Many African countries rely heavily on biomass fuels. Although
most people prefer modern commercial energy sources (e.g. kerosene, gas
& electricity), traditional fuels such as charcoal, firewood and dung
are often their only option.
In the three countries that are the focus of this project - Kenya,
Ethiopia and Uganda
- the supply and distribution of firewood and charcoal is undertaken by
a range of actors, from charcoal producers, to transporters and distributors,
to market vendors and door-to-door sellers of fuel.
aspects associated with the use of traditional fuels include:
impacts of indoor pollution, e.g. conjunctivitis, respiratory illness
& hazards from collecting & carrying heavy loads of fuelwood
countries have seen policies to discourage the use of traditional fuels,
and are promoting the use of modern fuels such as kerosene, LPG and electricity. Improved
stove programmes have also been implemented with varying levels of success
- visit ESD's Poverty
Stoves web site.
is 'Fuel Substitution'?
substitution encompasses both 'fuel switching' and 'inter-fuel substitution'
In the context of this project, fuel substitution means moving away
from the traditional use of biomass fuels to:
- more efficient use of biomass (i.e.
by means of efficient end use appliances and technologies such as
- use of modern fuels or energy sources
(e.g. kerosene, LPG, electricity, solar PV, etc)
Fuel switching: termination of the use of one type of fuel and
uptake of another source of energy in its place.
substitution: introduction of new energy sources that do not
replace, but supplement, existing fuel types. Even
when new sources of fuel are introduced, traditional fuels continue
to be important. This is particularly true for those countries
where cooking food is not just a daily chore but can also bear elements
of cultural identity (e.g. the coffee ceremony in Ethiopia which
requires charcoal, and steaming matooke in Uganda which needs woodfuelled
fire for many hours).
Links to related websites
more information on this project, contact Ottavia
Mazzoni / Hannah Isaac
- motorised and non-motorised
wood and charcoal
substitution and associated measures, such as the banning of charcoal
production, has an impact on the supply and demand for traditional fuels
and, in turn, is also likely to affect the livelihoods of the many actors
involved in the supply and distribution of such fuel.
In order to assess the extent of the livelihood impacts, this project
is using a range of research tools, from tallies and questionnaires right
down to individual case studies, that will be analysed using a Sustainable
Livelihoods framework. This framework, developed by DFID, enables
a much wider range of poverty and livelihood indicators to be taken into
account than those used in traditional poverty analysis.
and fuel supply
carrying fuelwood in Nairobi: the heavy loads carried by women
often weigh around 40-50kg - nearly as much as their own body