of modern cooking energy technologies in Kyangwali Settlement; and provide recommendations on appropriate interventions and strategies for reducing communities’ over dependence on firewood in the Settlement. The following tasks were undertaken: (i) Reviewed literature for selected documents (ii) Developed data collection tools (iii) Recruited and trained research assistants/enumerators (i) Travelled to Kyangwali (v) Collected and analyzed new data (vi) Prepared a draft report, presented and discussed the findings therein with stakeholders (validation) and (vii) Prepared the final report.
Data collection and analysis: Overall, there are sixteen (16) villages in Kyangwali settlement. Based on a representative sampling intensity of 50%, eight villages (Mukarange, Nyampindu, Munsisa, Kasonga, Kinakeitaka, Ngurwe, Kentomi and Malembo) were randomly selected from a list of the 16 villages provided by the Field Office of the Prime Minister Kyangwali settlement. Guided interviews were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data from randomly selected 80 respondents using a questionnaire. Key Informant Interviews (KII) and Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) were also used to triangulate the information acquired through the household survey. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages and cross-tabulations in SPSS version 18 were used to analyze data obtained during the household survey. Qualitative data from KIIs and FDGs were analyzed and presented as narratives. These data were triangulated by the information acquired from the household survey.
Findings: Results showed that most respondents were female youths that are engaged in the day to day cooking dynamics at household level in the settlement. Most respondents (over 30%) use bio-energy including firewood, crop residues and charcoal as the main fuel for cooking. Less than 2% of the refugees use electricity, paraffin, biogas, and briquettes for cooking energy.
Firewood is generally preferred for cooking because it is cheap fuel that never requires special technologies for its use during the cooking process.
About 55% of the households need a bundle of fire wood (approximately 10 pieces) to prepare a single meal. Charcoal is preferred for cooking due to the general perception that it is clean fuel compared to firewood; crop residues are preferred for their abundance during the harvesting season. Briquettes burn for over a long time and can be used to prepare three meals a day.
Rocket Lorena stoves and the traditional three stones are the most commonly used cooking technologies in the settlement; applied mostly with firewood and crop residues compared to briquettes. The factors that influence household’s choice of cooking energy in Kyangwali settlement include availability, accessibility and affordability of cooking energy forms as well as the available cooking energy technologies and extension services support. Availability, accessibility, and affordability of cooking energy forms as well as the available cooking energy technologies and extension services support equally facilitate utilization of modern energy technologies in the settlement.
Conclusions and recommendations: Implementing a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement and REHOPE can be vital strategies for reducing the over dependence on firewood and charcoal and reduce on the amounts being used in the settlement. Organized and carefully designed massive production of briquettes should be promoted. Such production could be implemented hand in hand with the promotion of affordable improved cooking energy saving technologies. AAH Uganda and other development organizations supporting energy initiatives in the settlement should carry out more sensitisations and trainings on improved energy saving technologies to enhance their adoption. Private companies dealing in the manufacture and sale of Eco-stoves should be brought on board and enabled to interact with communities to further help in awareness raising about clean cooking fuel and modern energy saving technologies. Refugees should also be encouraged to open up outlets for selling energy saving stoves within the settlement in partnership with the already existing groups of refugees previously trained and engaged in similar businesses.