Our work with international non-governmental organisation Practical Action to roll out clean cooking stoves continues to have a lasting positive impact on rural communities in Odisha, India.
For roughly 668 million people in India, something as simple as cooking can create a deadly threat. The majority of people still use traditional fuels: animal dung, agricultural waste and wood. The energy efficiency of these sources is very low, meaning that cooking enough to feed a family is a constant struggle.
The need for firewood for cooking leads to serious devastation of the surrounding forests, and people in the region – especially women - can spend a whole day collecting firewood for two or three days' supply. Most dangerous of all, the use of traditional fuels can cause fatal respiratory problems and it's estimated that it causes 400,000 premature deaths every year.
An innovative solution
A clean cook-stove, which runs far more efficiently and provides a faster, cleaner and much safer way to cook.
As the stoves need much less fuel, families don't have to keep constantly replenishing their supply, and thus have more to spend on food, education and medical care. Most importantly, families are freed from the threat of deadly air pollution. In fact, household smoke kills more people every year than TB, AIDS and malaria.
Empowering local communities
However, the project is about far more than a new method of cooking. Through training and encouragement, local communities – and particularly women – are equipped with the necessary entrepreneurial skills, allowing them to generate income by becoming the key producers of the stoves themselves.
A lasting legacy
Johnson Matthey have contributed fund-raising of £10,000 per year for more than three years, and local communities in Odisha continue to benefit from the project. Community leaders created the below video to pass on their thanks.