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.
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|
|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.
How do local stakeholders, such as mothers, local organisations, witch doctors and community leaders perceive pneumonia?
What do local stakeholders see as typical assets in their community?
What do they see as potential solutions to tackle pneumonia in children due to indoor cooking?
How can local stakeholders be mobilized to co-create and implement a Community Action Plan?
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.
- Building cooking shelters. Instead of cooking inside, inhabitants decided to make it possible to cook outside. Using local materials such as iron sheets and wooden sticks, they built the cooking shelters.
- Training Village Health Teams. Volunteers from the community were trained in consulting parents about the dangers of indoor cooking, the symptoms of pneumonia and what to do when symptoms occur.
After a few months, cooking shelters were further developed into water purifying systems. They built a gutter on the cooking shelters to catch rainwater and put it in plastic bottles on top of the cooking shelter to let the sun purify it.
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.
Coordinaor & Action Researcher
Vera van Rijn