Radha’s Message for June 2016
It's great to be back in Ghana again, my first visit since the cookstoves sector gathered here for the Clean Cooking Forum last November. As part of our ongoing efforts to increase adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels, the Alliance recently launched awareness raising and behavior change campaigns in a number of our focus countries, including one currently under way in Accra. It’s been incredible to see these activities first hand, watching as hundreds of consumers learn about — and ultimately purchase — a new cookstove from a local market.
While here, I met a woman called “Mamaa.” As we looked around the market together, Mamaa told me she had been unaware there were options for cooking. She said she had now learned about the various cookstoves and the benefits they deliver, and afterward, she would be walking away with two new efficient stoves for her family. It was great seeing her so happy with her new stoves, though she left me with one simple question — why couldn't she find these options in more rural areas?
Therein lies one of our toughest challenges – expanding distribution channels so that clean stoves and fuels are much more available where they are needed the most.
This challenge is outlined further this month in a passionate piece by Ugandan refugee Halima Mohamed, whose story I encourage you to read about the struggles she’s seen in her refugee settlement getting access to stoves and sufficient energy. It’s also a challenge we’re working with governments to overcome, with leaders in Kenya and Bangladesh announcing new moves to reduce tax and trade barriers that hinder stove and fuel adoption. And it’s something we’re trying to address in Guatemala, as well, where this month we launched a creative new awareness campaign that includes the use of radio “novelas” to encourage people to change the way they cook.
There are two other new projects that launched this month I’m very excited about as well.
In partnership with the government of Canada, the Alliance will be leveraging its diverse partner base and extensive experience building clean cooking markets in developing countries to design a comprehensive, costed national five-year integrated clean cooking program in Haiti. We have published an FAQ to provide additional details. The effects of cooking-related household air pollution are dire in Haiti, where the reliance on biomass is the most crippling in the Western Hemisphere, and we look forward to working with Canada and many of our partners to create a plan to address it.
As an example of ongoing efforts to mainstream household air pollution into the public health sector, the Alliance co-hosted with USAID the world’s first ever certified continuing medical education training focused on household air pollution. The training took place here in Ghana and emphasized the critical role of clinicians in identifying the health consequences and reducing the burden of household air pollution through individual patient interactions. Most importantly, the program also equipped participants with the tools to understand and counsel patients on the benefits of adopting clean cooking solutions.
Based on the success of this initial training, I look forward to the day in the not-so-distant future when doctors will be prescribing clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels to help address their patients’ health issues!
As always, I thank for your continued support, and I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure cooking no longer kills!