Toxic smoke of household cooking with charcoal or paraffin kills 4.3 million people annually (more than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined) and primarily affects women and children. The challenge is particularly acute in the sprawling slums and informal settlements of the developing world, where space for outdoor cooking is limited, where incomes are low and clean fuels expensive, and where awareness for the risks and costs of unclean cooking is low.

CST is assisting SDI with research in Accra, Kampala and Cape Town, with the help of the SenseMaker tool. Given that the arena of clean cooking is new to the SDI network, they needed to begin with a period of baseline research. As a network that prides itself on investing in and valuing local slum dweller knowledge, strengthening slum dweller organizing capacities, and supporting collective local action, this process could not be undertaken by a consultant or research institution. It had to be undertaken by communities themselves. To do this, slum dweller federations in Accra, Cape Town, Nairobi and Harare used one of the most useful tools in the SDI toolkit – profiling and enumeration – which is the fundamental building block of the Know Your City campaign. The federations in South Africa and Ghana also used innovative tools for gathering qualitative data to maximize story-telling as a method for understanding community priorities, experiences and cooking preferences. SenseMaker is a data collection application developed by Cognitive Edge that allows people to create customized websites for the collection of micro-narratives, also known as ‘story fragments’, from a broad population.

For more information on the progress of this project, please click here.