When I was still new in Kenya, I was at a meeting about energy efficient stoves, reducing firewood consumption by around 50%. I had read about solar cookers that totally eliminate the need for firewood, so after some time I could not contain myself anymore, but remarked that it seemed unnecessary to still be using 50% firewood, when that could be reduced to zero.
“You must be very new to Kenya”, I was told, and indeed over the following months I realized that very rarely will the societies of Kenya or Eastern Africa in general accept to cook food in the open, for everyone to see, and with no fire. Indeed, one time while camping, we were physically threatened for cooking our food in the open – it is a strong taboo for several tribes, and with good reason – in areas and times of near starvation, showing others that you have food is not good manners.
People will however accept an efficient stove that reduces the consumption by half. Over the years since, I have seen many failed solar cooker projects and have often reminded myself of my own ignorance about this.