By: Nancy Hughes, member of Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club, Oregon, USA, and founder of StoveTeam International
As we celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March, we were reminded that half the world’s women cook over dangerous open fires. These fires are the leading cause of death of children under age five and kill more people than AIDS and malaria combined. The wood used for cooking is also causing massive deforestation.
StoveTeam International began as a result of a simple Rotary matching Grant. Eugene Southtowne Rotarians worked with a local engineer to develop a safe, fuel-efficient cookstove, the Ecocina. An order for stoves was placed with a local entrepreneur in El Salvador thus enabling him to start a stove factory. In the subsequent five years, he has produced and sold more than 15,300 stoves.
Since that initial grant, StoveTeam International has become its own non-profit organization and has started seven factories in four countries that have produced and sold more than 44,600 stoves impacting the lives of 334,000 individuals, all done with the help of Rotary clubs and grants.
Thank you Rotary and Rotarians for protecting women and children in the developing world.
Read more about Nancy Hughes and StoveTeam International’s work in PBS NewsHour’s February special report.