NDIGD researcher’s paper on clean cookstoves in Uganda wins Rural Sociological Society competition

Khatiwada Rss Award 2017

Lila Kumar Khatiwada, a monitoring and evaluation specialist at the University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), has won the Rural Sociological Society’s (RSS) second annual Ralph B. Brown Scholar Paper Competition for a paper examining the impact of clean cookstoves in rural Uganda.  

The competition, developed by the RSS’ Community, Family, and Health Research Interest Group (CFHRIG), is designed to encourage and support research in rural communities among international faculty and researchers. Khatiwada’s paper, “Clean cookstoves for improving women’s health: Initial findings from rural Uganda,” was selected from a competitive field for making “a strong contribution to our understanding of rural community life in a volatile world.” 

“[The review committee] believed that Khatiwada’s research was a good fit with Ralph B. Brown’s overall mission of strengthening families and changing communities for the better of all residents,” said Jessica Crowe, an associate professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University and chair of the CFHRIG. “With its focus on providing cleaner cookstoves to women, the project shows promise in creating healthier living conditions for rural Ugandans.”

Khatiwada accepted the award, which included a cash prize, on July 29 at the 2017 RSS Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

In the paper, Khatiwada presents the results from midline survey data collected in northern Ugandan villages to determine the impacts of a new type of clean cookstove. Treatment groups received these clean cookstoves to replace traditional biomass-burning cookstoves, which sickened villagers by exposing them to harmful levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants. 

From the midline data collected by NDIGD-trained local enumerators in 2016, Khatiwada found that the clean cookstoves have had a number of positive effects on local communities. Primarily, the clean cookstoves have reduced carbon monoxide exposure by nearly 50 percent in the treatment villages. The treatment groups also reported fewer burn injuries using the clean cookstoves, quicker cook times for certain foods, and reported spending less time collecting firewood.

“Khatiwada’s paper is an excellent illustration of how our experts at NDIGD can directly impact the lives of others around the world through their research and contribute to an overall body of knowledge through scholarly publications,” said Michael Sweikar, the executive director of NDIGD

NDIGD, in partnership with Blue Planet Network, Africa AHEAD, and the International Lifeline Fund, was awarded a $445,000 grant by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in 2014 to execute an impact evaluation of the project. Khatiwada completed the final round of data collection for the project in June of this year. 

“This award encourages me to continue working with disadvantaged people in developing countries, especially in rural areas, to improve their lives,” said Khatiwada. 

Established in 1937, the RSS, which claims members from around the globe, is “a professional social science association that promotes the generation, application, and dissemination of sociological knowledge … [and] seeks to enhance the quality of rural life, communities, and the environment.” 

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development — an integral part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame — promotes human development and dignity among people worldwide through applied innovations, impact evaluation, education and training that help build just and equitable societies.

Originally published by Luis Ruuska at ndigd.nd.edu on August 02, 2017.