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)

Cooking is a vital activity and to cook their daily meals 97% of all Rwandan households rely on traditional biomass-based cooking systems, out of which only 30% are some kind of improved cooking equipment3 but often of questionable quality and efficiency. 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 (Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority, RWFA, 2016) 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 as recently justified by the national survey (IECV54). Business-as-usual will continue to put Rwanda’s forest coverage under pressure as forests degrade roughly twice faster than they regenerate (the proportion of annual wood demand that is sustainably met locally through Rwanda forests is estimated at 42%5). 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 in a country as densely populated and landslide prone as Rwanda. 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, as they are the ones most exposed to cookstoves' smoke: nearly 6 % of all diseases in Rwanda are directly related to Indoor Air Pollution (IAP), which places the country within the 20 most affected countries worldwide.

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

Objectifs spécifiques

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 envisaged are:

  • Identify potential energy-efficient technologies or business models (locally made or imported). 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 (either through technical assistance and financially through a non- market distorting Result Based Financing mechanism) local producers to diversify and scale up their production including beyond Kigali so that access to ICS 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 (integrated with the producers or not) 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 (financed by National Development Bank â€“BRD-, Government or Development Partners) 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. Result-Based Financing (RBF) incentives (the results in terms of Technology Dissemination achieved by SMEs will be monitored by the project and a reward Financing will be allocated accordingly) will be tried out for a limited duration and products in order to accelerate market transformation and reward well performing players without spoiling the market. Another avenue aims at revitalising the carbon market for ICS programmes in Rwanda to potentially create donor-independent income streams for ICS.

  • 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 will be purposefully technology neutral meaning that it will be open to all types of stove technologies that are in line with the nationally determined priorities of ICS 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. Hence, the programme will be able to support models adapted to each socio-economic population category considering groups living in vulnerable situations. Models that are or can be produced locally and imported technologies will be considered if they demonstrate their potential for the local market and their capacity to maintain a constant supply. Capacities to assess and test existing or imported stoves on the market following international certification schemes will be strengthened. The criteria of selection of technologies that will be considered are a combination among the best possible efficiency, the affordability, the social acceptance, the local cooking needs, the possibility of local production.

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 (CES), reduce fuel wastage and limit forest loss, a number of activities will also be set up on the fuel supply side to propose concrete answers to the ever-increasing demand for biomass and in particular charcoal. This work will be first directly in line with two mitigation actions of NDCs i.e â€˜Promote environmentally sustainable use of biomass fuels’ in the energy sector and â€˜Mandate licensing of sustainable charcoal production techniques’ in forest sector. Secondly, it will be in line with the fifth NDC-implementation plan measure (Renewable Biomass), and all these actions will mainly dealing with the creation of a sustainable charcoal value chain to reduce losses in charcoal production. This work will also be done in partnership with other programmes working on the field of forest management and carbonisation.

The activities envisaged 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.