If You Care about Health, Read This
If you work in savings groups and at the same time you are working to reduce the impact of malaria (like Savings for Change in Mali) or of HIV (like many USAID programmes) or to improve maternal and child health (like the Aga Khan Chitral Child Survival project in Pakistan), read on…
A new World Health Organisation report says that air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths a year. Most of these are due to indoor air pollution, from primitive lighting (like the open flame kerosene lantern in the picture at the left) or from inefficient ways of burning charcoal or firewood. That is more deaths than HIV and malaria combined - that’s hard to believe, I know.
And when people don’t die, they are often injured. Carbon monoxide weakens immune systems. Kerosene spills and burns children. Houses catch on fire.
There are better alternatives (check out www.lightingafrica.org).
I don’t like to pile a lot of other activities onto savings groups, but giving group members access to efficient clean energy is an exception. Unlike almost any other intervention, improved cookstoves and solar lamps can pay for themselves out of what household members already spend on lighting and cooking. And better stoves and lighting are clean, bright, efficient, modern, economical - there really is no comparison.
If you care about children’s health (I know you do), if you are interested in seeing if you can use the market to improve lighting and cooking for your group members, click here to send me (Paul) a note, and I’ll be happy to share what I know with you. No charge - let’s just make it happen.