• Godfrey Mawira Kaburu Kenyatta University
  • Dr. Rosemary James Kenyatta University
  • Kevin Mortimer Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool UK


Purpose: To investigate the influence of social determinants on uptake of solar cooking projects in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

Methodology: A cross-sectional study of 122 systematically sampled households in Kakuma Refugee Camp was done. Questionnaires were completed to collect information about social norms, family size, security and safety, education level and beneficiary participation. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the findings.

Findings: All the 122 questionnaires completed by respondents had a mean age (SD) 37.8 (8.6); 85% female. Households in Kakuma mainly acquire their domestic fuel via different means within the camp such as firewood collection, purchases from local vendors or donations from aid agencies. Firewood on open fires was the modal cooking practice at 83.6%, followed by charcoal at 15.6% and solar cooking at 0.8%, while use of alternative fuels like gas, ethanol or kerosene was found to be insignificant. Adoption of solar cooking was observed to be under influence of social norms, family size and education. A greater uptake of solar cooking was noted among respondents with higher education levels and lower uptake among large families.  

Unique Contribution to Theory, Practice and Policy: Firewood is given to refugees for domestic fuel in Kakuma Refugee Camp; however, getting adequate supplies for the sprawling camp population is getting increasingly difficult, and environmentally damaging. Solar cooking projects have been implemented as possible solutions albeit with little success. There is a need for humanitarian agencies to make refugees aware and conversant with use of the free, sustainable solar fuel to cook and cognizant of benefits of shifting from wood-based cooking to the cleaner solar cooking option. Household cooking is such a socio-culturally embedded practice in Kakuma that context-specific solar cookers that can fry, boil, and bake using ordinally cooking styles of refugees would be key to a wider-spread solar cooking uptake. In addition, there is a gap between the refugees’ preferred fuel option and their ability to pay. To get solar cooking to scale, more investment is needed and agencies should explore working with local businesses to subsidize cost of solar cookers in camps. Finally, the Kenya and the ISO standards for clean cookstoves need developing since there is a gap and the existing standards mainly focus on solid fuel, biomass or ethanol cookstoves.

This Abstract was viewed 325 times | PDF Article downloaded 126 times


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Godfrey Mawira Kaburu, Kenyatta University

Post Graduate Student

Dr. Rosemary James, Kenyatta University

Associate Dean

Kevin Mortimer, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool UK

Department of Clinical Sciences


Ajzen, I., and M. Fishbien. "Prediction of goal-directed behavior: Attitudes, intentions, and perceived behavioral control." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1986: 453–474.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Science for all Americans. Oxfordshire, 10 1, 2013.
Beck, F., and E. Martinot. "Renewable energy policies and barriers." Encyclopedia of Energy Volume 5 (Associated Press), 2010: 365-383.
Berkowitz, A. D. "The Social Norms Approach: Theory, Research and Annotated Bibliography." 2004.
Cantina West. Solar Cooking, When is the Best Time? 2008.
Casserly, Meghan. "Grilling, Guys And The Great Gender Divide." Forbes. 01 07, 2010.
Center for Independent Research and Energy for Sustainable Environment (SCI). "Evaluation of Solar Cookit Project in Kakuma Refugee Camp." Nairobi, 2003.
Center for Independent Research, (CIR). Evaluation of Solar Cookit Project in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Nairobi: SCI, 2003.
Davis, F. D, R. P. Bagozzi, and P. R. Warshaw. "User Acceptance of Computer Technology: A comparison of Two Theoretical Models." Management Science, 1989: 35 (8).
Davis, F. D. A technology acceptance model for empirically testing new end-user information systems: theory and results. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986.
Denmark in Kenya. Solar energy system at the Embassy. 12 09, 2014.
Dias, R., C. Mattos, and J. Balestieri. "Energy education: breaking up the rational energy use barriers." Energy Policy, 2004: 1339–1347.
Economic Consulting Associates Ltd. Project Design Study on the Renewable Energy Development for Off-Grid Power Supply in Rural Regions of Kenya, Project. London: KfW Development Bank, 2014.
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). "Strengthening linkages between refugee and host communities in Kakuma to improve incomes, food security and nutrition: Project Launch in Kakuma." Kakuma, 2015.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Participatory Development: Guidelines on Beneficiary Participation in Agricultural and Rural Development. Rome: FAO, 2003.
Gunning, R. "The Current State of Sustainable Energy Provision for Displaced Populations: An Analysis." 2014.
Howard Boldt, SCI. The importance of eye safety in solar cooking. 01 2001.
Howe, C. The Role of Education as a Tool for Sustainable Development. London: Imperial College London, 2009.
International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA). Gender and Energy. Hague: ENERGIA, 2014.
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). Baseline Survey of Woodland Utilization and Degradation Around Kakuma Refugee Camp: KEFRI/JOFCA Project Technical Report No.1. Nairobi: Kenya Forestry Research Institute, 2008.
Kenya's National Climate Change Action Plan. National Climate Change. Nairobi: Government of Kenya, 2013.
Khwaja, A. I. Can good projects succeed in bad communities? Cambridge: Harvard University, 2008.
Kumar, M. "Policy options to promote energy efficient and environmentally sound technologies in small and medium scale industries (SMI)." Energy Policy, 2003.
Lemons, J., V. Reginald, and D. Schaffer. Conserving Biodiversity in Arid Regions: Best Practices in Developing Nations. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003.
Light Dancing. Solar cooker at Cantina West. Salt Lake City Utah, 2012.
Mancino, L., and C. Newman. Who Has Time To Cook? How Family Resources Influence Food Preparation. Washington: United States Department of Agriculture, 2007.
Moving Energy Initiative (MEI). Cookstove Summary Report - Kakuma Refugee Camp. Summary, Nairobi: Chatham House, 2017.
Mwangi, C. W. Women refugees and sexual violence in Kakuma Camp, Kenya. The Hague: International Institute of Social Studies, 2012.
Odoyo, C. O., S. Liyala, C. Odongo, and S. Abeka. "Theory of Reasoned Action as an Underpinning to Technological Innovation Adoption Studies." World Journal of Computer Application and Technology, 2016: 4(1): 1-7.
Puzzolo, E., D. Stanistreet, D. Pope, and N. Bruce. Factors influencing the large-scale uptake by households of cleaner and more efficient household energy technologies. Liverpool: ISBN, 2013.
Solar Cookers International (SCI). "Final Kakuma evaluation: solar cookers filled a critical gap." Solar Cooker Review 10(2), November 2004.
Solar Cookers International. Dadaab Refugee Camp. 4 19, 2017.
United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Cooking Options in Refugee Situations. Geneva: Geneva, 2002.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Solar cooker offers ray of hope for refugee environment. June 4, 2004.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Strengthening Refugee Protecti. Nairobi: UNHCR, 2008.
Vankatesh, V., M. G. Morris, G. B. Davis, and F. D. Davis. "User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view." MIS Quarterly, 2003: 425-478.
Viswanath, V., and F. D. Davis. "A Theoretical Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model: Four Longitudinal Field Studies." Management Science, 02 01, 2000: 186 - 204.
World Bank. Contribution of people's participation: evidence from 121 rural water supply projects. Washington D.C: World Bank, 1995.
World Food Programme (WFP). Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy in Kenya: An Appraisal Report. Rome: World Food Programme, 2010.
World Health Organization (WHO). In Door Air Pollution, Health and the Burdern of Disease. Geneva: WHO, 2014.
Zarnikau, J. "Consumer demand for ’green power’ and energy efficiency." Energy Policy, 2003: 1661–1672.
How to Cite
KABURU, Godfrey Mawira; JAMES, Dr. Rosemary; MORTIMER, Kevin. SOCIAL DETERMINANTS AND UPTAKE OF SOLAR COOKING PROJECTS- KAKUMA REFUGEE CAMP IN KENYA. Journal of Poverty, Investment and Development, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 1 - 20, jan. 2019. ISSN 2520-4637. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 14 nov. 2019.