News / Africa

EPA Chief Promotes Green Partnerships in E. Africa

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (undated photo)
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (undated photo)

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency has been promoting green technology partnerships during a trip to East Africa. One project is aimed at resolving Ethiopia’s most pressing environmental concerns.

Tedla Woldemichael is an environmental activist working to promote fuel-efficient cooking stoves in mostly rural southern Ethiopia.

He was in Addis Ababa this week to demonstrate his stoves to visiting US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. 

"If we save fuel, then that is conserving the forest, so this is our idea," Woldlemichael said while explaining the connection between fuel-efficient cooking and environmental protection. "Now, if you conserve the forest, then we are fighting against climate change."

Wood and other biomass fuels are scarce in Ethiopia. A century ago, 40 percent of the country was forest. Today it’s less than 4 percent.

Despite a massive tree-planting campaign, woodlands are in danger as a rapidly growing population scours the countryside for fuel.

Tedla’s organization, Concern for Environment, does not simply hand out clean cook stoves. Instead it provides women with molds and materials to build their own stoves that use less than half the fuel of traditional cooking fires. They can then re-use the mold to produce and sell more stoves to others in their communities.

"We are providing a molder that makes this cook stove, and with this it is possible to save 55 percent of energy," explained Woldemichael. "They make this one, they sell from the profit, they make their livelihood. It is [an] income generation scheme."

Experts say in addition to saving fuel and money, clean cook stoves also can prevent thousands of deaths from respiratory diseases caused by smoke from indoor fires.

But providing the cook stove technology is one thing. Adapting it to local needs is another. In a vast country like Ethiopia, conditions vary from region to region. What works in one place may fail in another.

To help introduce clean cook stoves, the U.S. Peace Corps has dispatched 31 environmental specialists into the countryside. Peace Corps Country Director Nwando Diallo says these volunteers will be a link between policy makers in Addis Ababa and families in remote villages.

"Our volunteers live there for two years," said Diallo. "So the idea is you’re working one on one with individuals in the community and trying to pass on and transfer skills so you’re not just popping in to town, doing a workshop for a week, but you are actually living there and making sure the individual is moving toward those appropriate new technologies."

EPA Administrator Jackson says her agency has committed $6 million over five years to support a clean air partnership known as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. She told a group of activists in Addis Ababa the goal is to place 10 million clean stoves in Ethiopia within five years.

"Everyone here is working to increase understanding of hazards of burning conventional fuels in the home," said Jackson. "They are highlighting health benefits that cleaner stoves and cleaner indoor air can bring. And importantly they are working to make those benefits possible with cleaner technology, in other words by building a better cook stove."

EPA officials say nearly three billion people worldwide use cook stoves. Jackson said environmental groups hope to convert 100 million African homes to clean technology by 2020.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid