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Cycle 7 (2018 Deadline)

Adoption and scale-up of charcoal alternatives in Zambia

PI: Francis Yamba (, Centre for Energy, Environment and Engineering Zambia (CEEEZ)
U.S. Partner: Robert Bailis, Stockholm Environment Institute – U.S. Center
Dates: November 2018 - October 2020

Project Overview:

Charcoal is a highly complex socio-environmental issue throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Charcoal production and use is frequently associated with climate change, environmental degradation, adverse health outcomes, and poverty. Strategies to mitigate reliance on charcoal as the dominant cooking fuel are urgently needed, particularly in areas where urban populations are growing and inefficient production systems are putting pressure on atmospheric and terrestrial systems. Zambia presents a critical case for understanding the supply and demand dynamics of charcoal and strategies for mitigating associated negative externalities. This project examines the potential of a dual-pronged approach to develop technical and social alternatives to charcoal in Zambia: improved charcoal production and alternative fuels and stoves.

This research is significant for several reasons. First, for any alternative stove or fuel to have an impact it must be not only acquired but also used in a way that reduces charcoal use. This study will demonstrate if this reduction occurs and whether it can be sustained and scaled up. Moreover, the study will include sample sizes with enough statistical power to demonstrate which options are more or less effective, so that policy-makers can be informed how to allocate scarce resources in the most effective way. Second, when interventions fail, it is tempting to shut down support and set them aside. However, success may be achievable with certain changes in design, dissemination, user training, or post-acquisition services. By working closely with stove/fuel developers, distributors, and users, this project team will identify factors that might be changed to enhance access to clean energy and reduce charcoal consumption. Third, with multiple U.S. Government-supported partners involved in several different regional collaborations, and primarily in partnership with the Stockholm Environmental Institute’s Africa Center, an influential regional think-tank, this research project has ties that spread throughout Southern and East Africa. These ties will foster cooperation and knowledge exchange well beyond Zambia, offering many opportunities to share experiences and lessons through workshops, conferences, and one-on-one meetings with high-level policy makers in Zambia and throughout the region. Other potential impacts are expected through exploration of the market potential for pellet fuels and ethanol. The project will further support enhanced job opportunities by collecting and sharing data about the types of stoves and fuels consumers prefer and their willingness to pay for charcoal alternatives.

Summary of Recent Activities

In this reporting period, monitoring and removal of SUMs should have continued in the first week of February 2020 in Kalingalinga and Matero but due to a security situation of gas attacks on households in the compounds, this was discontinued.

The PIER and PEER team planned to conduct a rapid assessment survey with the aim of finding out how many households in the two prospect areas (Ng'ombe and Kalingalinga) had been marketed to by Vitalite and Supamoto, respectively. And also to find out how many households from those marketed to had bought the improved stoves. Preparations before the rapid assessment included securing police permits and training 7
enumerators and 1 supervisor to undertake the survey. The training was undertaken on 4th March at our office premises by both the PIER and PEER team. The field team where taken through the new questionnaire field.
The PIER team were due to have an annual meeting to which the PEER team was invited to participate in the meetings as a collaborating partner. The meeting was scheduled for 10 and 11 March 2020 in Kitwe, Copperbelt. The plan for this meeting was to present updates on the project work done, discuss plans for upcoming fieldwork activity- in years 3 and 4 for the PIER team and year 2 for the PEER team-, and other activities. 

The team discussed plans for their endline data collection this year, how they will share their data, what papers we will be starting in the coming months, and other topics to which the PEER team should contribute. Among other things discussed at the meeting wasroles and responsibilities of the individuals in attendance for the planned June to August fieldwork (i.e. endline data collection). The Zambia PEER team were assigned the role of recruiting enumerators; securing police permits for the 4 study areas; inquiring about the IRB renewal requirements and also preparing it with inputs from the partners; securing a venue for training of enumerators; planning and following up stakeholders for interviews as part of Objective 1A activity; installation and retrieval of SUMS; rapid assessment fieldwork and conducting of cooking diaries.

The Rapid assessment field activity started on 24th March and were scheduled to go on for 8 days. But due to circumstances beyond their control, after work was completed in Ng'ombe on 26th March, they could not proceed to Kalingalinga for the remaining 5 days. In light of the COVID-19 which had reached Zambia by week starting 30th, they have put on hold all field activities. From the rapid assessment, 444 households were
reached out of the 535 from the 2019 surveyed households.

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