Participatory Action Research for Positive Change

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Healthy Cooking Challenge

With over 4 million deaths per year, lung problems due to indoor cooking is one of the major issues worldwide. Also in the slums of Kampala, especially among 0-5 year olds this is a problem. Through Participatory Action Research, we co-created together with local stakeholders low-cost interventions that western people could never have thought of: showing an awareness-raising YouTube video in a local cinema, building cooking shelters (made of wood and iron sheets) for outdoor cooking and training Village Health Teams in health-consultation. After a few months, lung problems were measured by local organization Revelation Life, concluding that no children have had lung problems since the introduction of the cooking shelters. Also the cooking shelter had been further developed to catch and purify (rain)water. In December 2015 the Healthy Cooking Challenge won the Albert Schweitzer Award, for its simplicity and impact. The prize value of  €5000,- was spent a few months later on monitoring, evaluation and upscaling of the project.

Challenge details

The 7Senses Challenge is an intensive 12-week program for students, post-graduates and professionals. In a multi-disciplinary, international team they perform Participatory Action Research in the field to boost community empowerment while at the same time work on their own personal and professional development.

Challenge name Healthy Cooking Challenge
Start date March 2nd 2015
Duration 12 weeks
Status Finished
Country Uganda
Coordinator Madelon Eelderink
Number of participants 2
Number of local researchers 1

Each Challenge design starts from a community issue, addressed by its problem owners at location. As such, we make sure the Challenge is based on local demand rather than donor demand. Together with these local stakeholders, we design the Challenge in a way that fits the local context, from the problem framing up to methodology and concept definitions.

Problem Definition
Main Research Question
Sub Questions

Each Challenge delivers direct outcomes for the local community on the addressed issue: we can share how many people have been reached, what their perspective is on the current and desired situation and what final Community Action Plan (CAP) they have co-created and implemented. In a later stage, local stakeholders will evaluate the impact of the CAP.

Current situation (baseline) according to local stakeholders
Desired situation according to local stakeholders
Co-created solution

After about six months, local organisation Revelation Life went back into the community. They found that since the introduction of the cooking shelter, non of the children of cooking shelter owning parents were having lung problems. Since 2015, the project -under the new name Clean Cooking, Healthy Lungs- was upscaled to five more slum areas in Kampala. Since then, 12 Village Health Team members were trained.

See also this video of their outcomes.



Madelon Eelderink

Coordinaor & Action Researcher
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Vera van Rijn

Action Researcher
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Ilse Fickweiler

Action Researcher
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Rachida Nayonga

Action Researcher
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Sustainable Development Goals

Blogs about this Challenge