GCCA+ Reducing Climate Impact of cooking in Rwanda through improved cooking systems

At a glance

2020-11-01 to 2025-11-30
Active programmes
Total budget
5,50 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

Rwanda's total Green House Gases emissions were estimated in 2015 at 7.6 million tons CO2 eq. (-3.8 million tons CO2 eq. if sinks of Forestry and other Land Use are considered). Energy contributes 1.5 million tons CO2eq., and in particular biomass for cooking 0.7 million ton CO2eq. Rwandan households, productive use-units and social institutions still largely rely on biomass for cooking and use very inefficient cooking devices. This contributes to climate change, through forest degradation and unsustainable use of forest resources, aggravating effects on land pressure and emissions from incomplete combustion, both harmful for climate and health of the users. In spite of a strong commitment by the Government of Rwanda, activities in the sector have been so far scattered and without concrete scope. Especially, for the most part they have been donor driven and non- structured, thus not allowing the establishment of a sustainable dissemination system for modern, clean and efficient cooking systems including devices and processed fuels that would permit a significantly reduction on climate impact and pressure on the natural resources, and improve the users' living conditions.

This action aims to address these challenges by setting up a sustainable production and dissemination chain for Improved Cookstoves as well as for improved or alternative fuel through a threefold approach: help increasing production capacities, increasing awareness and support of an intensified dissemination and trade structure. The action will support a wide range of ICS in the view to build a thriving viable and sustainable market benefiting local entrepreneurship, the action aims to avoid market distortion by paying any direct subsidies on the sales prices and rather incentivise the value chain.

The action is perfectly aligned with the National policy framework related to climate change and environment and four of the actions identified in Rwanda's 21 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), specifically the NDC target of diffusion of improved cook stoves to 100% of all households by 2030.


Cooking is a vital activity and 97% of all Rwandan households rely on traditional biomass-based cooking systems, out of which only 30% are improved cooking equipment. Only 3% of the population have access to cleaner technologies and fuels. Not cooking is not an option, the question is how to mitigate the effects of inefficient traditional biomass use on climate, environment and user's health by reducing fuel needs for cooking or increasing the base of sustainable and truly renewable cooking fuels with a low-carbon footprint. Results of National Forest Inventory of 2015 and consecutive analysis of supply and demand of woody biomass reveal that forest resources are seriously degraded in Rwanda. While forest loss is often due to expansion of agricultural land, the forest degradation in Rwanda is mainly attributed to the inefficient use of biomass for cooking purposes. Besides the known impact of forest degradation on climate change, it also causes severe erosion with potentially dramatic consequences on people's safety and food production. Forest degradation may force communities to be displaced from their lands, and affect their right to food security and nutrition, and their right to access water. At the same time, emissions from inefficient cooking systems not only adversely affect the climate but also the health of the users, mostly women performing cooking tasks and children in their vicinity.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
5,000,000.00 €

Specific objective

The specific objectives of the Action are to (i) increase the use of improved / clean cooking by the population of Rwanda and (ii) reduce the biomass consumption for cooking purpose.


Output 1: Capacities and awareness of households and businesses are improved for scaling up production and dissemination of efficient cooking devices

Output 2: More efficient carbonisation methods and cleaner biomass fuels are introduced and measures for traceability of charcoal production are promoted


Output 1: Capacities and awareness of households and businesses are improved for scaling up production and dissemination of efficient cooking devices

The main activities are:

  • Identify potential energy-efficient technologies or business models. Support exchanges with successful programmes and approaches used in the region and beyond and encourage technology transfer through matchmaking and partnership with local players for products with identified potential for success in Rwanda;

  • Identify and support local producers to diversify and scale up their production including beyond Kigali so that access to improved cookstoves is effective all over the country;

  • Support the installation of a market surveillance system for the stove production and import in Rwanda allowing for a clear and easy identification of the quality of systems available and suitability to specific local cooking specific needs;

  • Support the establishment of distribution channels to help the dissemination of stoves all over the country. Conceive and realise a multi-level Public Relations and awareness-raising campaign for the advantages of cleaner and efficient cooking technologies;

  • Support the establishment of microfinance schemes through credit lines with financial institutions to facilitate access to finance for households and to support access of SMEs to commercial lending.

  • Develop market incentives schemes to boost up production and distribution of stoves.

  • Support the local knowledge capacities fostering women's participation on standards, certification and quality assurance of improved cook stoves through technical assistance, workshops, seminars and equipment etc.

    The project is expected to be technology neutral meaning that it is open to all types of stove technologies that are in line with the nationally determined priorities of improved cookstoves performance. The principle is to choose a range of models along the tiers ladder for their suitability to the local market and uptake potential and to focus support on those models.

Output 2: More efficient carbonisation methods and cleaner biomass fuels are introduced and measures for traceability of charcoal production are promoted

To have a real impact on the Cooking Energy System, reduce fuel wastage and limit forest loss, a number of activities is set up on the fuel supply side.

The activities are the following:

  • Introduce and promote efficient and accessible carbonisation methods to improve charcoal production efficiency and charcoal quality, including promoting measures for traceability of charcoal production;
  • Introduce more efficient biomass fuel (pellets, briquettes, wood chips etc.) using locally produced agriculture waste or processing by-products (crop stems and husks, banana peels, wood sawdust, etc.) as well as more efficient biomass fuel preparation techniques (drying, conditioning) to improve efficiency.