How improved cookstoves are changing the face of Ugandan schools




Schools in Kampala are cutting down fuel consumption by up to 50% thanks to energy efficient cookstoves, providing staff with a safer smoke-free environment and students with well-cooked, timely meals.


Schools in Uganda spend on average 15-20% of their budget on fuel to cook meals on traditional inefficient cookstoves. A new generation of energy efficient stoves are now enabling schools to halve this cost. In addition to saving firewood and money, the stoves dramatically reduce smoke emissions and cooking time.  In spite of these benefits, the uptake of efficient stoves remains low for several reasons: the cost of the cookstove; low awareness among schools regarding the stoves’ economic benefits and lack of knowledge about reliable manufacturers.


To fill some of these gaps, GVEP has been working with 12 Ugandan cookstove makers, 102 schools and 3 financial institutions in Uganda to help install these stoves in school kitchens around the country.  An energy efficient institutional cookstove costs on average 1 to 1.3 million Shillings, an undeniably high sum for a school. However, considering that around 400,000 Shillings per month can be saved on fuel, the stove can repay itself in close to three months.


In addition, GVEP’s partnership with financial institutions allows access to appropriate and affordable products for both schools and stove makers to meet the cost.


Police Children School in Ntinda, Kampala, is a beneficiary of this partnership. As Mrs. Namata Fulgencia, Head Teacher, explains: “We opted to install three stoves since we were asked to pay only 50% of the cookstoves and installation cost upfront. The problem of air pollution has been solved and some of my staff is buying the domestic version of the stove for their homes.”  The school has also saved money, as the Bursar Mrs. Nakyana Eva explains: “We used to buy two trucks of firewood per term at 600,000 Shillings each. We now use one small truck throughout all terms. With the savings we buy better quality food, including meat which was never on our menu before.”


The cook, Asiimwe Denis, has also seen a change: “The stove is simple to use and it boils water within 30 minutes, as compared to one and a half hours on the three-stone fire. Much less firewood is used to prepare meals, food is ready on time and students no longer complain about delays or half cooked meals.”   Other schools that have benefited from the programme include Real Primary School in Kawaala, Kampala St. Jonah High School in Wakiso, St. Lawrence Kabowa in Kabowa and Jinja Modern in Jinja.  Since proper care ensures the durability of the cookstoves, GVEP has been training the schools on usage and maintenance. This task will later be taken on by cookstove installers as part of their service.