Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Kaduna women under the aegis of Small-scale Women Farmers Organisation (SWOFON) have advocated for affordable, energy efficient stoves for women in rural areas.
This, the organisation believes, would help save women and children from the hazards of using firewood for cooking, as well as reduce deforestation, thereby helping to check climate change.
SWORON president Mrs Hannatu Soni, who stated this at a meeting facilitated by Bridge That Gap Initiative, with the support of Africa Media Development Foundation in Kaduna on Thursday noted that, if the issue of deforestation is left unchecked, Nigeria may become uninhabitable in a few decades.
According to Soni, the Kaduna State Government must support the mass production of affordable, energy efficient stoves so that women, particularly those in the low-income bracket, who cannot afford cooking gas can access alternatives.
“Findings show that nearly three billion people worldwide live in energy poverty, lacking access to clean energy technologies, and cook their meals over open flames with biomass fuels such as charcoal and wood,” said Soni.
“Traditional cook stoves are incredibly inefficient, wasting 90 percent of the energy generated and requiring up to one-third of a family’s income for fuel. It is also hazardous to the environment, causing 25 percent of the world’s global black-carbon emissions.
“The smoke and other toxic fumes that result from cooking this way – known as Household Air Pollution – are estimated to cause or directly contribute to 3.8 million deaths per year – more than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
“It has also been estimated that the number of people who cook with biomass is expected to grow as global population increases, reaching 3.24 billion by 2025.
“We are all aware that one of the effects of climate change is global warming and CO2 emissions contributes largely to global warming. Therefore, there is a need for CO2 emissions reductions from household cook stove use.
“We are calling on Kaduna State Government to put citizens, especially women, first in addressing climate change impacts and also support women in building an environmental friendly practice that will address climate change impacts,” she said.
The Executive Director, Bridge That Gap Initiative, Miss Gloria Kasang Bulus, also raised concerns that underdeveloped and poor countries are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change compared to other countries, with women being the most vulnerable because of their traditional roles in the household.
“We are raising our voices because we do not want our children to look at us in the face and put the blame on us that we knew and had opportunity to fight climate change and we did nothing about it,” Bulus said.
“The good news is, there are ways we can mitigate the impacts of climate change, especially on women, by using energy efficient cook stoves which will reduce smoke and toxic emissions by up to 80 percent and reduce fuel consumption by an average of 60 percent, which corresponds to a reduction of between 2-3 tons of CO2 equivalent per year.
“We are demanding that the government support women with energy efficient cook stoves by making it readily available to women, especially those in rural communities, at affordable cost,” she added.