A fantastic Field Partner: Promoting health and sustainability, one stove at a time

This month, we’re celebrating our partnership with an organization working to make the world a cleaner and more sustainable place to live: Emerging Cooking Solutions.

Emerging Cooking Solutions (ECS) is a private company founded in 2012 that sells clean cooking stoves and sustainable fuel pellets as an alternative to charcoal stoves.

An ECS clean cooking stove

In Zambia, the majority of people use charcoal stoves to cook but are unaware of the detrimental effects these stoves have on their health and the environment. Charcoal stoves not only cause respiratory diseases, but they use an unclean energy source that pollutes the air and causes deforestation.

The ECS cooking stoves, on the other hand, use sustainable fuel pellets made from forest waste such as pine, eucalyptus, sawdust, and sickle bush. Sickle bush is an invasive species putting grazing animals in danger and using it in the pellets helps alleviate this problem. By replacing charcoal, the pellets also save many trees from being cut down. To fully understand the amount of trees being saved, know that the average family in Lusaka, Zambia uses 1.2 tons of charcoal per year, and 1 ton of charcoal kills 6 tons of trees.

A family cooks with an ECS cooking stove using sustainable pellets

Not only do the ECS stoves help the environment by replacing charcoal, but they are powered by a solar energy pack that people can use to provide electricity to their whole home, including television, lights and other appliances. This is a safe alternative to the candles and fires that were previously used to light homes.

Solar powered battery back which can power an entire home and appliances

Additionally, the ECS stoves save people time and money. Using the pellets, people make 200,000 meals per month, and cookstoves are used by institutions like schools and orphanages. Women no longer have to spend as much time preparing food or searching for firewood, and children have more time to play or study. The pellets can be used in inclement weather, unlike firewood, and they save Zambians money, reducing their cost 30–40% compared to charcoal stoves.

Perhaps the best part of the ECS stoves is their impact on the health of Zambians. Purvi Parikh, M.D., a medical professional traveling on behalf of the UN foundation, recently visited ECS and attests to the powerful impact of their work. Parikh is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialist who treats respiratory diseases, and she is also spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network. She states:

Charcoal and wood stoves have been shown in numerous studies to cause asthma, inflammatory lung diseases, and carbon monoxide poisoning. All of these diseases can be deadly if severe. Not to mention burns and scalding injuries to mothers and young children. This pellet based stove is a much safer option for one’s health and longevity.

Moreover, the environmental impact along with saved time and money is huge for improving the quality of life of Zambian people and others who may still use charcoal stoves.

Kiva is proud to support ECS’s work promoting clean and sustainable energy solutions to improve the health and living conditions of Zambian communities. If you would like to support clean energy around the world, you can make a loan here.