Two Nepalese celebrities recently put on a different kind of performance for their many fans – a clean cooking show! As part of the “Modern Cookstoves” campaign supported by the Alliance, actress Karishma Manandhar and television host Rabi Lamichhane traveled to Kavre District and donned aprons to demonstrate the benefits of cooking with cleaner cookstoves and fuels .    

Speaking at the launch of the campaign during a community rally last month, Ms. Manandhar pointed out that diseases resulting from exposure to indoor air pollution were some of the main causes of death in Nepal, and that these illnesses are directly related to cooking over traditional cookstoves and fuels.  With the help of Mahesh Kharel, the Mayor of Panchkhal Municipality, Ms. Manandhar used an induction cookstove to prepare a local snack.  Mr. Lamichhane participated in similar events in Panchkhal and Mandandeupur municipalities, where he used an induction stove to prepare tea for audience members, including male attendees.

“I understood that [a modern cookstove] is clean, cheaper to use, and saves women from indoor air pollution,” said a 28-year-old mother of two children from Mandandeupur. Like many of the participants of the demonstrations in Kavre District, she cited a general lack of information about the use and benefits of clean cooking as the reason for not having already bought a modern cookstove.

The campaign is precisely designed to address this information gap. The campaign’s messages highlight the benefits of cleaner cooking options like biogas, induction, and other electric appliances like rice cookers, while also sharing safety messages about cooking with Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG). The campaign was developed by Junkiri Interactive, a creative and communications firm based in Kathmandu, in close partnership with the Alliance, the Government of Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), LEADERS Nepal, and supply-side management partner Ajummery Bikas Foundation (ABF).

In addition to community events, the “Modern Cookstoves” campaign includes social media messages, catchy radio jingles, kitchen and tea stall demonstrations, text messages, brochures, and stories in local newspapers. Positioning clean cooking as a modern and convenient option for families—one which keeps a kitchen and home tidy, neat, and happy—the campaign primarily targets women, with men as the secondary audience.  The campaign also aims to leverage the aspirational, health, and time-saving benefits of clean cooking.

While working to motivate households to purchase and use clean cookstoves and fuels, the Alliance and partners are also focusing on efforts to strengthen the availability, accessibility, and affordability of clean cooking options in the community. In close collaboration with a range of stakeholders and the Government of Nepal, the Alliance is leading the “Maximizing the Health Benefits of Clean Cooking in Urban Nepal” initiative, which is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

Under this program, the Alliance and LEADERS Nepal are doing much more than cooking with celebrities. Activities include engaging with Community Health Volunteers (CHVs); developing and implementing electric cookstoves standards; implementing behavior change communication; and improving electricity capacity. To learn more, please visit the Modern Cookstoves campaign page on the Alliance’s Behavior Change Communication Resource Hub.