GWNET brings you the 14th instalment of the “Meet the Women in Clean Cooking” series which celebrates the work and achievements of the women who are part of the Clean Cooking Mentorship Program. This program is made up of 30 mentee-mentor tandems, with mentees from over 15 countries. Meet Clean Cooking mentee, Ruth Gichuhi, a Manager at EED Advisory in Kenya.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
I am passionate about universal access to energy in Sub-Saharan Africa and more specifically, energy for cooking. I love that I’m from Africa and therefore have a better grasp of the challenges in the sector and placing me in a better position to offer solutions. One of my high moments is to see the research I have been part of embraced for the growth and development of the sector.
2) What were your goals when you started working in clean cooking? How have these evolved?
My goal is to contribute to the promotion of access to clean cooking solutions in Kenya and Africa at large through the generation of information by way of research in innovative cooking technologies, policies, barriers and recommendations on how to spur uptake of clean cooking solutions.
I have been involved in various studies in the clean cooking space which provide information on the status of cooking in the country and recommendations on how to grow the sector. An example of such a study is the Kenya Cooking Sector Study: Assessment of the Supply and Demand of Cooking Solutions at the Household Level.
3) What are the opportunities for clean cooking in your country?
There is a steady rise in the uptake of LPG in Kenya. Much can be achieved with continued effort around innovative business models, supportive policies, and development of the supply chains in rural areas etc. For example, zero-rating of LPG will aid in ensuring that LPG is affordable especially for low-income households.
I’m a bit frustrated with the disconnect between what the end-users prefer as their cooking solutions and what is offered to them. Ease of use is a key consideration when manufacturing improved cooking solutions, yet this is ignored at times by the manufacturers of the cooking solutions. To overcome this challenge, I aim to speak out more on the issue and participate in forums to learn more and contribute towards the promotion of appropriate technologies in the market.
I would like to be part of programs that aim to promote clean cooking solutions – from the program design to the implementation stage. The mentorship program provides a link to these programs through the different people I get to interact with during the program’s period.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the clean cooking sector?
Women are the most affected by the continued use of traditional cooking solutions. We should not shy away from discussing our challenges and coming up with solutions on the same
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.