David Githiri Njoroge
WASH Officer
Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I am addressing the challenge of how we can improve the efficiency of biogas cookstoves so that refugees can cook diverse foods.

From a pilot biogas project undertaken in Bambasi camp in 2014, cookstoves emerged as one of the bottlenecks to adoption and scaling of sanitation waste to a value concept that converts human and animal waste into biogas.
Cookstoves made available to refugees in Ethiopia don’t take into account socio-cultural norms such as the type of meals that families cook. Because of the limitations of the cookstoves, families can only cook simply meals and not the main culinary favorite – Kisra. This means that families still rely on other energy sources such as wood or charcoal, for example. Ideally, Kisra is far more important and requires more energy to prepare than other side dishes. Inadvertently, the drive and motivation to adopt technology while bypassing socio-cultural beliefs associated with human waste complicates the entire concept. The big picture of solving health challenges associated with poor sanitation is compromised by an inefficient cookstove.

UNHCRInnovation _Structuring Idea_David_Njoroge

I want to find a solution to this problem because an efficient biogas cookstove or burner will encourage families to use biogas as an alternative to fuel or wood, thus providing much needed domestic energy.

This in turn will propel families to participate in sanitation waste management: human faeces, animal waste, and general sold wastes in refugee camps. This will consequently propagate a culture of conversion of sanitation waste to value, resulting in overall management of sanitation waste with actual health benefits to the refugee community. Overall, this will contribute to public health and wellness of refugees.