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Sunday, 10 February 2008 17:21

Indoor air pollution from household energy ranks as the fourth leading health risk among high mortality developing countries. Bolivia has the highest rate of infant mortality in South America largely due to respiratory illness; the percentage of Bolivian households consuming wood for fuel is between 51 to 75% and approximately 80% of the rural population use biomass for cooking. Few are aware that the smoke resulting from their traditional cooking methods is the cause of many of their health problems.

The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, launched by the EPA alongside other governments and organizations at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002, is a response to this challenge. Cedesol is perfectly equipped to meet this challenge having successfully worked for the last four years on breaking down social and cultural barriers to the adoption of new technology, providing creative market practices and providing participative workshops to enable the people to acquire the technology and the systems to improve their quality of life.

Satisfaction is exceptionally high among those that obtain Cedesol cooking systems as follow-up surveys of their use and performance are undertaken. Most importantly, even the cookers using biomass for fuel remove about 95% of harmful gas particles from the living space.

Cedesol has been a major participant in the GTZ stove initiative for 100,000 smokeless homes in Bolivia. GTZ, an international cooperation for sustainable enterprise, initially offered a subsidy of $26 for Bolivians to be able to afford Cedesol´s integrated cooking systems. This initial agreement under a contract of 1,000 cookers has been completed and proved to be a great success. An encouraging aspect of the venture has been that, of the 1,000 cookers obtained, 58% of families chose a solar cooker-- the least damaging cooker to themselves and to the environment but the one that represented the greatest social and cultural barrier regarding its incorporation into the culture. This is also significant if the United Nations Millennium Development Goals are to be met since solar cookers alone address and satisfy six of these eight goals.

A GTZ subsidy continues but it has dropped significantly as per the agreement at the beginning of the initiative. Subsequently Cedesol has sought ways to cover the drop in subsidy so that the Bolivian people can continue to afford these ecological cookers that are changing their lives.

One way in which Cedesol is hoping to cover the loss in subsidy is through a project in association with GiveMeaning, an organization with a website that allows anybody to invest in projects that have achievable goals to accomplish measurable life-change. For just $12 invested you can enable a Bolivian with few resources to acquire an ecological stove that can improve their life in so many ways and also reduce damage to the environment. For more information and the opportunity to invest in this project please visit

The initial deadline to achieve the stated fundraising goal for this project is 22nd March; now would be a great time to give! Cedesol is an organization whose focus is giving and will take immense joy from being able to reinvest your giving in a way that is known to impact lives for the better.