Adoption of biomass improved cookstoves in a patriarchal society: an example from Sudan

Sci Total Environ. 2003 May 20;307(1-3):259-66. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(02)00541-7.


The economic, social, ecological and environmental roles and benefits of forests are obvious and need no emphasis. Inefficient use of fuel wood is considered one of the important causes of deforestation. Use of more efficient improved cookstoves is proposed as one of the measures that can reduce demand for fuel wood and charcoal and help in lowering the annoying deforestation rate in many developing countries. During the 1980s and 1990s several programs aiming at testing and disseminating energy saving technologies were implemented in Sudan. One of these technologies was improved cookstoves, which was intended to increase the efficiency of using energy from biomass sources. This study is carried out to examine the adoption rate and the factors affecting adoption of improved cookstoves in Khartoum State. The study is based on primary data collected through personal interviews with husbands and wives in 300 randomly selected households. Regression analysis was used to analyze the data. The results showed that the device's adoption rate was very low. The improved cookstove's relative advantage, housewife's exposure to messages about improved cookstoves, educational level of the housewife and the average educational level of the female household's members had significant positive effect on the household's innovativeness regarding adoption of improved cookstove. Wife's age and the educational level of the husband had negative significant effects. In the Sudanese patriarchal society all the household domestic tasks, particularly food preparation and related activities, are considered women's responsibilities and all the decisions related to them are taken by women. Therefore, these results could be understood as a reflection of the division of labor, gender relations and decision-making process in the Sudanese household.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bioelectric Energy Sources*
  • Biomass
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Cooking*
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Decision Making
  • Educational Status
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Conditions
  • Sudan
  • Trees*