Indoor air pollution is a widespread environmental health challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa and is the leading cause of premature death in many Sub-Saharan African countries. This pollution is primarily caused by the burning of biomass fuels inside an enclosed kitchen in order to provide heat for cooking. After many years of woodsmoke inhalation, the women and children who practice this traditional method of cooking develop diseases such as COPD and pneumonia. The Global Air Quality Trekkers (GAQT) are a team of undergraduate engineers within the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) department at Purdue University. The goal of the GAQT team is to develop natural ventilation solutions in order to mitigate the amounnt of air pollution present inside homes, specifically in the Nandi community of Western Kenya.
By working with the Nandi community as well as our project partners within AMPATH and Moi University in Kenya, GAQT hopes to improve the health of women and children in the Nandi community and potentially other areas of Kenya through natural ventilation solutions.
This project allows us to collaborate with the Nandi community to create a kitchen design that will improve air quality inside kitchens while taking into considering the traditional cooking habits of the Nandi culture. By developing a solution that will not compromise the cooking practicies of the Nandi community, the health of the women and children of Nandi will be improved without requiring significant lifestyle changes.
During our trip to Kenya in January 2017, we collected data on the existing kitchen designs and their ability to mitigate indoor air pollutants. Using this data, a replica kitchen was built in West Lafayette so that we can evaluate the effectiveness different designs. We hope that during our trip to Kenya in May 2019, we can present our project partners with our research and spread awareness about the dangers of indoor air pollution and inform the community about the positive effects of utilizing a Clean Kitchen.