The Better Life Programme for the African Rural Woman (BLPARW) with support from the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) has launched an initiative to provide clean cooking energy to women all across Nigeria. In an event attended by over 50 women groups from various states, the women deliberated on the dangers of smoke from firewood and the need to provide access to safe cooking energy services. Better Life for the African Rural Women was founded by the former First lady, Maryam Babangida.
According to Hajiya Limota Goroso Giwa, Director of IWCC one of the women’s groups present, “smoke from firewood causes over 93,000 deaths, mostly women and children annually. It also results in deforestation. As wood resources decline, the cost of buying wood is increasing for low – income households. Poor rural family members, especially girls spend more time searching for wood. This is time that girls need for studies and empowerment activities”.
In a communiqué at the end of the event, the women pledged their readiness to partner with the Government in its quest to expand access to safe cooking energy. It resolved to develop partnership with Micro Finance Banks to aid the acquisition of cooking gas cylinders and efficient wood stoves. The Better Life for the African Rural Women pledged to create public awareness across the country on the dangers of smoke from the kitchen and ensure that cooking should not kill.
According to NIAF’s senior advisor, Amina Salihu “NIAF will support BLPARW to bring the benefits of clean cooking to women in several states. The facility will facilitate access to information, finance and ensure that clean cookstoves maintain good standards”. NIAF is a UK Government’s Department of International Development’s programme supporting Nigeria to address infrastructure barriers to economic growth and poverty reduction.
Hajiya Aisha Babangida, daughter of the former president, told the women that her organisation will initiate dialogue with the leadership and relevant committees of the National Assembly to ensure that adequate budgetary provisions are made for clean cooking energy in the 2014 appropriation.