Partner Spotlight: Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Three billion people, or 40% of the world population, rely on traditional use of biomass for cooking (WHO). The rural poor, mostly women, largely only have access to fuels that are inefficient in converting to energy.  Women and girls spend many hours each day on unpaid work – including cooking and collecting fuel. Access to clean cooking solutions can reduce significant portions of time-intensive cooking and fuel collection tasks, allowing women and girls to pursue other opportunities, such as education, earning income, or rest.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (Alliance) was founded in 2010 to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The Alliance is supporting the most effective gender-informed business models that increase adoption of clean cooking solutions, as well as maximize impact for women and girls.

The Alliance, which joined wPOWER in 2014, works closely with other wPOWER partners to increase the participation of women entrepreneurs throughout the clean cookstoves and fuels value chain. Through its Women’s Empowerment Fund (WEF), the Alliance works to scale effective business models for empowering women energy entrepreneurs. The WEF provides access to financing for gender components of household energy projects, ultimately building the business case for gender-informed approaches within the sector. The WEF has opened the door for new organizations to join wPOWER and to expand its reach into new countries like Ghana, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Burn Manufacturing employee at the Burn production facility in Ruiru, Kenya (Photo credit: GACC)

The Women’s Empowerment Fund has unlocked last mile distribution barriers for BURN Manufacturing. Specifically, WEF is enabling BURN to partner with women’s table banking groups, chamas, in Kenya by investing in end-consumer financing and entrepreneurship training for chama ambassadors. By providing clean cookstoves products with affordable financing, customers are able to cut fuel costs in half thereby creating significant personal savings in addition to improving household health.” – Boston Nyer, BURN Manufacturing

 Past and current partners under the Women’s Empowerment Fund, including entrepreneurs based in Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam, and Ghana, have supported more than 800 women entrepreneurs, and have sold more than 250,000 clean energy products during their programs.