fire-woodBiomass fuels-related deaths are only second to those caused by malaria, an expert has said.

Senior Gender Adviser, Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NAIF), Hajia Amina Salihu, disclosed this at a workshop organised by NAIF and the Better Life Programme for African Rural Women (BLPARW) on clean cooking in Abuja.

Hajia Salihu said inhaling smoke from cooking with unclean fuel was equivalent to smoking three packets of cigarettes a day.

She said:“The burning of biomass fuels has had adverse significant impact on the environment and thus the climate. Air pollution caused by firewood cooking and other biomass fuels are responsible for 93,000 deaths annually, thus making it the second highest killer in Nigeria after malaria.”

Hajia Salihu said rural women made accessing health-friendly cooking techniques difficult.

She urged the government, private individuals and micro-finance banks to mobilise women for access to clean cook stoves, adding that organisations, such as BLPARW should work out arrangement for flexible payment plans.

With efficient implementation of such initiative, she expressed confidence that the 20 million women could be provided clean stoves.

At the summit, which held at El-Amin School, Abuja, with a theme ‘Partnership for Clean Energy,’ NAIF and the BLPARW emphasized the need to expose women to the health and environmental dangers of cooking with firewood.

The summit introduced participants to clean cooking techniques and tools, which could be acquired with assistance from Microfinance banks.

They have put machinery in motion to ensure further partnership with the private sector to create awareness and access for women and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).

BLPARW said it would implement the project across the states, according to a communiqué released after the workshop.

States are to request BLPARW to supply them clean cooking tools.

“Support will be offered on a first come first served basis. BLPARW will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Microfinance Banks (MFB) and suppliers using the NIAF model of social enterprise. BLPARW will convene a dialogue with leadership and relevant committees of the National Assembly along with the Ministry of Environment for appropriation of clean energy financing in Nigeria,” said teh communique.


[The Nation]