The Alliance and the Caterpillar Foundation: Working Together to Empower Girls and Women
Kenya: Esther Rukaro
Exposure to household air pollution from traditional and polluting cookstoves kills over 4 million people globally every year – with a disproportionate impact on girls and women. Reliance on wood and charcoal cooking has devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts as well. That's why the Caterpillar Foundation is supporting the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves by investing in the Alliance’s Women's Empowerment Fund (WEF) to help women in developing countries become clean cooking entrepreneurs. Esther Rukaro is one of those women.
The Caterpillar Foundation’s support enabled Esther to positively impact her rural Kenyan community by providing her startup funding to launch a clean cookstoves distribution enterprise. With the help of the WEF, Esther took out a small loan, bought 50 clean cookstoves, and sold them all within her first week thanks to her network of relationships with women in her community. Esther's business took off, allowing her to transform into a full-time sales agent for a major cookstoves producer in Kenya – multiplying the impact for her community and beyond. Esther’s business is providing an important opportunity to economically empower herself and her family.
Since its launch in 2013, the Caterpillar-supported WEF has empowered over 300 women entrepreneurs within the household energy sector. This partnership has directly helped women become leaders within their own communities, enhance their entrepreneurship skills, and enable them to increase the adoption of life-saving and life-changing clean cookstoves and fuels among thousands of families all over the world.
Mercy is a mother from rural Kenya who made the switch from a traditional ceramic cookstove with the help of the Women’s Empowerment Fund.
Mercy's traditional stove spewed toxic smoke in her house that burned her family’s eyes and lungs. With the new cookstove she was able to buy with support from the WEF, she and her family breathe in cleaner air, and Mercy saves $5 every month on charcoal – crucial savings that she can put toward school fees and nutritious food for her children.
In partnership with the Alliance and Caterpillar, Mercy and her family are living healthier, safer, and more productive lives through the use of clean cookstoves and fuels.
This Women’s Empowerment Fund partnership has been empowering thousands of families, including women and girls, to make better energy decisions – creating a positive and long-lasting impact on people and the planet.
Ghana Girl Guides Association
Ghana: Alberta Abayateye
Alberta Abayateye, a student at the Anyamam Basic School in Ghana, recently joined a Caterpillar Foundation-supported youth leadership program developed by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. In partnership with the Ghana Girl Guides Association, the program empowered Alberta to help her family purchase a clean and efficient cookstove to use at home. As a result of using the cookstove, Alberta’s family has a higher quality of life and has saved a significant amount of money on cooking charcoal – nearly $60 every month! Alberta’s family is using the savings to build a better future for her and her siblings by paying their school fees.
The Caterpillar Foundation has directly helped over 200 Girl Guides members in Ghana become empowered members of their communities through leadership and awareness-raising training programs. The Alliance aims to continue working with the Girl Guides to scale up this project to reach all 20,000 of the Girl Guides members in Ghana. The Ghana Girl Guides Association is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and the Girl Scouts, which has over 10 million members in 155 countries globally. Caterpillar Foundation’s support has allowed the Girl Guides to be recognized in Ghana as a leading youth organization promoting clean cooking solutions, and its successful awareness-raising campaign has shown unique potential to scale globally through the Girl Guides international network of adolescent girls.