Our ninth and final United Nations SDG* of the week is #5: Gender Equality. This goal strives to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. This relates to ending discrimination, eliminating forced marriages, valuing unpaid care and domestic responsibilities, ensuring full participation in leadership and decision-making, and promoting the empowerment of women.
Unpaid work, including collecting fuel and cooking, remains a major cause of gender inequality throughout the world. This is compounded by the fact that fumes from three-stone hearths lead to various health problems which cost money and time. At Tui’k Ruch’ Lew (TRL), our ONIL energy-efficient, clean-burning cookstoves offer a simple and effective way to save money, time, and health costs, which lead to more opportunities for women.
The UN Foundation notes that cooking is one of the most dangerous activities for girls and women in the developing world, where more than half the population still cooks food over open fires. Without access to cleaner cookstoves and fuels, women endure incredible hardships. They are exposed to deadly smoke that kills over 4 million people every year and causes cancer, pneumonia, and lung disease.
With a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency from an improved cookstove, a family purchasing fuel could save enough money to send two children to school. More efficient and cleaner stoves and fuels can prevent deaths and can save women up to 300 hours or $200 per year, allowing women the time and income needed to pursue opportunities of their choice.
Women play a crucial role in the widespread adoption and use of cleaner, modern, household cooking solutions because of their central responsibility for managing household energy and meal preparation. Women must be fully integrated into the solution-making process because without their opinions and input, products will not meet their needs and will not be used.
Our commitment to empowering the women of Santiago Atitlan remains strong as we continue to acknowledge the critical role access to clean cookstoves and fuels plays in achieving gender equality for millions of girls and women around the world.
This concludes our SDG Spotlight series. We hope you enjoyed learning about how TRL’s work aligns with international objectives considered essential to achieving a more equitable world for all. SDGs themselves are not sources of funding, however they direct government and philanthropic spending. One example is Verra’s SD VISta Program, which provides a framework for projects to assess and report on their work to achieve progress on the SDGs. TRL is proud to be one of sixteen pilot projects participating in the SD VISta Program, with the goal of unlocking new funding sources to support and scale up our efforts in Santiago Atitlan.