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Clean-Burning Cookstoves for Developing Countries

A letter from executive director, Sarah Costa, on clean-burning cook stoves is in today's online edition of the New York Times. Read the letter below.

To the Editor:

Re “Developing Nations to Get Clean-Burning Cookstoves” (news article, Sept. 21):

It is great news that the United States will provide $50 million to help provide clean-burning cookstoves for villages in Asia, Africa and South America. In addition to the appalling health risks (1.9 million deaths a year due to inhaling smoke from open fires) and the environmental devastation caused by cutting down trees for fuel, women and girls risk rape and sexual violence when they gather wood to cook or sell.

This is particularly true in refugee camps and other displaced settings, where fuel is typically not provided to cook the food that displaced people receive.

In addition, girls may miss out on education opportunities as they spend hours each day foraging for cooking fuel or stay at home to watch younger siblings as their mothers collect firewood.

It is essential that the clean-burning stove initiative — both the provision of stoves and the development of local stove-making businesses — reaches humanitarian settings, as it will enhance the protection of refugee women and girls immeasurably.

Sarah Costa
New York, Sept. 21, 2010

Find the full article, posted on the online edition of the New York Times here.