UPDATED 03 July 2024


Project Spotlight: Improved Cookstoves for Rural Zambia

Providing the world’s most efficient rocket stoves to rural Zambians. For climate, health, and gender.

TASC Project Spotlight

Co-authored by project developer TASC and Gold Standard

Lenny Banda perches on an overturned bucket to stir her dinner. Her bubbling stew pot balances on three rocks encircling a large log that has been smouldering since dawn. The smoke blows in her face, making her eyes water and her chest tighten. It leaves a grey tint on the handful of household items that scatter the room. Ms Banda cooks the same way as her ancestors. The same is true for collecting fuel; rising with the sun and walking several miles with her trusty ox in tow.

Over 700 million Africans cook on three-stone, open fires like Ms Banda. Three-stone fires are extremely inefficient and the collection of wood fuel is the leading driver of forest degradation across the continent. Burning wood fuel, in turn, creates more carbon emissions each year than the entire economy of the United Kingdom. Household air pollution (HAP) – or smoke – from open fires causes over 4 million premature deaths each year; more than tuberculosis and HIV combined. However, there is a solution that can help Ms Banda, her family, and her community.

Our projects begin with local monitoring teams convening meetings with traditional authorities. We extensively explain how an improved cooking solution (ICS) can benefit not only the health of communities, but also the health of their surrounding environment. Once we have garnered the support of these leaders, we host sensitisation meetings with everyone in the community who would like to participate in the project. Here, we educate all members on how the stoves work, why they make a difference, and how community members who want to make a change can become involved. But what makes our approach different? The individuals promoting the use of these stoves are not strangers to their audience, they’re their neighbours, friends, even family. Our teams are made of locals.

Thereafter, our team begins distributing stoves to those within the community who attended the meetings. To date, we have distributed over 230,000 stoves in Zambia. But our work doesn’t stop there. Our teams continue to engage with the communities by hosting community cook-offs, participating in radio shows, and giving school demonstrations. The reiteration of the importance of the stoves is vital to the project’s success as well as maintaining a welcoming presence within these communities.


By following the thorough Gold Standard verification and certification process, we are able to measure the positive climate and sustainable development impacts of our projects. The first being, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the amount of woody biomass used in household cooking. A new ICS with a thermal efficiency of 40% will use approximately 70% less wood than a three-stone fire to cook the same meals.

ICS also reduces exposure to HAP. The stoves’ unique design concentrates the flames of the burning wood fuel. A hotter, concentrated flame dramatically improves the combustion efficiency and leads to a 50% decrease in HAP emissions.

In the poor and rural communities wherein we work, the burden of collecting fuel for cooking often falls on women and children. By reducing fuel collection and cooking time, this project ensures that women in project households have more time to invest in other productive economic development activities, including education, as well as increasing time spent with their families and communities.

Finally, the implementation of the project allows for the employment of the local community members to assist with the distribution, logistics, management, and monitoring activities. This is central to our project implementation as the integration of local community members furthers our understanding of the local context and ensures our success in the areas wherein we work. 

The project has contributed towards five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals so far, with the first monitoring assessment revealing:

  • SDG 13: Climate Actions - 1.6M tonnes of CO2 emissions prevented from entering the atmosphere between two voluntary Project Activities (VPAs).
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing - 99% of project households reported a reduction in smoke (or particulate matter) after the introduction of the stoves
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality - 98% of project households reported a time savings after the introduction of the stoves; female beneficiaries may use time saved collecting fuel or cooking to pursue other education or economic activities.
  • SDG 1: No Poverty - More than 230,000 households received an Improved Cookstove
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production - The stoves saved 4.67 tonnes of wood per household per year.

The Gold Standard verification process left no stone unturned, conducting thorough assessments to ensure compliance with mandatory principles and requirements, while still being completed in a timely manner, reflecting a commitment to efficiency without compromising quality. It is this exceptional rigour of the Standard that allows TASC to ensure the the climate and the people are benefiting from the our efforts in a measurable and manageable way, allowing projects to prosper.  


The sale of carbon credits from this project provides a unique opportunity for individuals and companies to have a direct impact on the health of project beneficiaries like Ms Lenny Banda, as well as the environment surrounding her community. Proceeds from credits sold on Gold Standard’s Marketplace go directly to TASC, enabling us to maintain and expand the project.  Please support our cause today.

Shelley Estcourt, CEO, TASC Africa said “Carbon financing is not a nice-to-have when it comes to these projects; it’s a necessity. It ensures that we’re able to roll out these projects at scale while the methodologies set by internationally recognised standards, such as Gold Standard, ensure integrity in our emission reduction and sustainable development impact calculations. The sale of these carbon credits guarantees that we can continue helping beneficiaries in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and further afield.”

Lenny Banda, project beneficiary said “[The improved cookstove] works very well, it is fast, it doesn’t produce much smoke, and it only requires small pieces of wood.”


TASC is a leading global carbon project developer with combined senior management market experience of over 100 years. We have projects in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and South Africa which range from cookstove and water filter projects to the first registered VM00042 grassland restoration project in the world.

We specialize in the full suite of carbon projects. We identify, finance, and structure commercially viable carbon projects, employ innovative technologies, and manage the projects ourselves; from start to finish. We also strive for attaining Host Government approvals as well as establish skilled, local teams who are able to manage project risks to maximise carbon yields.

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