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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.

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.”

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.

 

Water filters arrive in the Tonganagaon tea community

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We’ve got water filters! A few years ago, most families in the Tonganagaon community in Assam were among the 76 million people in India without access to a safe water supply. Many suffered from waterborne illnesses often leading to loss of work or schooling and expensive doctor bills. Thanks to Numi Organic Tea’s commitment to safe water, Together for H2OPE Project is ensuring that all 6,500 families have access to safe drinking water. This program is training women community leaders to be WASH ambassadors and educators. In this photo, they are presenting families with water filters and training on proper usage and maintenance.

This partnership represents WEA’s work with mission-driven companies, where we work together to optimize philanthropic investments in environmental and social change.