Changing cooking in Kenya for good

Climate and sustainable development expert ClimateCare, celebrated its 18th Birthday by launching a fund that aims to create a new market for ethanol cookers, improving the health of the local community and protecting the environment by cutting CO2 emissions. The work is part of a broader programme of activity that ClimateCare has been selected to deliver for DFID (The UK Department for International Development).

ClimateCare Directors Tom Morton and Edward Hanrahan were joined by Lisa Phillips, Head of DFID-Kenya in Kibera, Nairobi. They launched a revolving fund to allow residents to purchase clean burning ethanol cookers at an affordable price. The cookers, designed and distributed by Safi International, will change the way people in Nairobi cook, for good.

Every year in Kenya, 14,300[1] people die from exposure to toxic fumes from cooking and heating their homes on open fires and rudimentary stoves. Thanks to this innovative project, ethanol, a bi-product of Kenya’s successful sugar industry, is set to change this. Ethanol is a clean burning, renewable fuel. Replacing charcoal with ethanol fuel cuts out indoor air pollution, saving lives and lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 5 tonnes per household every year - helping to tackle climate change.

Creating a new market from scratch means developing cookers and fuel in tandem, creating distribution channels and then marketing and selling the concept on the ground. Safi International identified Kibera as the ideal location in which to initiate the market.

“Kibera is an ideal location for this project due to the high number of people using charcoal as their main source of fuel – when burnt on traditional stoves this has high indoor air pollution and high greenhouse gas emissions,” explains ClimateCare’s Tom Morton. “Furthermore, the concept of micro finance is well known in the community and Umande Trust presented itself as an efficient and reliable partner to manage micro loans from the fund to its members.”

The Safi Ethanol Cooker was extensively tested in Kisumu and Madagascar over a number of years to ensure its suitability and desirability for regular, domestic use. At the same time, sugar factories were engaged to turn their waste molasses into high quality, Safi branded, ethanol fuel. Distribution channels have now been set up for the sale of both stoves and fuel through many of the small retailers across Kibera, creating a value chain that stimulates the local economy at every step.

To make the purchase of a Safi Ethanol Cooker affordable for families, ClimateCare is using funding from UKaid to subsidise the initial cost and to create a revolving fund through which local Savings and Credits Co-operative Societies can lend money to their members at zero interest, enabling them to purchase a cooker.

The first 800 cookers have been sold, and initial feedback from retailers and end consumers is excellent:

ClimateCare will be carrying out research to measure and report on all outcomes of the project – health, economic and environmental and will measure reductions in carbon delivered through the project using the Clean Development Mechanism. Selling the resulting carbon credits will be essential to the long term success and expansion of the project, with the income re-invested in the revolving fund, keeping the cost of the cookers down and allowing the project to continue and become financially sustainable.

“This kind of integrated project, designed from the outset to benefit people and the environment is exactly what our Climate+Care approach is about” said ClimateCare CEO Edward Hanrahan.

“Over the next year, this project is expected to reach 8000 families by making it affordable for communities in Kibera to buy and use ethanol fuelled cookers. But it will do so much more than this. Together with partners we are investing funds to kick start a market. We will continue to develop and support this market through each stage of its evolution, bringing in new corporate and public sector partners until one day, it is able to stand on its own two feet and deliver measurable benefits for communities around the world - that is the sort of legacy we want to create.”


ClimateCare is a profit for purpose company. We believe that climate change, poverty and sustainable development cannot be tackled in isolation. And that we cannot rely solely on aid. Governments and business must work together to deliver the speed and scale of change required to secure a sustainable future.

That’s why, for the past 17 years, we have mobilised the power and scale of both private and public finance for integrated Climate+Care programmes, which deliver positive environmental and social impacts around the world.

We combine the vision of a social enterprise and the commercial experience of an investment bank. Leveraging mainstream funding, we profitably deliver some of the largest, most successful sustainability initiatives in the world. To date we have worked with hundreds of partners to cut over 16.5 million tonnes of CO2 and at the same time, improved the lives of 6 million people.

Businesses and Governments alike, see the value and sense in our integrated Climate+Care approach and we have set an ambitious vision for 2020. To cut a further 20 million tonnes of CO2 and improve the lives of another 20 million people.

ClimateCare is a leader in the implementation of cookstove projects and was a signatory at the UN’s recent Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves Summit. Find out more at Twitter: @ClimateCare


The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK Government’s fight against poverty. Through its Climate Change programme, it contributes to the overall UK International Climate Fund (ICF) objectives on low carbon and climate resilient development. The programme covers four thematic areas; Climate resilient development (Adaptation); Clean energy/Low carbon development (Mitigation); Climate information and services (Modelling & weather forecasting) and Climate finance. The Finance Innovation for Climate Change Fund (FICCF) supports the scale up of challenging adaptation and mitigation projects using innovative financing instruments. The funds target the achievement of climate change outcomes particularly in adaptation to climate change and in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) districts of Kenya.

Safi International:

Safi International is a leading bioethanol stove- and fuel company, designing, developing and manufacturing affordable, modern bioethanol stoves for African families.

Every year, more than 4.3 million people die from indoor pollution, and in Africa alone, there are more than 600.000 people dying from respiratory diseases, caused by cooking over fire-wood or charcoal. Safi International is dedicated to improve these numbers.

Safi distributes Safi e-cookers and Safi bioethanol through dedicated local franchisees.

Safi International is owned by the holding company Singita, who is also the main shareholder of our sister company, Green Development as. Singita is owned by Une Amundsen, Ole Sæthre and Elisabeth Klerck Nilssen.

The company was founded in 2012, as a natural part of a wider initiative in Africa, based on the knowledge and experience of the owners of Green Development. Green Development has developed and built a comprehensive climate program, CDM – PoA in Africa and provides funds to renewable clean cook projects in Africa. Green Development has also developed a program, together with Det Norske Veritas (DNV), in order to measure the development effects of our projects.

Safi International has chosen the Kibera project as a first pilot but are building up operations in Nairobi, Kisumu and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Our goal is a large scale roll out.

Press enquiries and image requests
Please contact: RhiannonSzmigielski, ClimateCare
Tel: +44 (0)1865 591008

[1] World Health Organisation Study: Country Burden of Disease 2009


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