Jikokoa saving Wanjiku's health and purse
07 December 2015, 14:31
Nairobi - A simple innovation is going a long way in reducing global warming and in the process making its user’s happier, healthier and wealthier.
I am talking about the new modern jiko aptly named 'jikokoa,' a Swahili phrase for ‘a savior cooking stove’ which is changing Kenyans' lives for better, especially for people living in the informal settlements.
Millions of slums dwellers in Kenya suffer every day with difficulty in breathing, stinging eyes and chronic respiratory and bronchopulmonary diseases due to long exposure to charcoal smoke emanating from traditional jikos.
Charcoal is not only the cheapest form of energy but also the most polluting, and yet millions of households in developing countries such as Kenya rely on it to meet their daily energy needs such as cooking, boiling water and keeping warm during cold weather.
Traditional jikos use charcoal locally known as “Makaa” emit huge clouds of smoke which expose the user to harmful agents.
According to WHO, inhaling indoor smoke doubles the risk of pneumonia and other acute infections of the lower respiratory tract among children under five years of age. Women exposed to indoor smoke are three times more likely to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema than women who cook with electricity, gas or other cleaner fuels. And coal use doubles the risk of lung cancer, particularly among women.
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Jikokoa promises to solve all these health risks in one bit. Burn Manufacturers, which are based in the United States introduced the modern jiko into the Kenyan market last year and has set up a factory in Ruiru, the only such factory in east and central Africa.
The company which has been in the Kenyan market for a year now has so far made huge inroads in the Kenyan market and has already sold over 100 000 jikos, apart from providing employment to thousands of Kenyans and offering them a new lease of healthier lives.
Raphael Waweru, an employee of Burn Manufacturer Company says Kenyans will reap maximum benefits by using the jiko.
“Compared to the traditional jiko which is highly ineffective, jikokoa is very handy in that it uses less charcoal and therefore highly economical in the long run and saves not only capital but also one’s health.”
According to a study conducted by the company, the average household which uses jikokoa saves KES 18 000, approximately US$180 in a year alone.
Sam, who resides in Gumba, an estate on the outskirts of Nairobi says he has managed to save a lot since migrating from the old traditional jiko to the new modern jiko.
“I used to spend a lot of money in buying charcoal not to mention buying medicine for my son who used to get affected by the smoke emitted by the old jiko but since I started using jikokoa, I no longer need to buy medicines for my son because this jiko emits less smoke.”
In order to fully combust coal, oxygen is required during the combustion process. However, because of the way traditional jikos have been built, oxygen does not easily penetrate and as a result charcoal is not fully combusted leading to a huge wastage of resources.
However, with jikokoa this will be a thing of the past as Waweru explains.
“Our jikos have been purposely built to eradicate this problem as they encourage full supply of air to combust charcoal unlike the clay mesh found in traditional jikos. Ours is a thin metallic mesh where air can easily penetrate.”
Jikokoa is environment friendly due to that fact that it uses less charcoal which translates to fewer trees being cut down, not to mention that it is also efficient and allows the user to cook faster and be free from smoke, reducing what had once been a long painful chore into a simple enjoyable task.
So if you are interested in buying jikokoa, all you need to do is arm yourself with KES 3 800 and walk to your nearest supermarket where all jikokoa stoves are currently stocked, plus itcomes with a one year warrant guarantee.
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