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SEI report

Beyond fire: Backcasting a pathway to fully electric cooking in rural Kenya by 2030

The results of a successful participatory exercise to introduce the concept of transitioning to electricity for cooking in a rural off-grid community in Kenya, asking residents to envisage how the transition would happen.

Fiona Lambe, Anne Nyambane, Rob Bailis / Published on 30 June 2020
Download  Download the report (PDF) / PDF / 3 MB

Lambe, F., Nyambane, A. and Bailis, R. (2020). Beyond Fire: Backcasting a Pathway to Fully Electric Cooking in Rural Kenya by 2030. Stockholm Environment Institute and Hivos.

Villager eating food cooked in an electric pressure cooker

A workshop participant tastes a Muthokoi dish cooked in an electric pressure cooker Photo: Fiona Lambe / SEI.

Efforts to scale up access to clean cookstoves have typically focused on
promoting technically more efficient cooking technologies. Important sociocultural aspects of cooking such as taste, cooking practices, cultural norms and gender roles have been given less attention.

There is an urgent need to understand the behaviours, practices and perceptions of those households that will potentially be on the receiving end of interventions.

This report presents a study that worked with residents of a rural community to co-develop energy transition scenarios.

In February 2020, researchers from SEI and Hivos hosted a workshop for residents of non-grid connected villages in Machakos county, outside the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Groups of participants were encouraged to visualize a situation in 2030 when their whole villages used electricity to cook.

They then “backcasted” the changes that would need to have happened over the coming decade, in what order, for that situation to become reality.



Download the report (PDF) / PDF / 3 MB

SEI authors

Fiona Lambe
Fiona Lambe

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Profile picture of Rob Bailis
Rob Bailis

Senior Scientist


Topics and subtopics
Energy : Energy access / Air : Household energy
Related centres
SEI Africa, SEI Headquarters, SEI US

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