Why Energy?
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Why energy? Because energy lies at the core of everything. Click on the boxes below to understand how energy is linked to the various topics and why HEDON's contribution is so important.

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"Energy in the home is essential to tasks such as cooking, washing, purifying water, lighting and small businesses; and thus safe, sustainable and affordable access to energy is directly linked to poverty. An energy source is essential to adequate health and education provision in local communities; helping improve people’s health, education and long term opportunities. HEDON supports its members to enable such energy provisions."


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Women and men view household energy differently. To most women living in poverty, fuel is a constant source of concern – they need it to meet the needs of their close families. They gather it, burn it, and are adversely affected by the smoke from it. Energy is needed to run the small enterprises (such as street-foods for sale, water pumping and agricultural processing ) that provide essential extra income. Men on the hand may not ‘see’ the energy that is used in the household, but be concerned with fuel for transport and manufacturing activities.

HEDON acknowledges these differences and promoting access to clean and sustainable energy sources and technologies, reduces the drudgery of fuel-collection for women, and the health risks associated with indoor air pollution, particularly for women and children. .


HEDON members promote the use of Sustainable Energy sources and technologies. These technologies can reduce the fuel wood consumption of cooking, brick-making, charcoal making, and other biomass demanding agricultural processes by up to 90%. This reduced demand could lead to significant reductions in deforestation if applied globally to industrial, agricultural and household energy processes.


The earth is kept warm by a blanket made of gases, the atmosphere, that lets in the heat coming from the sun but doesn't let out that produced by the planet. The release of gases produced by human activity by burning fossil fuels, has made the blanket thicker thus provoking an increase in temperatures at the global level. The results of a temperature rise is having strong repercussions on the existing ecosystems that support all living creatures on hearth, including humans.

Any practice that mitigates this process by decreasing the use of fossil fuels helps to keep the raise in temperatures under control. Since the warming up process has already started adaptation of human way of life to the changed environment is fundamental especially for the poorest communities, already living of fragile and under-productive ecosystems.


Poverty is not just about having no money. It is about people, through no fault of their own, not having the knowledge, or physical well-being, or status within the community, or resources to make the changes necessary to improve their lives. Energy poverty can be a downward spiral where people cook with low-grade fuels over rudimentary stoves or fires, because they cannot afford to buy cleaner stoves and fuel. This often results in serious ill-health, whilst the search for ever-diminishing fuel supplies uses up time that could be spent in income-generation.
HEDON shares knowledge and information on improved energy services, and helps to create a virtuous circle: cleaner fuels and more efficient technologies, productive end-uses so that those in poverty can learn of ways to make an income, issues around carbon finance and how it can help to access more funds to support improved energy services.


Education can support access to clean fuels, and can be supported by access to clean fuels. There is some evidence that children who do not have to gather fuelwood have a greater opportunity to attend school. Children not suffering respiratory illnesses caused by polluting fires are healthier, and thus more able to benefit from education.
At the same time, schools can be an excellent forum for disseminating information about the benefits of improved energy provision in the home.
In addition, learning can be supported by the availability of electricity for lighting (enabling study in the evening time), and the power for computers and the internet.


Energy is key to society’s well-being. The availability of clean energy is necessary to maintain and expand technology, to grow, distribute and cook food, to provide drinking water, to heat, cool and light our living spaces and to both maintain and expand economic prosperity. Sadly, about 1.6 billion people on the world lack access to electricity. HEDON is the leading global network for improving the livelihoods of people through access to energy while protecting the natural environment, including climate. It informs and empowers the practices of its members on household energy, by addressing knowledge gaps, facilitating partnerships and fostering information sharing.

Click on each of the boxes to find out how your support will help HEDON to make a difference.


More than half the world’s population uses open fires or traditional biomass burning stoves to cook in their homes. The smoke produced during combustion exposes household members, particularly women and small children, to unacceptably high risks of death and illness from respiratory problems, as well as less life-threatening conditions, such as headaches and respiratory and eye discomfort. According to the World Health Organisations Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) causes more than 1.6 million premature deaths each year and more than half of those deaths are children under five. Improved cooking technologies and modern fuels can reduce the levels of indoor air pollution substantially.


HEDON is home to projects and discussions related to renewable sources of energy where the need to shift towards sustainable energy systems is constantly explored and addressed. HEDON members promote the use of Sustainable, non oil based, energy sources. As the use of our oil energy reservoirs is directly linked to peak oil, by providing alternatives peak oil does not need to be as difficult as it could be by a fully oil dependent society.

As oil and fossil fuels are finite they will become harder and harder to extract and use, increasing costs and impacting the poor hardest. Eventually the energy system on which many depend on will have to change and shift to alternative renewable sources. Household energy technologies can bridge this gap preventing the poorest from suffering during a period of significant and rapid change.


HEDON members work towards securing sustainable energy sources for communities worldwide. A sustainable, reliable energy source is essential for a secure water supply. Energy is needed to move, to treat and to desalinate water.

Moving water is essential to bring it from its source to an accessible point for people to use. This is both vertical movement from the ground source to the surface, or to a storage unit, and horizontal movement from a distant source to a more populous or needed locations. A reliable source of energy is imperative to ensure people's basic need of clean, accessible water. The treatment of water too can involve an energy requirement to aerate and move the water through filtration devices ensuring it’s safe for consumption.


There are physical limits to the amount of people that can live on the planet comfortably, fairly and without fighting for resources. Global population is projected to increase by 50% by 2050 (i.e. from 6 to 9 billion people), stretching greatly the resources available to support the population. Energy will be one such resource.

HEDON members working to promote and disseminate Renewable energy and energy efficient technologies help to reduce energy demands by the population, enabling a higher standard of living and GDP to be maintained, whilst reducing the energy required for it to be maintained. Sustainable household energy technologies are one means of making this a reality in the lives of these additional billions of people.


Access to clean energy is crucial to the achievement of almost all MDGs:
- MDG 1: Poverty and hunger (fertilizers, pesticides, mechanized agriculture, food preparation and distribution)
- MDG 2: Education (light for studying, time freed from household chores)
- MDG 3: Gender (household energy is greatly related to women)
- MDG 4,5,6: Child mortality/Maternal health/ Combat diseases (indoor air pollution due to cooking with charcoal, heavy household chores)
- MDG 7: Environmental sustainability (clean, renewable, sustainable energy and energy efficiency)
- MDG 8: Global Partnership for Development (HEDON household energy community of practice)

Last edited by Christopher Hughes .
Page last modified on Monday January 7, 2013 20:57:14 GMT.
  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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