Fuel substitution
examining the impacts on traditional fuel suppliers

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A shift from traditional wood based fuels to cleaner fuels such as kerosene, gas and electricity, has positive impacts on health and environment and can widen access to energy services, particularly in urban areas. However, such changes may also present a risk to the livelihoods of those involved in supplying and marketing traditional fuels, often the urban poor. 
An investigation into these potential ivelihood impacts was the main focus of this project, which looked at fuel suppliers in the urban areas of Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa, this project:


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  Transportation and sales of traditional biomass fuel are a very significant source of income for many people. Activities in which they are engaged range from wholesales of wood and charcoal from licensed depots to roadside vending of fuel to transportation of wood by back or headload.
  There is a strong correlation between type of activity and gender, with women concentrated in the least secure, most arduous and low paid activities. This was particularly the case in Ethiopia, where women are mainly engaged in the manual transportation of fuel and in small scale vending activities that are characterised by lack of a secure vending space, harassment from authorities and little bargaining power.In both Kenya and Uganda, representation of women in the motorised transportation, one of the most lucrative fuel supply activities, was minimal.
  The high level of vulnerability of fuel suppliers has important implications for fuel substitution policies and measures that are designed to reduce levels of traditional fuel use. If those policies and measures succeed in reducing demand for traditional fuel, it is likely that those relying on fuel supply for their livelihood will suffer the most.
  Existing fuel substitution policies appear not to have been effective in reducing demand for traditional fuel. One possible reason for this is that urban populations are increasing, and there are a number of lower income households who are unable to afford modern fuels and appliances.


The project brought together a team of experts from the UK, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The project was funded by the UK Department for International Development DFID's Knowledge and Research programme (Contract No. R8019)
For more information on DFID and the Knowledge and Research Programme, click here.

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