“You could also buy an improved cookstove for her”- This was my reply to a dear friend who asked my opinion on what to give at an occasion. Not a conventional gift, is it?
Improved cookstoves are more efficient in converting fuels to heat energy. By this means, levels of emitted harmful soot, carbon monoxide and other gases are cut down. What it implies is that, the chances of premature deaths occurring from pneumonia (in children), lung cancer, cataracts and blindness, cardiovascular diseases etc is minimized.
Already, in Nigeria about 95,300 persons die from cook smoke per year according to World Health Organisation. And NO! They are not just the women who are usually in charge of household cooking; children 0-5 years as well as elderly persons are equally vulnerable.
Although I did not meet Rita Munton and Esther Daniels at the Clean Cooking Energy Expo & Conference hosted in Abuja in January; their documented achievements make it easier to appreciate other additional benefits.
Money. Yes, money is saved. Rita Munton, a vegetable seller is able to cut down on her monthly wood fuel expenses by 60 per cent and her daughter’s education is likely to benefit from that savings.
Remember Benjamin Franklin’s saying - “time is money”? Well, Esther Daniels is able to earn extra money from operating her grinding business since she now takes less time collecting firewood. What’s more? This decrease in demand for wood fuels could have a positive impact on the forest area that is lost in the country every year.
Interestingly, improved cookstoves are already available in Nigeria. Several designs and fuel-type technologies (wood fuel, biofuel or solar power) were on display at the Abuja exhibition. Thing is….there is a global and thankfully a national alliance intervening – by supporting the development of the national clean cookstove industry, the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves wants to introduce 10 million clean cookstoves to Nigerian homes and institutions by 2020.
Now hold on a minute. Did you even know that you could join this alliance….and for free? - Most probably not. The good thing is that there is a broad range of partnership categories; it is quite unlikely that you will not find a suitable option here.
So, do you still question my gift choice? Notice that, I have not said stop giving the ‘regular or common’ gifts. Truth be told, who could resist those nice shoes, handbags, laces, perfumes (you name it). But, could we at least reconsider and expand our gift-options?
*Additional information by International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development (ICEED) and Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
*Photo credit: Ademola Olaniran & Gladys Durojaiye
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