Maasai Stoves & Solar Project Research
Our unique stove design and Project methods depend on high-quality research and development. Is there an aspect of the Project you’d like to study? Contact us to request more information.
Stove abandonment and meaningful research results
For consistent and long-term benefits, it is important for the women to use the stoves continuously
Although dangerous to health and environment, three-stone fires do have some virtues. They are easy to use for cooking on a large scale, and they are the familiar method.
Studies of stoves designed by other groups often show significant abandonment of the new stove. The users often revert back to the three-stone fires.
Random-sample surveys of the Maasai Stoves & Solar Stoves (MSS) show no abandonment of the new stoves. The stoves are still in use in 100% of the households surveyed. The families and the environment reap the long-term benefits of replacing the three-stone fires with the MSS stoves on a permanent basis. Why the difference?
For women to continue to use their new stoves and never return to cooking over an open three-stone fire, the stoves have to be what they really want. Our Project collaborated on design with the women using the stoves, to ensure that they will be happy with them.
We are currently preparing data chart selections to share on this page. Check back to review specific data related to these results:
- Each stove saves 120 pounds of firewood per week, reducing deforestation and eliminating 10-12 hours of weekly wood gathering labor
- Studies on our stove by Dr. Hassan Rajabu, Professor of Engineering, University of Dar es Salaam, confirm a reduction in emissions of 3.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per stove per year! This is a significant level for mitigating climate change
- The MSS stove reduces the polluting particulate level from cooking smoke by 90 percent
- Anecdotally, mothers in the households with the new stoves report feeling better. They say their children no longer cough and that their noses are clear
How many stoves does it take to save one child’s life?
Removing indoor smoke pollution to improve children’s respiratory health is one of our most important accomplishments. The deaths of Maasai children between birth and age five can be estimated to be one in ten. World health experts tell us 4 percent of those deaths are due to respiratory diseases and conditions.
If there is an average five children in a household, and if all causes of severe respiratory disease were removed in fifty households, then one child’s life would be saved.
This is our goal! We are well on our way to achieving it. Our stoves remove 90 percent of the smoke and health improvements are clearly evident. We continue to analyze our stove impact. Additional measurements of particulate levels in the home will determine the exposure of children and set the stage for direct measurements of improved lung health as a result of using our stove. We continue stove improvements, teaching women how to minimize smoke production, while still enjoying normal cooking.
As we can see from this graph, the lung disease caused by smoke is not linearly related to the amount of smoke. To increase impact, smoke removal must be extensive.
The horizontal axis in this graph, taken from the work of Dr. Kirk Smith of the University of California, refers to the exposure over 24 hours and includes time outdoors.