Background: The issue of clean cooking lies at the nexus of environmental engineering, environmental health, pollution, energy access, gender and household dynamics, behavioral sciences and international development. In Tanzania, approximately 96% of the population relies on polluting or “unclean” fuels for cooking. Moving away from firewood and charcoal has proven challenging due to low adoption of clean stoves. Here we investigate the application of community health workers, an existing community engagement model for health systems, to clean cooking adoption. We implemented a pilot study with Community Technology Workers as a means to overcome maintenance, education, and behavioral barriers. We evaluated the training, work, and impact of a CTW on stove adoption on a sample of 30 households over a one-year period. Technically trained local CTWs educated thirty families on the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) stove and conducted weekly check-in surveys.
Results: The results from the mixed methodology approach show that families initially have very high rates (100%) of adoption, but as the issues of poverty, other obligations, and sickness arise, roughly 70% of families present sustained, regular refilling of LPG cylinders.
Conclusions: The findings imply the feasibility of this type of community infrastructure model to promote and facilitate adoption, but also supports the need to couple this local support with financial mechanisms (e.g. a savings bank). The support from these community trainers paired with these high rates of adoption have large implications for this model’s use in rural, poor areas to increase LPG use and adoption.