About our Archetype - Miriam

Miriam Akinyi Wanjiku lives with her husband and two children in one of Kenya’s urban centers, where she sells second-hand clothes for a living. Together with her taxi driver husband, they make a combined family income of Ksh. 50,000. Miriam loves her family and always wants the best for them. She represents Kenyan women aged between 25-50 years who live in the fast lane, where every minute is crucial as they try to make an extra shilling to survive.
Her day begins with breakfast for her lovely family, which she cooks using a kerosene stove that is ‘fast’ enough for quick meals. This enables her to leave for the market in time for her business. Her evening meals require more time for cooking, so she uses a traditional charcoal stove that could be made of metal and other additions. Unfortunately, unknown to her, the smoke emanating from the two cooking technologies presents Miriam and her family with potential risks of getting acute respiratory infections like pneumonia, TB, and even lung cancer. Apart from the high smoke levels emanating from the charcoal smoke, the stoves she uses currently waste a lot of energy/heat, meaning that Miriam uses a lot of fuel. This puts a strain on her family because a third of her family expenditure goes to fuel alone.
She would have preferred to use an LPG (gas) stove due to its clean cooking nature and speed, but she considers this ‘beyond her reach financially’. Miriam needs an intervention that will be able to give her efficient cooking, speed, and also take care of her health and finances.

Our Response

In order to improve Miriam’s cooking experience to one that is healthier, cleaner, and cost-effective, PS Kenya implemented a behavior change communication campaign that aimed to create awareness for individuals like ‘Miriam’ in Kenya. The campaign focused on the benefits of cleaner cooking, the various cooking technologies available, and where they can be found. The PS Kenya project was multi-sectorial, touching on various sectors in Kenya, including energy, education, environment, home economics, and gender. Therefore, involvement of these sectors is key to the successful implementation of the project.

How We Implemented

PS Kenya first organized a country entry that was attended by representatives from the above ministries. Key on the agenda was to introduce the project to these representatives and demonstrate how this would affect various indicators in their sectors. The demonstration of the impact of the project on various sectors aimed to enable the different players to feel part of the project and get involved. The result of the county stakeholders meeting was the creation of a multi-sectorial team in each of the 17 counties that would work together with PS Kenya on the implementation.
Working as a multi-sectorial team had the benefits of bringing all the major sectors’ input into implementation, and this was beneficial because the project gained support from various sectors. For instance, there was a proposal to involve school heads and religious leaders in the campaign to increase the catchment. This team was involved in the identification, vetting, and recruitment of frontline workers that PS Kenya would use during the interpersonal communication activities. Other activities that the team was involved in included working with PS Kenya during the training of frontline workers and participating in community education activities.
Working with the multi-sectorial county teams added a lot of value to the project since the project was ‘co-owned’ by PS Kenya and the Counties’ ministries. This partnership saw the implementation of notable initiatives, including the identification and training of frontline workers for the project and the nurturing of these teams. Working through this team at the counties presented an exciting way of managing cook stove projects, and with the buy-in already at the high level, communities were bound to benefit more from these partnerships.