Medical/Health Care

Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves raises awareness on clean cooking

The Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, in partnership with the International Centre for Energy Environment and Development and Heinrich Boell Foundation, has launched the No Smoke Music Video.

The music video was launched to commemorate World Environment Day.

The song rendered by the duo, Tai n Kenny, was in support of clean cooking solutions especially for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East Nigeria.

It also highlights the health hazards and sufferings of millions of people (especially women) cooking with open fire using firewood.

The National Coordinator of Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Mr. Ewah Eleri, in his welcome address acknowledged the efforts of various partners and stakeholders from government, private sector, NGOs/CSOs and the international community in moving the clean cooking industry forward.

You know for a very long time, we've been working hard to spread the awareness about the dangers of cooking in open fire the traditional cooking way firewood in three stone stove. Scientists tell us that cooking in open fire is like smoking two packs of cigarette a day imagine for a kid, a child and a woman, so the health hazard because even these days most families buy from the market to cook. If you don't buy wood you go to the bush to collect it so sometimes, children skip school just to collect firewood. Now if we work together to make sure we bring those kind of stoves that still use wood and use it efficiently that means you save money you save time and you save your health and if government helps us and we're able to be able to have access to those stoves that use gas and gas doesn't cost so much it even helps better, he said.

He said that about 95% of IDPs, host communities and returnees in the Northeast depends on firewood and charcoal for cooking and 85% of these households face protection risks when collecting firewood.

Women and the girl child walk long distances and spend hours a week in search of firewood. This also contributes to deforestation and the effects of climate change. In Nigeria, more than 120 million cook over an open fire and according to World Health Organisation, smoke from open fire causes more than 95,000 deaths annually in Nigeria. After malaria and HIV/Aids, this is the third highest killer, mostly of women and children, Eleri said.

He noted that clean cooking saves lives, empowers women, improves livelihood and combats climate change. It is a priority area in energy access that is central in achieving the goals of the country's commitment to mitigate as well as adapt to the effects of climate change.

Cooking should not kill and clean cooking energy for all is not only possible but a right for our citizens, he pointed out.

The national coordinator also stated that he is glad the issue of clean cooking is being raised at the policy level and hopes that the music video will contribute to raising awareness about the need for clean cooking.

The solution is in our hands. We can solve the problem of cooking with firewood in open fire in this generation without leaving it to our children that is the message and we are focusing particularly on the problems that IDPs have in the North East and the host communities that they live with because the worst part of it is that when you venture out of your camp or those communities you now fall into the trap of Boko Haram and insurgents so, our women experience a lot of so called to fetch firewood so today a lot of women complain about sexual harassment, rape and other forms of gender base violence and these things we can reduce them we can solve these problem if we put our minds to it, if we carve the proper kind of partnership if our government put start on our policy radar put that in a budget and have the right kind of policies we can solve this in one generation, we can save a hundred thousand Nigerian lives every year, Mr. Eleri said.

He said that the clean cook stove is becoming more and more available and affordable as it is being produced locally.

They are not imported, they are made by local people in the North with the clay that they find in their communities with the things that the surrounding that they have around them but the government sometimes they make mistakes and they want to import, they have billions of naira that they want to import who needs that? So here we build a partnership that's why you see people from government, from international community NGOs coming down together to make a commitment let's end this, he announced.

Mr. Eleri lamented that most women do not know that the smoke from their firewood cooking kills them.

For me, let us not scratch where we don't itch. This is killing Nigerian children and women everyday because you must cook in Nigeria, everybody must cook, rich or poor you must cook you know and cooking should not kill people. A lot of our women don't even know that the smoke that they inhale from firewood is killing them it's like smoking two packs of cigarettes everyday it's killing our people you know and we cannot pretend as if we don't know, he added.

The representative of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Jonas Bervoets, commended the efforts of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and other stakeholders in promoting clean cooking solutions.

He underscored the need for safe and environment friendly access to fuels and energy for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).

Mr. Bervoets noted that FAO in collaboration with other partners including ICEED is facilitating a coordinated and effective response to the fuel and energy needs of crisis-affected communities in Northeast Nigeria through the Safe Access to Fuels and Energy (SAFE) workgroup.

He further noted that FAO in partnership with ICEED has set up three clean cookstoves production training centres in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Yerima Peter Tarfa, noted that the Federal Government is committed to promoting the issue of clean cooking which has the potential to help Nigeria meet its obligations in the National Determined Contributions (NDCs) agreed upon at the Paris climate summit.

The music video will play an important role in raising awareness about the need for clean cooking among policy makers and private sector as well as contribute to behavioural change in how we cook, Dr Tarfa said.

The artist, Tai Kenny, a twin, said that they were moved to record the song to create awareness on the plight of women who cook with fire wood.

They also appealed to the government to subsidise the price of the clean cook stove for the wellbeing of women in Nigeria.

Source: Voice of Nigeria