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The Importance of Clean Cookstoves – A Personal Experience


When I was in Ethiopia last week observing frontline health workers with Save the Children I had the unfortunate circumstance of going into a home, a traditional hut, where the mother was cooking on her indoor cookstove. The smoke from the burning wood was so thick and powerful I could hardly breathe and couldn’t imagine a family, let alone children and babies, being in an enclosed area with that much damaging smoke.

In Ethiopia communities recognize families as “model families” if they have two separate homes – one for living and one for cooking — but many do not have the resources to create a separate space for cooking.

When you visit developing countries where there is widespread cookstove use you will see children who have a lot of mucus in their noses. Cookstove smoke causes increased risk of pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. And 2 million people die every year because of indoor health pollution.

Now that I have experienced how harmful cookstoves are I am more adamant about how important clean cookstoves are to the health and well-being of families, particularly women and children.

Read more about what you can do to advocate for clean cookstoves at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Clean Cookstoves – A Personal Experience”

  1. Jennifer, it’s interesting to hear about your experience. As part of becoming a bar mitzvah he made items that he sold to benefit a charity that provides solar cookstoves for Kenyan families. I believe the charity was hoping to replace kerosene stoves, not wood burning, ones, but either way, change to a cleaner fuel is needed.

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