Girls in Ghana Push for Increased Access to Clean Cooking
Accra, Ghana (October 13, 2016) – At a special event hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves partnered with USAID and the Ghana Girl Guides to host Alliance Leadership Council members Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Hanna Tetteh, Ghana Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Held on The International Day of the Girl, the event featured McCarthy and Tetteh at the Achimota Girl Guides Training Center discussing a broad range of topics, including the environment, health, education, and women’s empowerment. The highlight of the day focused on the advocacy work of the Ghana Girl Guides, a group of young women working in their communities to encourage the use of clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels. The Girl Guides discussed their powerful role as leaders of change and performed songs, poems, and skits to express the positive effects clean cookstoves and fuels have on health and the environment.
“I see great promise here and I know it’s hard work and there’s a long road ahead. But I think we’re trying to do the work that will keep our kids healthy and our future bright,” said Gina McCarthy “Cookstoves are an opportunity for us to improve the health of women and children across the world in ways that, just a short time ago, we had no idea was a problem nor an opportunity.”
“No one wants to talk to somebody about cooking who doesn’t cook, so it’s women and girls who are able to bring home the message that these cookstoves pose significant impacts on kids and women,” she said. “[Clean cooking solutions] offer tremendous opportunities for efficiency, time saving, education for women, and business opportunities.”
Since 2014, the Alliance has partnered with the Ghana Girl Guides Association on an awareness campaign, which includes a program to educate girls about the negative impacts of traditional cooking practices. The partnership also creates leadership opportunities for the Girl Guides through the introduction of improved cooking technology in their local communities.
More than 20 Girl Guides attended the event, using the opportunity to talk with McCarthy and Tetteh about the girls’ work to improve their family’s lives by convincing their families and communities to change the way they cook. In Ghana, more than 80 percent of the population cooks with heavily-polluting solid fuels, which cause dramatic impacts on health and the environment. The cleaner, more efficient cookstoves and fuels the Guides are promoting can help reduce emissions from cooking.
The event was part of a three day visit in which McCarthy learned more about the encouraging work the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and other Alliance partners have been doing to increase community awareness of the clean cookstoves sector.
During her visit, McCarthy visited traditional fishing communities utilizing a USAID-funded prototype of improved fish smoking stoves and learned how the Ghana Alliance plans to move forward to improve accessibility of similar cookstoves throughout Ghana. McCarthy also spoke on a panel discussion at the University of Cape Coast on the importance of addressing air quality with specific emphasis on the health impacts.