French Roast News
Anne is reading …
Today’s New York Times profiles America’s Secretary of State in Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour as a Rock-Star Diplomat. She was pleased beyond words to read in the first sentence that “Hillary Rodham Clinton followed a scrum of Chinese ministers around an exhibition of clean cookstoves.” In 2009, Clinton took up the cookstove cause, including it in her portfolio of “smart power” issues. The men of the State Department tend not to go for these “shiny objects” issues that focus on improving women’s lives.
What the Times makes clear is that the media may have been focused on the drama on a blind Chinese dissident putting the Secretary in a tight situation in Chinese-American relations. But Clinton herself was multitasking. Knowing that the smoke from poorly ventilated stoves kills nearly two million people a year, Secretary Clinton argued that a killer worse than malaria deserves some attention.
Will America Keep Its Promise of $50 Million for Clean Cookstoves AOC World Sept. 22, 2010
Writing today for the New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal praises the initiative in Money for Stoves; the Other Pledges? She also raises a key question that is concerning all of us, one raised earlier this year by Bill Gates in AOC’s Is America Triple-Promising Global AID Dollars?
With all the problems in running America’s government, we are concerned that our public announcements about global aid may be just window-dressing, announcements that can be thwarted by individual congress people and political parties. Aid to women has always been a political target, with Republicans and Conservatives thwarting almost any program that didn’t stipulate some form of sexual abstinence and no birth control — even if the aid dollars are for cooking pots or a similarly innocuous and life-enhancing project.
AID That Works
A recent article in Bloomberg asks Can Cleaner Cookstoves Help Save the World?
From 2005-2010, overseas aid from US private groups jumped by 164 percent, compared to an 8 percent increase in official development assistance from America. In 2010 Americans donated $22.8 billion to global causes.
A recent study investigated how well the clean-cookstove movement is working.
Three researchers Rema Hanna of Harvard, and Esther Duflo and Michael Greenstone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, expected to confirm the health benefits of 2,600 $12.50 mud-based, chimneyed cookstoves installed in 44 villages in India’s Orissa state.
Clean cookstoves have been shown to release fewer pollutants and burn more efficiently than traditional cooking methods in laboratory experiments. What happens in the real world?
The results in Orissa were sobering. Initially the cleaner cookstoves did reduce pollutants in the air. But the stoves broke down. Without repair, they were useless — the same problem with a hot water project a few years ago.
The Bloomberg piece isn’t negative in the least about philanthropy projects in developing countries. Rather it stresses the complexity of making these countless philanthropy projects effective.
A group that AOC profiled in 2011 is addressing this very question of broken down equipment.
Ram Rati is a leader in her community, rising above her runaway bride status and wheat grinder. Married at age 11, Rati seems to be always a take-charge woman. Rati tired of the wells in her village always breaking down and decided to take matters into her own hands. In the Indian district of Mahoba, one-third of the 4,000 drinking water wells are broken.
Rati was one of the first people to apply to WaterAid,an organization training micro-entrepreneurs in the well maintenance business in 26 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region. New well mechanics like Rati have fixed 300 hand pumps in 2 years, impacting the water supply of 300,000 people.
Anne of Carversville