Democrats love to heap on poor Herbert Hoover, whose administration coincided with the Great Depression, but his dedication to the prevention of hunger after World War II is one reason he was a successful ex-president. Bill Clinton has his fans and detractors, but at his current pace, he will leave a strong legacy around the world for his NGO’s work on education, skills training, and medical research—while amusing many across the political spectrum because he often overshadows his accomplished wife in the process.
Next week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership with State and the Clinton Global Initiative that will improve the quality of lives, boost economic opportunity, and combat climate change. The subject which this Alliance will tackle may appear simple, but it has a huge affect on the health and well-being of millions. A more efficient cooking stove design can go a long way towards saving time, reducing emissions, and cutting fuel waste.
Stoves for many families across the globe are crucial for survival, yet often create the greatest danger for women. Many regions throughout Africa, for example, have limited affordable fuel options. The only choice for cooking meals is charcoal, problematic for countless reasons: deforestation, air pollution, and then the physical danger: women often spend less time with their families than searching for cheap fuel—and then return home and there is always the chance someone can fall ill from smoke or fumes. And in politically volatile zones, the risk of rape and murder loom.
Solutions are on the way. In Darfur, for example, several NGOs, such as the Technology Innovation for Sustainable Societies (TISS) and CHF International, teamed together to work on the Darfur Stoves Project. The project wins at many levels: men learn metallurgy skills that can help their employment prospects, women have a more efficient means for cooking meals for their families, and everyone avoids the risk of smoke inhalation.
Meanwhile, in India, its renewable energy ministry launched the National Biomass Cookstoves Initiative last year. Over 770,000 Indians use wood or biomass, which contributes to air pollution and perhaps as many as 500,000 deaths annually.
The announcement will be streamlined live, hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, on the web on Tuesday, September 21, at 1:30pm EST. The initiative cannot start soon enough: as many as 500 million families could benefit if their plans can scale and succeed.