Challenges to Promoting Electric Cooking Practices in Rural Communities: Insights from PEEDA’s ECO Follow-Up Study
Author: Nabindra Raj Shrestha
Electric cooking practices have become increasingly popular in recent years, as people look for more energy-efficient and sustainable cooking methods. However, promoting electric cooking practices in remote areas is not without its challenges. Recently, PEEDA conducted Electric Cooking Outreach (ECO) Follow-Up Study in wards 1 and 2 of Nehcha Salyan rural municipality of Solukhumbu district to understand the impacts of ECO pilot studies on cooking practices in the communities over a longer timeframe. This article presents the major obstacles we noticed to the widespread adoption of E-cooking practices in the areas under study.
One of the major challenges identified in the study was the low income of the villagers. Most of the people in the village are unemployed and do not have a stable source of income, making it difficult for them to purchase electric cooking appliances like induction stoves and electric pressure cookers, which tend to be relatively costly. This creates a barrier to the adoption of electric cooking practices in rural communities where people are already struggling to make ends meet.
Another challenge identified in the study was the unavailability of experienced and technical individuals for the repair and maintenance of cooking devices. We noticed that many of the devices that malfunctioned could be easily repaired, but due to a lack of technicians with the necessary technical knowledge and skills, they were left shunned. This lack of access to technical support and repair services can make electric cooking devices less appealing to people in rural communities.
The study also found that there was a lack of faith in the ability of local technicians to repair devices if they malfunctioned. People in the village did not believe that local technicians had the skills or knowledge to repair the devices properly, making them less likely to use electric cooking devices. This lack of confidence in local technicians can further hinder the promotion of electric cooking practices in rural communities.
Lastly, the study noted that the nearby city centers, Salleri and Okhaldhunga Bajar, were far from the village, with a one-way bus fare costing between 800 to 1000 rupees. This high cost of transportation, while the actual cost of repair is very low, makes accessing technical support and repair services challenging for the villagers. This can be a major barrier to the adoption of electric cooking practices in rural communities where people already have limited financial resources.
Addressing these challenges will be crucial for the successful promotion and adoption of electric cooking practices in rural areas. This may involve training local technicians, providing affordable repair and maintenance services at the local level, and promoting awareness about the benefits of electric cooking practices. By overcoming these challenges, E-cooking practices can become more accessible and appealing to people in rural communities, contributing to more sustainable and efficient use of energy.