Andrew Harmon



Urban Suburban Magazine - Education

Imbako Public Health Promotes Use Of The Rocket-Stove As An Energy-Efficient
& Environment-Friendly Mode of Fuel Consumption in Rural Kenya

Environmental degradation is one of the main concerns of Kenya’s ecosystem. Cutting down trees for firewood and for charcoal for fuel, combined with the lack of tree replanting, leads to the depletion of the much needed forests. Communities in rural Kenya are highly dependent on the use of wood and charcoal as fuel for daily living conditions — cooking, heating and construction — and are more vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation.

To date, several programs are being employed by various communities to help reduce the direct effects of environmental degradation. These programs include, but are not limited to, (1) public education on the importance of the preservation of forests, (2)initiatives aimed at rewarding continued tree planting in communities, (3)distribution of tree saplings to communities, and (4)the promotion, and subsequent adoption of, environmentally friendly modes of fuel consumption; for example, the rocket stove.

The rocket stove is a mode of combustion that is used as an alternative to the traditional wood and charcoal fires that are typically used in the communities in rural Kenya. This rocket stove uses less wood than a traditional open fire, can burn smaller diametered materials, produces less pollution and can be easily constructed from low-cost materials, enabling it to be well suited for use in the rural communities. It is currently being used for cooking, as well as space and water heating. One of its main advantages is the reduced exposure to the combustion fumes of the source of fuel.

In an effort to promote an energy-efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly mode of fuel consumption in rural Kenya, Imbako Public Health, held a workshop on the construction and use of the rocket stove in Sitatunga, Kitale, a rural town in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. Residents were afforded demonstrations on the construction of the stove from the use of locally available materials, and were educated on the benefits of use of the stove over the traditional wood and charcoal fires. The project coordinators also pointed out the enhanced safety and hygiene that the rocket stove provides to the immediate users.

We learned that exposure to combustion fumes is a health hazard that has devastating effects on the human body. In rural areas, women who are the homemakers are constantly exposed to these fumes as they perform their household chores. By using the rocket stove, which affords less exposure to combustion fumes, Imbako Public Health hopes to enable the reduction of risk of exposure to these fumes and, therefore, contributes toward better health for the woman, her household and also towards a cleaner environment. In order to further enlighten communities and policy makers on the benefits of the use of the rocket stove, Imbako will conduct research on the association of exposure to combustion fumes and the development of cataracts in women in rural areas.

Imbako Public Health is a non-profit organization based in Kenya and the USA that strives to allay disparities in healthcare, education and the environment in communities in rural Kenya. Sustainability in environment is one of the three core areas of the organization’s operations, with healthcare and education as the other two core areas.

For more pictures of the workshop on the promotion of the use of the rocket stove, please visit the Imbako Face Book page:



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