In most schools the provided food rations are prepared on the traditional three-stone open fire stove. Firewood in the urban setting is expensive and it is not unusual for urban schools to spend Kshs. 10,000-35,000 per month to cover firewood expenses. Parents are responsible for the provision of firewood at the school level. As many families survive on less than US$1 a day, the parental contribution required places a burden on the children.
In addition, studies show that excessive use of firewood and charcoal contributes to environmental degradation throughout the country. Between 1990 and 2005, Kenya lost 5%, or around 186,000 hectares, of its forest cover.
High capacity energy-saving stoves are available in Kenya. The stoves save 40-70 percent of firewood compared to the three-stone open fire stove and are equipped with a chimney that provides a smoke-free cooking environment. Unfortunately, the cost for these stoves is high ranging from Kshs. 110,000-240,000 for 200-600 liter stoves. It is estimated that one half of a liter is required per child. Although schools will save a considerable amount of money over time by investing in energy-saving stoves, the upfront cost is too high for most schools.
In an effort to address the challenges of firewood, WFP plans to expand its pilot Energy-Saving Stoves Project in schools under the school meals programme which has seen the installation of 50 energy-saving stoves over the last year. By installing and using energy-saving stoves, schools will save up to 70 percent of firewood. The savings will benefit the school, the families, and the environment alike. The stoves, which last for decades, require minimum maintenance, are locally produced in Kenya, and can easily be serviced. The stoves are made from stainless steel, bricks and fireproof cement.
Carbon Credit Project on Energy Saving Stoves
In conjunction with the purchase of the energy-saving stoves, WFP is in the process of applying for a carbon credit project through the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, as the purchase would decrease emission of CO2. If approved, the generated credits will be available one year after implementation and WFP will utilize the credits to purchase more energy-saving stoves.
-Reduce amount of firewood requirements by 40 to 70 percent and the associated costs in the targeted schools;
-Reduce number of suspended meal preparations due to lack of firewood;
-Reduce financial burden on parents in the management of School Meals Programme;
-Reduce deforestation in Kenya;
-Reduced indoor air pollution and improved respiratory and general health of cooks;
-Reduced cooking time;
-Reduced time spent gathering firewood; and,
-Generate local employment through stove production.