Clean Cooking Program

Every household deserves a cleaner future, and that begins with a better stove.

Our Goal

Uncover insights from rural settings that will enable everyone to transition to clean cooking. We are determined to provide cutting-edge data to our partners that will guide the adoption of clean cooking for everyone, everywhere.

The Challenge

Every day, 3 billion people rely on indoor fires fueled by biomass or coal to cook their daily meals.

Not only is the resulting household smoke a significant contributor to climate change, but it is also responsible for nearly 4 million deaths from respiratory diseases each year—more than malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS combined. The solution to this life-threatening issue lies in improving stove efficiency and transitioning to cleaner fuels and technologies. As a result, large-scale efforts and resources are being directed towards low- and middle-income countries to replace unsafe and polluting cooking practices with clean cooking solutions.

Yet, clean household energy continues to be out of reach for many communities worldwide.

While many households initially express enthusiasm for their new stoves, they eventually abandon them. At Nexleaf, we are committed to discovering the ground truth about cookstove usage in order to make a real impact on the lives of millions of people. Using our sensor technologies, we monitor cooking in real-time to better understand household behavior, focusing on the major barriers to a successful clean energy transition: affordability, reliability, and adoption.

How We Use Data to Chart the Path Forward

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1 What We've Learned From Our Data

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Putting the Needs of Rural Women and Local Communities First

The clean cooking solutions distributed to communities may not be the right fit for their lifestyles or robust enough to withstand the environmental elements. We firmly believe that only when we listen to the people on the ground to understand their needs and adapt solutions accordingly, real progress is made.


Redefining Adoption to Mean More Than Distribution or One Time Use

Adoption is about proving that communities are regularly using the clean cooking solutions they receive. Conflating real adoption with ownership, distribution, or one-time use is a disservice to the communities who need and want to transition to cleaner energy.

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Establishing Sustained Adoption Before Climate or Health Impact

When the Malawi study on cookstove activity found that the test cookstove had little impact on reported rates of child pneumonia, it was easy to discredit clean cooking as having no impact on human health. However, the Malawi study — like many others — failed to establish adoption, so it’s unsurprising that there was no health impact. We have a responsibility to ensure that the appliances, fuels, and tools we disseminate are usable by people on the ground if we want to claim the impact.

Latest News

Learn More About Our Clean Cooking Work


Seeking the Ground Truth in Clean Cooking: Will the Cleanest Stoves Actually Reduce the Most Emissions?

There is far too much evidence of improved stoves falling into disuse for us to assume that distributing a clean stove will have the intended impact on air quality, wood fuel use, or health.

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Mirage or premonition? An apparition gives us a rare view of a clean energy future

On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day the COVID-19 crisis has shown us how quickly our collective action can help the Earth heal.

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Clean Cooking: Let the Data Speak for Itself

Getting to full adoption of clean cooking solutions is something we continue to investigate and advocate for.

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Read Our Data-Driven Reports

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Beyond Monitoring and Evaluation: 
Continuously Tracking Improved Cookstove Adoption Over Time to Achieve Lasting Success

We can’t fix problems we can’t see. If we do not track adoption of improved cookstoves continuously over time, stakeholders have little to no insight into ICS performance, user acceptability, or when design solutions are required to address these barriers.

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Transparent Climate and Health Metrics: An Open Data Dashboard and Wireless Platform for Cookstove Monitoring

This project lays the groundwork for sensor-enabled results based financing for improved cookstoves globally. A tremendous amount!of work was accomplished in developing new sensor integrated wireless platforms, climate and health metrics that can be implemented in a real-time platform for results-based financing, an open data platform, consensus across diverse  stakeholders on precise frameworks for monitoring, and a large amount of sensor data from  rural households across four states in India.

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StoveTrace: How Data Can Help Steer Clean Cooking in the Right Direction

Every year, four million people die from illnesses attributable to household air pollution. Black carbon (BC) is the second largest contributor to global warming, and emissions from traditional cooking practices are a significant global source of BC. For these reasons, changing how people cook has become a major public health and climate change priority.

The world rallied around a solution: introduce cleaner-burning, manufactured cookstoves for the rural poor. The only question that remained was how to make these “improved cookstoves” affordable for people who live on less than $2 a day…or so we thought.

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Scaling Clean Cooking Responsibly: Tackling air pollution through a woman-centered model in Abuja, Nigeria

Through this joint initiative, Nexleaf Analytics and Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES), with support from CCAC, set out to reimagine how we tackle household air pollution. Rather than focusing on changing deeply-entrenched and culturally-driven behaviors of local communities, we used data to understand household behavioral patterns (adoption) to guide the pilot and ultimately learn which cooking solutions are worth scaling up.

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Lessons learned from sensor-based monitoring of liquid fuel stoves in Nigeria

In 2019, Nexleaf applied Stovetrace to liquid fuel stoves— LPG, ethanol, and ethanol gel—for the first time as part of a pilot project in partnership with Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES) and with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). The pilot involved the distribution of 5 stove types to 50 women (10 women per stove) and a 6-month monitoring period using Stovetrace. The pilot aimed to identify the most reliable stoves for rural Nigerian women, and offered valuable lessons-learned on how sensors can play a role in clean cooking data collection.

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Program Manager

Megan Bomba

If you’re interested in learning more about
our work or how to partner with us,
contact Megan Bomba at