Jason Burwen   |   2011
Type: Research Report
Topic: Adoption, Stoves
Country: Global
Half the world cooks using biomass-fueled stoves. Improved biomass stoves represent an intersection of opportunities to address health, environment, poverty, and gender concerns on a wide scale. However, theories of change implicitly assume the behavior change that translates improved stove performance into desired outcomes and impacts. Experience shows behavior change cannot be presumed. Household stoves are nodes in a complex system, representing sites of interaction between the physical characteristics of the device, user behavior and perceptions, and larger social and environmental relationships. As such, the impacts of an improved stove are highly uncertain and may bear no relation to stove performance. This uncertainty compels us to evaluate stoves not only for performance and impacts, but also for technology uptake. Most stove evaluations lack an evaluation of technology uptake, and high-precision methods of monitoring stove usage have only recently become feasible. I present an example of a randomized-control trial that focuses on stove uptake in tandem with stove performance, illustrating the challenges of connecting stove performance to impacts. I conclude with a proposal for a richer evaluation framework that should be used to create the evidence base for scaling up improved stove deployments