Ashden: sustainable energy for women should be top priority

Photo credit: Chhavi Sharma/Ashden
By Anders Lorenzen

Volts for Women a campaign by the UK charity Ashden, earmarked sustainable energy for girls and women as critical for the development in developing countries and eradicating poverty.

This week women sustainable energy leaders gathered in London for the Ashden Awards and Conference.

According to the World Health Organisation, every year 4.3 million die prematurely from the results of indoor air pollution, the majority of it from inhaling cooking smoke. Women and girls in the developing world are worst affected, as typically they are the ones who carry the burden of the household chores such as collecting wood, cooking and working in the home.

On Tuesday at the Royal Society, London, Ashden held its yearly conference featuring some of this years finalists competing at this years Ashden Awards held on Thursday eve.

The eradication of the polluting and dangerous kerosene lamp continues to be of high focus for the charity and this this year was no exception. Kerosene lamps  give off poisonous fumes that damage lungs, as well as causing lethal fires and making it impossible to study or work after sunset. Last year the charity SolarAid picked up the International Gold Award for their work on eradicating kerosene through solar lamps.

Coinciding for the conference Ashden is running a social media campaign with the hashtag #Volts4Women in which organisations took part in a mass tweet in a move to promote the issue of access to energy for women.

Ashden Founder Director, Sarah Butler-Sloss said: “In the 21st century, providing food and light for your family shouldn’t mean gambling with your life. Lack of clean energy is an incredibly debilitating problem for women, but it is a slow one to manifest itself, with no big event or disaster to draw people’s attention or capture imaginations. That’s why we decided to launch our Volts4Women campaign. We want the world to know how important this is.”

A Cambodian company that’s turning coconut shells into charcoal and thereby easing deforestation and a social enterprise which is bringing energy into the poor rural farming community in Myanmar for the first time, were amongst some of the Ashden finalists who spoke at Tuesday’s conference.

A fifth of the world’s population currently live without access to electricity.

Sub edited by Charlotte Paton

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