The story of indoor air pollution, the silent killer in the homes of almost half the world’s population, is complex: from the environmental degradation, wasted time, and safety risks associated with fuel collection; to the significant health impacts caused by cooking over open fire; to the gases from burned coal and biomass that contribute to climate change – the effects of cooking on traditional cookstoves and open fires present a multilayered issue. The consequences are significant -- for the environment, livelihoods, and health, with women and children being the most impacted.

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GACC is honored to help tell the story of Sarah, Monica, and Vandana, three women whose lives – and those of their families, friends and community members – were changed for the better when they began using clean cookstoves.

Sarah lost a sister to lung cancer; Monica describes how the grease used to cover her hands and walls, and the persistent illnesses of her children; and Vandana remembers that the smoke often filled her home, causing her to cough and preventing her children from doing their schoolwork indoors.

What becomes apparent throughout each story, however, is the transformational change that one cleaner, improved cookstove has bestowed upon each woman’s day-to-day life, as well as her outlook on her family’s future.

Though they live thousands of miles apart from one another, from Kenya to Peru to India, respectively, their stories demonstrate that they share so much in common: maintaining strong bonds in the community; looking out for the health and well-being of their families; pursuing livelihood activities; and aspiring to a better future for their children.

These women can now add to their commonalities the ability to cook a meal for their family in a safer, cleaner, more efficient manner.

Alliance Global Ambassador Julia Roberts has helped us tie their stories together, painting a picture of the global solutions that are available to help tackle this global problem.

We hope you are inspired by Sarah, Monica, and Vandana’s stories, and that you’ll use them and Julia’s message to help raise awareness among your family and friends!