Building a network
Civil servants and researchers build a symbolic network. Photo: Petra Hansson.

Why men should engage in clean cooking decision-making

In the heart of Arusha, Tanzania, something transformative was brewing. Minds from Eastern African governmental agencies and researchers converged for a week-long workshop on the practicalities of clean cooking. The air was filled with anticipation, for it was not just about discussing solutions; it was about catalyzing change.

Why Tanzania, you might ask? Well, it's no coincidence. With the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the nation is at the forefront of championing clean cooking initiatives such as the awareness campaign Pika Kijanja, the Women’s National Clean Cooking Conference, and the launch of African Women Clean Cooking Supporting Program during COP28.

Clean cooking isn't just a technical challenge; it's a matter of social justice. It disproportionately affects women and young girls, who often bear the brunt of traditional cooking methods. Thus, the call resounded: it's time for everyone to step into the kitchen.

As voices from five countries from East Africa intertwined, a symphony of ideas emerged. Among the harmonies were some key messages:

First, perfection isn't the goal. Instead of aiming for an instant 100% clean cooking transition, the focus should be on progress—a journey towards cleaner alternatives while embracing a resilient mix of energy sources.

In addition, change begins with us. Behavioral shifts are vital in transitioning to clean energy, and here both men and women are equally important to contribute. It's not just about encouraging the transition; it's about embodying the change we wish to see. Providing access to clean energy is only half the battle; ensuring proper operation and maintenance is equally vital.

Lastly, the power lies within. Nations in East Africa have the agency to set their own agenda, prioritizing and implementing projects that resonate with their unique contexts. No longer solely reliant on external donors, they are architects of their own green transition.

Now we need to jointly keep the fire burning (in a sustainable way)! The IGE in Practice Network offers a vibrant platform for powering green progress and advocating inclusivity. As we continue our journey, let us ignite change, one clean stove at a time.

Blog post | 3 May 2024