KILLER IN THE KITCHEN

Improved stoves and smoke hoods are transforming the living conditions of families in poor areas of Nepal. And it’s not just their health that’s better. They have more time and money too.

 

Active Project

The Challenge

22,000 people die of household smoke related diseases in Nepal every year. Most victims are women and young children. In rural areas across Nepal, traditional stoves are common. Simple three-stone stoves cook food for the family and heat the home during the cold winter months – but they also fill the home with deadly thick black smoke.

  • This smoke fills the lungs of the whole family, causing them to cough and their eyes to stream.
  • It can lead to serious or fatal illnesses such as stroke, heart disease and cancer.
  • The stoves are inefficient – they need a lot of fuel to run.
  • Buying enough fuel to run the fires is expensive.
  • So in many families, women spend hours every day collecting firewood.
  • The collection of so much wood for cooking and heating is a cause of deforestation.

“Everything was black; it was so smoky and we couldn’t sit in the house. I have breathing problems and problems with my eyes. We used to take our granddaughter to the doctor’s sometimes because she used to cough.”

Bimala, Nepal

 

The Ingenious Solution

We’re helping families get a complete package of a specifically designed smoke-hood and an improved stove. The stoves run off locally-available ‘biomass’ – firewood, crop residue or animal dung.

  • Our simple smoke-hoods draw smoke up and away from the home, reducing indoor smoke by 80%.
  • Meanwhile, fuel-efficient stoves are affordable and easy to use. They burn smaller amounts of wood more fully – meaning significantly less smoke.
  • As well as improving the health of all the family, the stoves use less fuel, making them cheaper to run.
  • Women no longer have to spend time searching for wood and carrying heavy loads back home. They can learn new skills, spend good quality time with their children and earn an income.
  • We’re educating people about the dangers of indoor air pollution and why a smokehood and improved cook stove is so important.
  • We’ve helped communities to form cooperatives, which make subsidies and low-interest micro-loans available. This means that even the very poor households will be able to access the technology.
  • Our work is showing local governments and other international institutions what solutions work and what challenges they are likely to face, to help bring about long-term change.

“The doctor used to tell us not to sit in front of the fire because of the smoke, but we had no choice. Now with the smokehood it is clear, I can see things. The smoke doesn’t spread over the room. It uses less firewood and we can dry meat easily.”

Lal Singh Bal, Nepal

Rekha Begum –

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