The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves announced the winners of two grant funds: one  to empower women in the clean cooking value chain and the other, a new program to scale projects that increase access to cleaner cooking solutions for crisis-affected people.

The Women’s Empowerment Fund, which has supported four rounds of previous grantees, serves to test and scale effective, gender-informed business models that empower women energy entrepreneurs. Launched last year, the Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund will support its first round of grantees to scale up of projects working to increase access to cleaner, more efficient fuels and cooking technology for crisis-affected people, such as refugees and internally displaced persons.

“The clean cooking value chain is an incredible opportunity to empower women as business owners and entrepreneurs; and unfortunately, cooking solutions are still under-resourced in humanitarian response,” said Krista Riddley, Senior Director of Gender and Humanitarian programs for the Alliance. “The winners of these grants all put forth strong proposals that we believe will make the value chain more inclusive, have a significant impact in empowering women, and increase access to cleaner and more efficient cooking solutions for crisis-affected people.”


Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund

The Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund (HCCF) grantees will scale up cooking solutions that have already proven successful in humanitarian settings, and which are critical to improving health, protecting the environment, enhancing livelihoods, and promoting women’s safety and empowerment.  The two projects that have been selected will impact over 71,000 people in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Rwanda.

The Gaia Association is an Ethiopian resident charity and UNHCR implementing partner that works to increase access to clean cookstoves and fuels. The project will be carried out in Sherkole and Tsore camps in the Assosa region Ethiopia, where refugees rely almost entirely on gathered firewood for cooking. HCCF funding will enable Gaia to scale up  ethanol and charcoal briquette cooking interventions to cover 4,000 households across the two camps, as well as to establish a women-led commercial fuel and stove business serving the camps and the host community. UNCHR plans to implement a voucher or cash transfer program that will provide refugees with the funds to purchase their desired stove and fuel. Gaia’s initiatives will provide economic opportunities and improve the living conditions of refugees by improving access to cleaner, safer, and more efficient household energy for cooking.  

Inyenyeri is a Rwandan social benefit company whose mission is to eliminate death and disease from household air pollution caused by biomass cooking. Inyenyeri locally produces biomass wood pellets for fuel. In Kigeme refugee camp, Rwanda, Inyenyeri leases the Mimi Moto fan-gasifying cookstove to customer households in exchange for the monthly purchase of a set number of pellets. This process is enabled by UNHCR’s cash transfer program, which is replacing traditional firewood distributions. The Mimi Moto is one of the cleanest biomass stoves available, reaching Tier 4 for emissions in lab tests, and offers high reductions in cooking time. With its HCCF grant and co-funding from the IKEA Foundation, Inyenyeri aims to scale their system to reach all 3,500 refugee households in Kigeme. 


Women’s Empowerment Fund

The Women’s Empowerment Fund (WEF), in its fourth year, serves to scale effective, gender-informed business models that empower women energy entrepreneurs and increase access to clean cooking solutions. This year, three organizations have been chosen, whose projects will impact women in Kenya, India, and Bangladesh.

LivelyHoods is a woman-led company with a sales network of Kenyan youth and women who strive to better their communities by distributing clean cookstoves in hard-to-reach markets. Under the WEF, LivelyHoods will create flexible jobs and training opportunities for unemployed women in Kenya’s slums as distributors and promoters of clean cookstoves, who will, in turn, empower other women in their communities to make clean cooking choices. LivelyHoods will recruit and train female sales agents and institutionalize its women’s empowerment approach by hiring a team of Women’s Program Managers to strengthen its business model.

Dharma Life is an Indian social enterprise that trains village-level entrepreneurs by deploying its economically viable and scalable Dharma Life Entrepreneurship model. The WEF intervention will increase access to clean biomass cookstoves in rural households by distributing high-efficiency and low-emissions cookstoves, and by providing a local sustainable fuel ecosystem through pellets. The project will establish a micro-pelletizing plant managed and operated by women, conduct sales and distribution of clean cookstoves, and raise awareness about the benefits of clean cookstoves at the community level.

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) is an international research institute based in Bangladesh that will study and analyze the socio-economic impacts of clean cookstoves, with a particular emphasis on how the adoption of clean cookstoves impacts women’s time use and availability to pursue productive activities, such as employment and entrepreneurship. ICDDR,B will partner with Berkeley Air Monitoring Group to build the evidence base for how clean and efficient household energy contributes to reductions in women’s unpaid work burden, and identify solutions to the barriers that women face in becoming engaged in the clean cooking value chain.