Meet Binta: A Clean Cookstove Leader, Advocate, and Entrepreneur

Project: WISE Women's Clean Cookstoves Project

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Binta Yahaya is a community mobilizer and environmental advocate from Lere, a rural town in Kaduna State, Nigeria. In her town, most women and girls cook over open fires, and many suffer chronic respiratory infections and other health problems from the toxic smoke. Few are aware that cooking with an open fire is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour in one’s kitchen, or that firewood smoke is the 3rd largest killer of women and children in Nigeria. Even Binta didn’t know what to do about the dangerous accumulation of dirty soot on her own traditional cookstove.

Then she participated in the 9-month 2017-2018 WISE Women’s Clean Cookstoves Training and learned of powerful alternatives. Within 1 week of entrepreneurship, leadership, and technical training, Binta sold 70 clean cookstoves to women in her village. She quickly watched this simple solution reduce sickness, medical bills, and daily fuel costs for these families.

Today, Binta is a clean cookstove entrepreneur, and as a trusted member of her community, people listen. She also launched a second business producing her own clean cookstove model and selling cooking fuel made from agricultural waste instead of charcoal. Every day she improves the lives of people (1,000 already have access to clean energy and improved health because of her), mentors more women entrepreneurs, and plays a part in Nigeria’s clean energy future. On the last day of the training she said, “You have already changed my life…if I had to pay for what I learned from you, I don’t think I could afford it. I have no words but to say thank you.”

Together, Binta and her cohort of clean cookstoves participants have reached over 13,000 people with clean cookstoves. According to Project Drawdown, if adoption grows to 16% by 2050, reductions in emissions will amount to 15.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide, with health benefits reaching millions of households.

A silent, nurturing, and green seed revolution

Project: Planting Seeds of Resilience in Southern India

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“Beyond the city, past the highway…in the State of Karnataka, there’s a revolution — silent, nurturing and green. A revolution nurtured by…women of the region towards the larger global goal of sustainable agriculture and food security. A revolution that tackles food politics with a smile and indigenous seed varieties.” Excerpt from She, the Forest Home Gardener

It’s official: our multi-year Seeds of Resilience Project in partnership with the women-run seed-saving collective, Vanastree, has borne fruit! As a result of growing seven community-managed seed banks and building women’s seed entrepreneurship skills, seed biodiversity has increased by 43% in these communities. These seed banks act as a safeguard for preserving and storing critical seed varieties alongside the landscape that acts as a seed sanctuary itself.

About 80% of the world’s food is produced by small-scale farming. Women make up on average 43% of this agricultural labor in developing countries, and in South Asia, more than two-thirds of employed women work in agriculture. Providing more training and access for women farmers could boost agricultural output and decrease global hunger by 17%.  According to Drawdown, it could also reduce 2.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050. That’s why WEA invests in the power of women farmers.

Get a firsthand look at the Seeds of Resilience Project in Southern India and the women farmers who are leading this peaceful seed revolution.

Women Leaders on the Frontlines at USOW

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Last month, WEA was honored to be a community partner for the United State of Women Summit where we co-hosted and presented at the “Eco Women’s Leadership on the Front Lines panel. This event highlighted the critical work of women leaders to solve environmental challenges around the world and gave rise to the Eco Women’s Alliance — a forum for continued collaboration.

Thank you to our event partners (Center for Food Safety, Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Kiss The Ground, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, Three Squares Inc., Women In Green Forum, NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program), our generous sponsors (NationBuilder, Green Wish, Repurpose, Califia Farms, and Actor/Activist Sharon Lawrence), and our host committee for making this possible!

Watch Amira Diamond present at “Eco Women’s Leadership on the Front Lines.”

Join us for the Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice

Project: Accelerating Women's Climate Solutions in the U.S.

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WEA is honored to participate in the Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change on September 11th in San Francisco (and livestreamed). Organized by our friends at WECAN, this dynamic public forum will be a gathering of women leaders from across the United States and around the world, joined in solidarity to speak out against environmental and social injustice, draw attention to root causes of the climate crisis, and present a diverse array of strategies. This event will be held the day before the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in California.

Find additional details and RSVP here.

WEA Voice: Olanike Olugboji

Project: WISE Women's Clean Cookstoves Project

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Olanike Olugboji — WEA partner and founder of Nigerian NGO WISE — was recently recognized with the Sustainability, Environment and Advocacy Award for demonstrating exceptional proficiency in Eco-Business Advocacy.

Olanike is a WEA founding mother who participated in our first Women and Water Training in 2008 and has now trained over 3,000 women in clean energy, safe water technologies, and entrepreneurship. WEA and WISE recently partnered together again on the WISE Women’s Clean Cookstoves Training.