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Energ-izing women: A Tanzanian commitment to cleaning cooking energy

Over the past decades, Tanzania's decision-makers began to embrace the fact that women's empowerment and development intertwined with access to and use of clean energy. Last year the Ministry of Energy initiated the development of two important policy documents under energy namely the National Renewable Energy Strategy (2024-2038), National Vision for Clean Cooking (2023-2033) and National Cooking Energy Action Plan (CEAP). The nation also hosted its first landmark event, the National Clean Cooking Forum, which announced the establishment of the Tanzania Clean Cooking Fund to fulfil President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s instructions to facilitate a swift transition to clean cooking by 2033.

© Diana Shuma
Promoting clean cooking energy

This International Women's Day (IWD) week, Tanzania is maintaining the momentum putting the spotlight on clean cooking energy and women's empowerment. On 9th March 2024, MoE organised a forum that was graced by Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Under the theme invest in women to accelerate national development and social welfare the forum will promote clean cooking technologies including Improved charcoal stoves, and highly efficient electric pressure cookers. Leading the Change (LtC) Programme facilitated TaTEDO-SESO participation in the forum to share experiences, and lessons, network and engage with decision-makers to influence decisions on energy issues.
Energy Coordinator of WWF Tanzania, Savinus Kessy, is positive the forum will foster collaborations with duty bearers and influence them to deliver policy commitments and drive sufficient investment in promoting access to clean, modern energy services and just transition to renewable energy to meet the needs of unsaved communities.
"Now, Tanzania has an ideal energy policy framework and is well-positioned to play a major role in the global effort against climate change. WWF as an energy partner is the perfect moment to continue sharing our experience, lessons, and success we have had through our interventions," he said.
According to Project Officer TaTEDO SESO, Shima Sago, for Tanzania to achieve its ambitious goal of transitioning to clean cooking energy, it is vital to thoroughly look at access and affordability and invest in awareness rising to facilitate change in behaviours and attitudes.
" Decision makers need to make conscious changes for tax reform on raw material used to develop clean cooking technologies example the metal sheets. The same should be done to energy efficiency electronic cooking devices like pressure cookers which can contribute to reducing the use of charcoals, especially in urban areas. Once they address taxation issues clean cooking technologies will be accessible and affordable to many Tanzanians and hence reduce the dependence on forest-based fuels" he said.
Adding that "We are happy to see national level responsiveness and commitment to clean cooking energy. I hereby call for the same at the local level, district, and region. We need to embed clean cooking energy and technology in local level development strategies and budgets."
According to the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey (2022 TDHS-MIS), only 7% of the household population in Tanzania has access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, including stoves/cookers using electricity, liquefied petroleum gas/natural gas/biogas, solar, and alcohol/ ethanol. The vast majority (93%) use solid fuels and technologies, such as coal/lignite, charcoal, wood, straw/shrubs/grass, agricultural crops, animal waste, processed biomass (pellets) or woodchips, garbage/plastic, and sawdust. One-third (33%) of Tanzanian household population has electricity, including 32% in Tanzania Mainland and 67% in Zanzibar. Nearly all (93%) of the household population uses clean fuels and technologies for lighting, including electricity, solar lanterns, rechargeable flashlights/torches/lanterns, and biogas lamps.

© Diana Shuma
Promoting clean cooking energy

Improving the use of sustainable, clean, and affordable energy-saving technologies
Leading the Change (LtC) Programme phase one best exemplifies the benefits of investing in increasing access to and use of energy-saving technologies.
To develop values of natural resources in the Ruvuma Transboundary Landscape (RLS) promotes the use of clean and renewable energy technologies to meet energy demands sustainably WWF integrated energy and climate change in the landscape interventions. Through our stronger partnership with MoE, TaTEDO SESO, Local Districts and local communities we perceived genuine government and community buy-in around clean cooking energy and sustainable renewable energy. Under phase one, we reached incredible milestones, encompassing:

  • Established structures at a local level to facilitate access to and use of energy-saving technologies through capacity building for 20 Trainer of Trainers (ToTs)
  • Stronger energy platforms at local and national levels including the National Sustainable Energy Forum (SEF)
  • Improved access to energy-saving technologies and options by 2023 we had installed over 250 efficient firewood stoves in households.
  • Increase institutional access to energy-saving cooking technologies through the provision of 25 efficient Institutional firewood stoves to secondary and higher learning institutions in the landscape. And trained 20 technicians to repair the stoves reducing maintenance costs.
  • Embedded clean energy in the local government structure, through the establishment of 5 District Sustainable Energy Development Clusters (DiSEDC)-Masasi, Mtwara,Rufi, Kilwa and Mtwara -as an innovative approach to integrating energy into district plans and priorities
  • The programme offered new opportunities for entrepreneurs which led to productive job creation by using energy-saving technologies, thus sustaining natural resources, and supporting entrepreneurship at the community level. Six groups of women and youth have initiated charcoal stove projects as well as baking businesses using energy-efficient charcoal stoves.
  • Introduced energy-efficient fish-frying firewood stoves through the construction of fourteen efficient Fish Frying Stoves (SAFISTO-20) in two landing sites of Namela and Somanga Beach Management Units(BMU)
  • Trained over 60 charcoal producers on Sustainable charcoal production and value chain in two charcoal-producing districts of Mtama DC and  Rifiji.
  • At the national level the programme contributed to the development of the National Charcoal Strategy, clean cooking road map and renewable energy strategy through the Sustainable Energy Forum and Clean Cooking Alliance of Tanzania.
Under phase two the energy component will contribute to improving key issues related to climate issues and energy governance at the local and National levels.

© Diana Shuma
Clean energy cooking

Leading the Change (LtC 2) Programme is a five-year programme designed to strengthen natural resource governance capacity for local Civic Society Organizations (CSOs), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), right holders and duty bearers. The programme implements interventions that support and strengthen inclusive and rights-based conservation of wildlife, forest, and sustainable energy.
The programme's desired change is “Ecological integrity of the Ruvuma Landscape is sustained; whereby civil society and local communities are exercising their rights for sustainable natural resources governance”.
What is WWF doing?
WWF promotes a complete transition to renewable energy by 2050. We are pushing the government to set ambitious policies that favour climate resilience, low carbon development, energy efficiency and clean renewable energy for all. We are working to reduce the impact of climate change in areas like agriculture, forests and water. And we are helping people and nature to adapt to the changes today and in future. We are supporting businesses to cut down their carbon emission and invest sustainably.

Diana, Savinus and Shima are working in the WWF Tanzania's Leading the Change program supported by SIDA and implemented by partners in the Ruvuma Landscape