Everyday, WEA women leaders model this most basic truth: when women are equipped with resources and support, they not only profoundly impact their local environment, but they create a positive ripple effect on entire regions. As the U.S. elections and our partners have shown, we can never underestimate the impact that each of our actions has on this world. May all our circles keep widening.
Stay tuned for your chance to grab a limited-edition “RIPPLE” letterpress print or postcard pack. They hit the WEA marketplace in early December!
WEA’s newest Leadership Board member, Charity Tooze, is a longtime champion of women’s rights, and currently serves as Director of Gender, Partnerships, and Communications with Equal Access International. She’s a creative social impact leader with a fierce commitment to uplifting girl and women-led organizations, and we are honored to have her experience and voice on our board.
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.
“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.