Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) is a five-year programme funded by UK Aid (DFID) which aims to spark a revolution through rapidly accelerating the transition from biomass to clean cooking on a global scale.

Biogas stove in Nakuru, Kenya.

By integrating modern energy cooking services into the planning for electricity access, MECS hopes to leverage investment in renewable energies (both grid and off-grid) to address the clean cooking challenge. In addition, MECS is supporting new innovations in other cooking fuels such as biogas, LPG (bio) and ethanol. The intended outcome is a market-ready range of innovations (technology and business models) which lead to improved choice of affordable and reliable modern energy cooking services for consumers.

Cooking on electric hotplate

The MECS programme is working across sub-Saharan Africa to increase the uptake and accelerate the market for clean cooking solutions. The programme coordinates across the clean cooking industry to provide funding opportunities, lead design innovation, and offer insights on market transitions to modern energy cooking services.

NCIR was involved in the MECS programme through a partnership with the University of Sussex, the lead collaborator for Workstream 4 of the programme. Our collaboration focused on building an innovation system map, i.e., an in-depth description and illustration of the network of organisations and technologies in the electric cooking sub-sector in three East African countries, i.e., Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Electric pressure cooker

Our research aimed at capturing historical and ongoing efforts to stimulate the adoption and diffusion of electric cooking, among them, research and development (R&D), quality assurance, market development, financing, education, advocacy and policy support. The research deliverables will provide a concrete basis upon which the broader MECS programme can action transformations in cooking. 



The research takes forward the conceptual approach described as socio-technical innovation systems building, which was developed on the basis of in-depth historical analysis at Sussex on the solar home systems markets in Kenya and Tanzania, and on broader work on low carbon energy technologies in India and China, as well as insights from various literatures including innovation studies and socio-technical transitions theory.

Our Pinnsmapping method is an adaptation of the STEPS Centre tool Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) (Ely & Oxley, 2014), itself an adaptation of a process developed by Boru Douthwaite and colleagues (e.g., see Douthwaite et al., 2009).





R Byrne, B Onjala, JF Todd, E Onsongo, V Chengo, D Ockwell, J Atela

MECS Working Paper

R Byrne, E Onsongo, B Onjala, JF Todd, V Chengo, D Ockwell, J Atela

MECS Working Paper

R Byrne, E Onsongo, B Onjala, V Chengo, JF Todd, D Ockwell, J Atela

MECS Working Paper

D Ockwell, R Byrne, J Atela, V Chengo, E Onsongo, J Fodio Todd, …

Energies (14), 4362