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How Women Are Improving Lives

By Brittany John – Health, Hunger and Education Program Manager

Your donations provided 150 clean cookstoves to families in Guatemala, Uganda, Malawi, and Nigeria in 2018. The impact of each stove goes far beyond the delivery of a clean cookstove by contributing to a healthier reality for people’s daily lives, ultimately contributing to a healthier planet for all of us.

  • Deforestation: The efficiency of the stoves saves approximately two bundles of wood per week, which means 15,600 bundles of wood do not come from the forest.
  • Carbon Emissions: Each cookstove saves 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which means your donations contributed to saving a total of 375 tons of CO2 not emitted.
  • Time & Energy: On average families spend 10 hours per week collecting firewood for cooking. But because the amount of wood needed per week is only one-third of that required by a traditional three-stone fire, women who used to spend 10 hours per week collecting firewood gained 1,500 hours of time back.
  • Women’s Health & Initiatives: The health and economic burdens of open fire cookstoves disproportionately affect women and girls (largely in Sub-Saharan Africa), who inhale the daily equivalent of up to 20 packs of cigarettes while cooking three meals/day. These women no longer have to experience this.

Because the burdens of using open-air fires disproportionately affect women, we think it’s essential to partner with organizations like Women’s Earth Alliance who, through your donations, supported 24 female entrepreneurs in Nigeria by providing a clean cookstove AND the support to start their own clean cookstove business! A 2-week training included economic principles, leadership skills, & clean cookstove training along with seed grants to launch their own clean cookstove business and on-site support to ensure their businesses are profitable after the project ends. In some cases (for instance in Nigeria), traditional cookstoves are the biggest killer of women and children after malaria and HIV, and incidents of assault during firewood collection are common.

Your donations made it possible for Risikat and Alimat, two Nigerian women, to become clean cookstove ambassadors who are now scaling clean cookstove sales, driving clean energy innovation, and leading coordinated advocacy campaigns to benefit thousands of more women.

Their story of strength, intelligence and resilience must be shared:

Risikat and Alimat are clean cookstove entrepreneurs, despite being part of a population that is even more marginalized for their physical disabilities than women alone. They participated in the 2017-2018 Women’s Clean Cookstove Training and learned of powerful alternatives. After the training, they returned home with credibility to hold sensitization, promotions and demonstrations to educate their peers on the advantages of switching to clean cooking alternatives. They have organized trainings to build the capacity of other women with disabilities so they too can advocate for more available and accessible clean cooking solutions and clean cookstove technology for all women in their communities.
Their most notable outreach event brought many members of the Women with Disabilities Self-Reliance Foundation (WWDSRF) together from all over Nigeria, not just Kaduna state. On that day, Risikat formally registered members of the WWDSRF in attendance as a cooperative society with the Ministry. She distributed various clean cookstoves to these women so they could return, educate and sell them to their home communities. This cooperative is now successfully expanding their reach and building their community wealth through profit-sharing. All the women registered are invested in the success of the cooperative, which means that every day they improve the lives of people (thousands already have access to clean energy and improved health because of them), mentor more women entrepreneurs, and play a significant role in Nigeria’s clean energy future.

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by brittany, January 3, 2019