Today, 27 August 2022, Center for Participatory Research and Development- CPRD in partnership with Durham University, and Economic and Social Research Council held a demonstration on Clean and Energy-Efficient E-Cooking at Eidgah Maath, Block D, Mirpur 12, under the project “Energy on the Move: impact Acceleration”. Held in public under the thematic focuses Green Energy, Climate Change, and SDGs, the event aimed at enhancing community awareness about clean and energy efficient cooking, disseminating the plain experiences of the women with the e-cooking technologies, and thereby exploring the feasibility of e-cooking in Bangladesh vis-à-vis the country’s stance about green transition.

In the hours-long event, five women from informal and formal settlements in different areas of Dhaka North City Corporation demonstrated cooking traditional dishes of Bangladesh using five different e-cooking devices powered by solar electricity and natural gas-fired electricity. Besides, researchers from Durham University, and Economic and Social Research Council, leaders and activists from several CSOs and NGOs, social workers, and local women were present in the event.

As the cooks expressed, the e-cooking devices which they used are convenient than the traditional cooking technologies (especially fire-wood based earthen stoves, and gas stoves), though there are some drawbacks involved. To them, the devices are far less harmful for health than the traditional stoves, as the former produces no smoke and emit way less heat outside the cooking pot. The devices have also taken less energy cost compared to that in traditional ones and have been found suitable for cooking almost all the specimen recipes without compromising their taste. However, as the women suggested, they found two of these e-cooking devices a bit inconvenient for cooking some typical dishes. Hence, they demanded more researches dedicated to the up-gradation of these technologies.

Dr. Raihana Ferdous, Assistant Profssor at University of Oxford Brookes, said, energy is the wheel of the modern civilization and is a huge concern for many countries including Bangladesh. While the energy sector of Bangladesh is very highly dependent on natural gas, the fast depleting stock of natural gas invokes urgent actions to ensure a secure future for cooking sector. As only a small fraction of the households have adopted green cooking technologies meantime, and shifting to a new and not-so-cheap technology may require a drastic alteration of many existing practices and structures, pursuit of green transition claims intensive and extensive research beforehand.

Dr. Ben Campbell, a researcher from Durham University, pointed that transition to green energy is a crying issue in the face of looming climate change and growing energy demand. He alluded that, designing any transition plan should follow a bottom-up approach to make the transition effective and sustainable. He also added that, cooking sector grabs a sizable chunk of the energy-use at household level in many countries including Bangladesh. While, women are the key players in cooking activities in the households both in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh, keeping them aside when thinking of shifting to a new technology regime would merely cripple the efforts. Hence, Dr. Campbell stressed listening with due care to the voice of the womenfolk to identify the drawbacks and inconveniences of the e-cooking technologies and to assess the readiness of the local women to adopt the change.

The event was wrapped up with a brief speech from Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD. In his speech Mr. Shamsuddoha mainly shed light on the climate change aspect of clean and energy efficient e-cooking. Pointing to the dire future of climate change and worldwide efforts to avoid it, Mr. Shamsuddoha said, notwithstanding very meager contribution of Bangladesh to global warming, it has come out with a pro-active role to stand against global warming and formulated a number of policies in coherence with the long term global mission. The globe now demands a drastic transition towards renewable energy and Bangladesh has meanwhile stepped into the era with some small but promising initiatives. He said, as cooking sector of the country has historically been biomass-intensive, transition to e-cooking especially powered by solar energy can be a prospective step in this regard which can at the same time take care of the environment and engender many other economic and non-economic benefits to the households and the women. Urging for further research endeavors for improvement of the existing e-cooking technologies to make them feasible and affordable, he announced the end of the program.

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