Imagine a world where low-income communities can meet their domestic energy needs with ease and affordability. A world where the most basic of things such as cooking can be done with clean and renewable energy sources.
Meet Jaan Pakistan, a social startup that is based in Lahore, which is turning this ambition into a reality. Jaan Pakistan is introducing a range of clean cooking solutions for everyday cooking as well as recreational outdoor cooking.
The startup not only provides those solutions in Pakistan but also around the world. The revenues that they generate through their global sales are directly used up in the resource-intensive task of changing the culinary behaviors in low income, off-grid communities.
“Half the funds we raise will be channeled towards our efforts in low income communities across Pakistan” – Khizr Imran, CEO
According the startup, around 55% of the population of Pakistan still burns firewood and dung cake for cooking food. The fuel fumes generated from these sources claim more than 100,000 lives in Pakistan each year. The illness that is a result of these sources affect more lives than polio, malaria and dengue combined.
Using such methods for cooking food is not only unhealthy but it also leads to a waste of time, money and raw materials. Their use can also lead to potentially fatal respiratory illnesses, as well as contribute to environmental degradation.
Jaan Pakistan focuses on communities that lack access to natural gas pipelines and electricity. Earlier this year, the company tested a range of clean cooking stoves in Bedian, a small village on the east side of Lahore. They are currently developing new iterations of their initial prototype.
“Honestly, I never thought I was going to be researching or selling stoves. Nor did I imagine clean cooking stoves could save lives” – Khizr Imran
The Journey of Jaan Pakistan
Jaan Pakistan is posed to take on the challenge of transforming how cooking is done in Pakistan’s rural areas. In October 2014, Khizr represented Jaan Pakistan at the fifth One Young World summit in Dublin. He shared his vision to research and manufacture affordable energy solutions for low income communities. At the summit, he won a social business competition for an indigenous, low-cost water heater.
“Flying back to Lahore, I was only thinking about those heaters. On my return, I started stringing together a team of similarly motivated individuals. Soon, when we stepped into the field, and started surveying low-income communities outside Lahore, we discovered a myriad of other problems ─ and the demand for warm water was not among them.”, recalls Khizr.
“Most of the people complained about the rising cost of firewood. Some even said they spent a quarter of their income on buying firewood. We knew immediately we had to change gear.”
Jaan Pakistan expanded its operation with just a mere $20,000 worth of funding that they were able to secure at the Startup Competition. As mentioned earlier, they are now testing a wide range of products and currently assessing culinary behaviors and the extent to which new technologies would be adapted. All these factors combined could help them to introduce a new and revolutionary alternate method to cooking in rural Pakistan.
Jaan Pakistan is currently moving forward with its mission and is collaborating with the crowdfunding platform, UpEffect, to help generate interest in its products and also the fund required to achieve its mission. You can find out more about the campaign by visiting the crowdfunding page over here.
The startup is definitely one of its kind. The effect that it would have on on the people in the rural communities and also the environment would be significant if it gets traction. The average Pakistani rural household is barely making ends meet as it is and spending a huge portion of their income only on raw material is not feasible. So, a startup like this is a welcome addition to the mix if it delivers on its promise.