Partner Spotlight: Project Gaia

Project Gaia promotes access to clean, safe, and efficient cookstoves powered by sustainable alcohol fuels, (namely ethanol and methanol) with the hope of changing the face of energy poverty.

According to The World Health Organization [1]Household Air Pollution and Health Sheet, 3 billion people cook their meals using polluting biomass fuels. Smoke from the wood and charcoal stoves can cause diverse illnesses including cataracts, cardiovascular disease, lung disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and has been attributed to 4 million deaths a year. More than 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children fewer than 5 are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.

As areas around the world struggle with increasing deforestation, women must travel further and further to gather wood. These trips are dangerous, with women risking violence or sexual assault particularly in conflict regions. Long hours collecting fuel wood and cooking over inefficient stoves prevent women and girls from pursuing an education or a source of income. The temperature of a clean cookstove is hotter than kerosene and charcoal stoves allowing for meals to be cooked faster.

Photo credit: Project Gaia

Project Gaia is challenging development dogma with the belief that all families deserve modern stoves and fuels. Project Gaia and partners are working to commercialize the stove and fuel, revitalize local agriculture, diversify crops, build industry, and lay the groundwork for a sustainable supply of fuel production both internationally and locally.

Clean alcohol fuels and safe and efficient stoves create a renewable energy system for household energy. Ethanol and methanol burn cleanly with no soot or smoke alleviating the harmful health effects of cooking fires and generating a healthy home for families. Women no longer face assaults or exhaustion from long trips gathering wood. With a fuel that cooks quickly they have time for their lives. Additionally, women are also very safe when cooking with the stove as it remains accident free since it was deployed in various locations since 2003.

Gaia works diligently to scale up its humanitarian efforts and embraces all of the fuels and stoves that make this possible. In 2016, Gaia launched a new program with UNHCR to test and evaluate different cookstove technologies in Melkadida camp in Dollo Ado.

“We at Project Gaia have witnessed how wPOWER advocates for gender parity in clean household cooking activities and have worked hand in hand with them to train and empower women and youth in their wide network to take on entrepreneurial roles in clean cooking with ethanol fuel. We really appreciate working with wPOWER” – Harry Stokes, Executive Director, Project Gaia

[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/