ACUMEN ENTREPRENEURS BUILD SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES FACING THE POOR
Producing and distributing affordable, highly efficient cookstoves to bring clean cooking solutions to East Africa’s low-income families
More than 90 percent of Kenya lacks access to modern energy and clean cooking facilities. A vast majority of households rely on traditional wood or charcoal cookstoves that are not only inefficient but also costly for both rural and urban families. Because traditional stoves consume a high level of fuel, Kenyans can spend as much as $500 a year on charcoal, bankrupting poor households.
What’s worse, the excessive burning of wood charcoal emits carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes that can be detrimental to a household’s health. According to the World Health Organization, 4.3 million people globally die each year from exposure to indoor air pollution. The demand for charcoal is also taking its toll on the environment; the wood and charcoal burned for household cooking is responsible for more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s deforestation. Today, only 2 to 3 percent of Kenya is forested, increasing the risk of land degradation and drought.
BURN’s low-cost, highly efficient cookstove represents a step-change in design and efficiency. Its state-of-the-art design cuts fuel consumption by more than half to reduce health risks and spending for Kenya’s urban poor.
The company has partnered with microfinance institutions and credit cooperative societies to provide financing to make its cookstoves more affordable while teaming up with local retailers to improve distribution channels and enable easy access for customers. The first and only in sub-Saharan Africa, BURN’s manufacturing facility in Nairobi employs more than 100 Kenyans to produce its stoves locally and catalyze the country’s economy.
BURN’s Jikokoa—or “saving stove” in Swahili—sells for $40 and saves Kenya’s urban households up to $250 a year. By cutting fuel consumption by 56 percent, the cookstove will significantly increase savings but, what’s more, it reduces carbon emissions by 65 percent to combat the effects of indoor air pollution and improve the standard of living for Kenya’s urban poor.
By burning less fuel, BURN’s cookstove also reduces charcoal consumption to help reduce the effects of deforestation and protect Kenya’s quickly depleting forests. With Acumen’s investment, the company plans to manufacture roughly 3.7 million clean-burning cookstoves over the next 10 years.