Each day, nearly three billion people prepare food for their families using an open fire inside their homes. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, indoor air pollution almost exclusively impacts the world’s poorest communities, killing some four million people per year—mostly women and children.
To help improve the health and economic well-being of families relying on open-air fires, Global Peace Women (GPW) has been educating communities in Kenya and Uganda on the harmful impacts of traditional stoves and assisting in the making of clean cookstoves.
Global Peace Women launched its newest Clean Cookstove Project (CCP) in Nepal in September 2013. In January 2014 GPW volunteers provided cookstoves to fifty families in the rural Chaimale Village just outside Kathmandu. And the project is already making an impact in the community.
“Compared to the traditional stoves, the clean cookstoves are muchbetter. Before there used to be smoke all over the kitched but now there’s no more as all the smoke is emitted outside. I think that everyone in the village should have a clean cookstove in their home.”
The cookstoves create airtight cooking chambers that prevent smoke from escaping around cooking pots. A tin chimney provides an exhaust channel for the dangerous fumes that would otherwise fill the kitchen. The stoves are mostly made from sustainable materials found in the surrounding area so local residents can maintain their own stoves at little cost.
The cookstoves not only help with improving the health of families but save time and money as these stoves are much more efficient, requiring less wood. “Now we don’t have to go frequently to collect fire wood,” said Ms. Sumitra Rumba. “Before we had to travel 2-3 hours a day just to fetch wood. As a clean cookstove emits less smoke, the utensils are easy to clean and we can cook two different foods on one stove. Thanks to Global Peace Foundation our life is easier.”
In addition to health and economic benefits, the greater efficiency of the clean cookstoves and necessity of less wood and other fuel curbs the negative environmental footprint from cooking. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that traditional cookstoves produce more than three times the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars throughout the world combined.
People continue to request that clean cookstoves be built in their home. “Currently, I am using the old cook stove and I really want to have an improved cook stove in my home,” said Mrs. Dhanmaya Tamang. “There’s a lot of smoke all over the room while I use the old stove which makes it difficult to breathe. So I think having a clean cookstove in my home will improve my life condition.”
Global Peace Women will be assessing the impact of the cookstoves on families in the Chaimale Village and is planning to build fifty more in February, eventually contributing 300 total. In efforts to support the community as a whole, the Global Peace Foundation is looking into other requests, such as literacy programs.
Global Peace Women has a goal of building 5,000 clean cook stoves in Nepal, Uganda, Kenya and the Philippines by October 2014. To find out how the cookstoves are made watch the video below:
To support GPW’s Cookstove project, please visit: Clean Cookstove Project .