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Early Adoption of an Improved Household Energy System in Urban Rwanda

  • Pamela JaggerEmail author
  • Ipsita Das
  • Sudhanshu Handa
  • Leena A. Nylander-French
  • Karin B. Yeatts
Original Contribution


Cooking with solid fuels and inefficient cookstoves has adverse consequences for health, environment, and human well-being. Despite the promise of improved cookstoves to reduce these impacts, adoption rates are relatively low. Using a 2-wave sample of 144 households from the baseline and first midline of an ongoing 4-year randomized controlled trial in Rwanda, we analyze the drivers and associations of early adoption of a household energy intervention marketed by a private sector firm. Households sign an annual contract to purchase sustainably produced biomass pellets and lease a fan micro-gasification cookstove with verified emissions reductions in laboratory settings. Using difference-in-differences and fixed effects estimation techniques, we examine the association between take-up of the improved cooking system and household fuel expenditures, health outcomes, and time use for primary cooks. Thirty percent of households adopted the pellet and improved cookstove system. Adopting households had more assets, lower per capita total expenditures and cooking fuel expenditures, and higher per capita hygiene expenditures. Households with married household heads and female cooks were significantly more likely to adopt. Adjusting for confounders, we find significant reduction in primary cooks’ systolic blood pressure, self-reported prevalence of shortness of breath, an indicator of respiratory illness, time spent cooking, and household expenditures on charcoal. Our findings have implications for marketing of future clean fuel and improved cookstove programs in urban settings or where stoves and fuel are purchased. Analysis of follow-up surveys will allow for estimation of long-term impacts of adoption of interventions involving pellets and fan micro-gasification cookstoves.


Africa Biomass Charcoal Cookstoves Household air pollution 



This impact evaluation is led and executed by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States (UNC-CH) in collaboration with The Access Project (Baseline) and Laterite Africa (Midline 1 and onward). The first midline survey was funded by the United Nations Foundation/Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (UNF-15- 708: Evaluating Sustained Adoption of Inyenyeri’s Improved Stove and Fuel Initiative in Rwanda). The project was funded as part of a joint effort by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and the USAID Translating Research into Action Project (TRAction). The baseline, endline, and all other midline surveys are funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R01ES023861: The Health and Poverty Effects of a Large-scale Cookstove Initiative in Rwanda). We are grateful to the Carolina Population Center (P2C HD050924) at UNC-CH for general support. This research has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at UNC-CH, the Rwanda National Ethics Committee, and the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela Jagger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Ipsita Das
    • 4
  • Sudhanshu Handa
    • 2
    • 5
  • Leena A. Nylander-French
    • 6
  • Karin B. Yeatts
    • 7
  1. 1.School for Environment and SustainabilityUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)Chapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUNC-CHChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Sanford School of Public PolicyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Department of Public PolicyUNC-CHChapel HillUSA
  6. 6.Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUNC-CHChapel HillUSA
  7. 7.Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUNC-CHChapel HillUSA

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