According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a person dies every 20 seconds due to diseases related to smoke from cooking fires. The impact on health and livelihoods is no less dramatic in Timor-Leste, where the vast majority of the island's households cook on open fires. This impact falls disproportionately on women and children.
A Cooking Practices study commissioned by Mercy Corps in Timor-Leste indicated that the average Timorese woman spends 3.5 hours per day cooking. For the majority of these women who are cooking on fuel-inefficient open fires, they also spend 6 hours per week collecting wood.
The goal of the Cookstove Initiative is to promote the use of cookstove technology that reduces biomass consumption and carbon emissions. By using this clean cooking technology, the health of women and children will improve. And the time that women would otherwise have spent looking for wood can be put toward education or business pursuits.
According to GTD CEO Michelle Pinkowski, "GTD is promoting enterprise development along the cookstove value chain based on our belief that a market-based approach is the best way to disseminate technology to developing communities. We see great opportunities to create jobs and develop small businesses in Timor-Leste using alternative energy products."