Poverty can be dangerous in all kinds of ways we don't normally think about. Take cooking dinner, for instance. The job falls to woman in most parts of the world, and that job is often a smoky, choking chore conducted over open flames. It's estimated that 2 million women die each year from exposure to all that smoke and the toxins that come with it. And smoke from cooking fires contributes to the deadly pneumonia that so often strikes children in developing countries.
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton announced that a collection of governments, NGOs and private companies is coming together to distribute cookstoves that are better for both the environment and the people using them. The best part of the plan is that there will be no one-size-fits-all stove going out to Ecuador, Indonesia and all points in between. Instead, participants will choose the stove that suits them best.
"If local tastes are not consulted, [the stoves] will stack up and not be used," Secretary Clinton said at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, where she announced the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Read the Christian Science Monitor article here. The plan is to have 100 million new cookstoves in place by 2020.
Providing improved cookstoves has long been a tenet of many Heifer projects around the world. The stoves cook food more quickly and cleanly, preserving human health and saving trees that might otherwise get chopped for fuel.