Listening to stove users in Zambia

Photo: SEI / Flickr.

For users of traditional biomass cookstoves, shifting to an advanced stove can bring significant health and environmental benefits, but only with proper and consistent use. Despite this, empirical evidence of what drives people to buy an advanced stove, and in particular to keep using advanced stoves, remains limited.

This paper describes two case studies in peri-urban Kiambu County (Kenya) and urban Lusaka (Zambia), where researchers investigated these drivers. They applied service design methodology to build “user journeys”, illustrating the cook’s experience with the technology from the time they first heard about it, through purchase, learning to use it, and eventually making it part of their daily routine.

One finding was that the main factors that influence the initial purchase often do not motivate long-term regular use. The researchers also identifed some key behaviour change techniques that could be applied, primarily by cookstove implementers, at different phases of the user journey to drive up adoption and long-term use. The findings highlight the need to carefully map user journeys in order to understand the complex and changing motivations, and pinpoint where support is most needed to strengthen the change process.