Mark Jones (Founder)

Mark
F4CPhDchart

In 2020, Mark Jones completed his PhD at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit of University College London. His topic was ‘Energy Justice in Dhaka’s Slums’ using Kalyanpur Pora Bostee (KPB) as a case study. Mark examined the highly challenged electricity and cooking practices in KPB as a specific example of social injustice for slum dwellers in Bangladesh.

His thesis built upon previous research on urban conditions in global South cities to build a new framework for energy justice in urban poverty conditions. As part of the development of that framework, Mark measured the impact of unfair energy practices on four important areas of people’s lives: health, education, livelihood and dignity.

For electricity, the people experience poor outcomes across all four of these dimensions, largely a function of the illegal electricity connections provided by local gangster identities. The electricity system is corrupt, with the poor people being exploited and powerful people profiting from supplying overpriced, unsafe and unreliable electricity. Change in that system to a fair arrangement will take many years, and a lot of political will.

In the case of cooking, the issue is much simpler. Most households cook with firewood. A great deal of research has established that firewood cooking is problematic for health. Mark’s research found evidence of negative outcomes also for education, livelihood and dignity. Gas cooking on the other hand is positive in every respect.

The charts on the left show the people’s different perceptions of the impacts of firewood and gas cooking respectively on health, education, livelihood and dignity. Unsurprisingly, gas cooking is mostly seen as positive and firewood cooking is overwhelmingly despised.

The change from firewood to gas cooking is hugely transformational for the people, protecting their health, improving educational outcomes, freeing much time for income generation, and bringing the people a far more dignified cooking technology. Importantly, this change is simple, unlike for electricity. Contributing to the purchase price of gas stove systems via your donation is all that is needed to bring enormous benefit to the many people of this slum.

Our Mission

improving the lives of Dhaka's slum-dwellers by replacing firewood cooking with gas stoves, one slum at a time