Angelica with her daughters and their new clean and efficient stove. Photo by Justin Coburn, World Vision
Nearly three billion people around the world burn wood, charcoal, animal dung, or coal in open fires or in inefficient stoves for cooking and heating. As a result, hundreds of millions of women and girls breathe in harmful smoke every day while cooking.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that this leads to over four million deaths per year in developing countries – more than from malaria or tuberculosis – plus tens of millions of preventable diseases that women fall sick from such as emphysema, cataracts and heart disease. Furthermore, inefficient cook stoves are a major contributor to deforestation and climate change.
In response to this major problem in the developing world World Vision Australia has entered into partnership with three leaders in the provision of clean and efficient cook stoves. An innovative new project will deliver efficient cook stoves to 6,000 of the poorest families in the Andes of Peru.
Angelica’s family has already benefited from this project and replaced their inefficient cook stove with a new model, which includes a chimney that ensures all smoke leaves the kitchen.
“I am very happy with the new stove,” Angelica told me last week when I paid her a visit. “It is much easier to cook as I can stand up, instead of leaning over the fire like before. Also it cooks quicker with less wood, the pots stay hotter for longer and best of all, there is no smoke.”
One of the other benefits of these fuel efficient cook stoves is that they reduce the amount of wood required. This not only reduces deforestation, but means that women can halve the amount of time they spend collecting wood or the amount of money they spend on buying it – freeing up time and income for other productive activities. Angelica’s family used to have to buy their fire wood and she told me that, “before we were spending 45 soles (AUD $20) every fifteen days, but now we only have to spend this once a month.” This means an annual saving over $200 per year.
This halving in the amount of wood used for cooking is the reason why this project, and others like it World Vision Australia hopes to develop in Latin America in the future, can be funded through the sale of carbon credits.
The Peru Clean and Efficient Cook Stoves project is another great example of the innovative work that World Vision Australia’s Climate Change and Food Security Team is undertaking to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable communities and it has been a great privilege to see the impact of this on the ground.
“Apart from the health benefits for me and my daughters,” Angelica told me, “having to buy less wood means we have more money for my daughters to go to school and buy some of the things they need for their education.”