USAID Launches Three Year Project to Support Clean Cooking Solutions

  • Posted on: 24 February 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
News: 

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced this week that it is providing seven million dollars to Chemonics for a three year project to promote the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and improve access to improved cook-stoves.  Haiti's dependence on wood-based fuels for cooking has negatively affected the environment, agriculture, and health.  If combined with economic development and national reforestation efforts, projects like this could help slow environmental degradation in Haiti.

 

US Agency for International Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 21, 2012

Public Information: 202-712-4810

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is aiming to establish a sustainable local market and industry for clean cooking solutions in Haiti, a country whose high demand for charcoal has contributed to widespread deforestation. USAID recently announced an award to Chemonics International to implement the three-year Improved Cooking Technology Project. Through close coordination with the Government of Haiti, the Haitian private sector and Haitian civil society, the project will establish a thriving local market – on both the supply and demand sides – as well as a sustainable industry for clean cooking solutions, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and more efficient biomass cookstoves.

 

The use of firewood and charcoal in Haiti by individuals and small businesses has increased pressure on local natural resources and the environment. This reliance on charcoal is a major reason why forests now cover less than 2 percent of the country. “The goal of the Improved Cooking Technology Project is to decrease Haiti's consumption of charcoal by establishing a sustainable market for clean, efficient and affordable cooking solutions,” said USAID/Haiti Mission Director Carleene H. Dei. “Without the protection of natural, wooded watersheds, Haiti's denuded hillsides leave the country vulnerable to erosion and devastating flooding.”

 

In addition to the environmental degradation caused by the inefficient production and consumption of solid fuels, the use of traditional stoves and fuels can lead to health problems as well. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves is one of the five most serious health risks facing people in poor, developing countries. Nearly 2 million people die annually from respiratory illnesses caused by inhaling smoke produced by unclean cookstoves. Women and young children are disproportionately affected, as they spend more time in proximity to the harmful smoke.

 

Urban households and food vendors also spend a considerable portion of their incomes on charcoal, which often is produced and consumed inefficiently. By promoting more efficient charcoal cookstoves and LPG, the project will help users to consume less charcoal to meet the same cooking needs and enable them to save more of their income for other purposes.  USAID's $7.2 million project in Haiti will support and develop viable for-profit businesses in the production and distribution of improved charcoal cookstoves and LPG stoves. Large charcoal consumers will be targeted for conversion to LPG. The project will target nearly 10,000 street food vendors in Port-au-Prince, along with about 800 schools, orphanages and other energy-intensive entities in and around the capital. USAID will also assist the Government of Haiti in building a legal and regulatory framework for LPG, including developing and adopting rules to ensure safety, developing appropriate licensing regimes, discouraging predatory commercial practices and encouraging investment. In addition, by promoting more efficient charcoal stoves that produce less greenhouse gases, the project will be able to earn additional revenues that will go toward reducing the costs of stoves to customers and further expanding the improved cookstove market.

 

This activity reflects USAID's support of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation. USAID is a founding partner of the Global Alliance, which seeks to encourage the adoption of 100 million clean stoves around the world by 2020. USAID's commitments to the Global Alliance focus on efforts to improve commercialization of the cookstove sector, provide stoves to displaced populations and reduce exposure to indoor air pollution. “People have cooked over open fires and dirty stoves for all of human history, but the simple fact is they are slowly killing millions of people and polluting the environment,” remarked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the launch for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. “The results of daily exposure can be devastating: Pneumonia, the number one killer of children worldwide, chronic respiratory diseases, lung cancer and a range of other health problems are the consequence. By upgrading these stoves, millions of lives could be saved and improved.”

Comments

My associate who runs a non profit company in the USA is working in Burundi, Costa Rica and Haiti on cooking stoves using fuel from a fruit product.

We look forward to learn who my associate can contact at USAID Washington DC or Haiti as well as in Chemonics or any other interested party.

Regards,
Lawrence 2404623471 USA Cell

3/28/2012
Dominican Today
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President Fernandez Monday announced the delivery of 2.0 million stoves and the same number of medium size propane gas tanks free of charge to poor homes in Haiti, aimed at substituting the use of charcoal with cooking gas. The donation forms part of the agreements signed by Haiti president Michel Martelly and Fernandez and through the recently created Bolivarian Fund. That Fund will also finance the construction of a 138 kilowatt link to Haiti’s and Dominican Republic’s national electrical grids, aimed at making the neighboring country’s energy system more efficient. Fernandez said among the projects in Haiti figure the repair of the Artibonito dam, the construction of eight hospitals in border towns, four in Jimani, Dajabon, Elias Piña and Pedernales, and four others in Malpasse, Belladere, Anse-a-Pitre and Ouanaminthe.

Baltimore Globe
BY LARRY LUXNER
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With a prayer and a speech, Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s former ambassador to the United States, has officially launched “A Dollar A Tree for Haiti Inc.” Joseph’s ambitious goal: to restore his denuded Caribbean country to the lush green state it was in back in 1804, the year Haiti declared its independence from France. Joseph unveiled the nonprofit organization from the pulpit of Greater Mount Nebo AME Church of Bowie, Md., and he did so on Jan. 12 — the third anniversary of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. At his side was Mount Nebo’s pastor, Rev. Jonathan L. Weaver, who called Joseph “an absolutely wonderful man of God, one who epitomizes integrity.” Haiti’s former ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Joseph speaks about Haiti’s deforestation at Mount Nebo African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bowie. (Erik Hoffman)
Joseph, 81, represented Haiti in Washington from 2005 to 2010, resigning that year to run for president of his quake-ravaged country. No longer in politics, the former ambassador — accompanied by his wife Lola — has vowed to devote the rest of his life to Haitian reforestation efforts. “Since August 2010, Lola and I have been living in Haiti, watching with sadness how the country is becoming a desert. Tree cover now stands at just 2 percent,” Joseph told about 50 parishioners at Mt. Nebo. “But this is the same country Christopher Columbus exclaimed was a beautiful place full of trees when he visited our shores in 1492.”
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Actually, Haiti’s tree cover is even less — more like 1.2 percent, according to Franz Stuppard, a Haitian-American advisor to Trees for the Future. Stuppard’s organization, headquartered in Silver Spring, will work hand-in-hand with Joseph’s. And that makes perfect sense, since the two men go back a long way. “The ambassador knew my father even before I was born,” Stuppard said. “When we met, he recognized my name. And now, he wants this to become his legacy. What he’s proposing to do is find funding, and we do the work. He doesn’t really plan to reinvent the wheel, just modify it.” A Dollar A Tree for Haiti seeks to raise up to $500,000 a year to plant trees, with Trees for the Future doing the actual planting. Exactly how many trees and what kind remains to be seen; Stuppard said long-term, it could be in the millions. “That sounds like a lot, but Haiti is exactly the same size as Maryland,” he pointed out. “If you drive along I-70 west going towards West Virginia, you will see mountains covered with trees. And population density doesn’t matter. New Jersey is smaller than Haiti and has many more people, yet there are a lot of trees in New Jersey.” A neighborhood in downtown Port-au-Prince lies in ruins following the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and destroyed Haiti’s capital. (Larry Luxner)
Unlike some other Haiti-related charities that surfaced after the earthquake and were later exposed as scams, turning off donors, “this is going to be a transparent, accountable organization,” said Joseph. “The website will show whatever we get and how we spend it. People will be able to work with us, because it’ll be interactive.”
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The former diplomat warned that Haiti — already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — could suffer social unrest in the wake of continued food shortages caused by natural disasters. “Whenever a hurricane comes to the Caribbean, Haiti bears the brunt of it because it has no tree protection. The United Nations said that because of Hurricane Sandy, we can expect famine later this year, since 60 percent of all the crops were destroyed. And when the people don’t eat, they rise up. Governments have fallen because of that.” Joseph said he was inspired by a local politician, André Gustave Louis, who spearheaded an initiative to plant 20,000 trees in Kenscoff, a suburb in the mountains above Port-au-Prince. “We want to plant one million trees in two years — all sorts of trees. Mango trees, avocado trees, citrus trees. We will employ botanists and agronomists to study which ones,” said the former ambassador. A Dollar A Tree for Haiti will also launch a public information campaign to promote the use of solar cookers and bakeries, decreasing the need for Haitians to cut trees down for firewood.
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Aerial view of arid mountains in northern Haiti. Less than 2% of the country’s land area is forested today. As Joseph explains it, the deforestation of Haiti began almost immediately following independence in 1804, at which time the struggling new country was home to only 400,000 people. “We got independence by beating the French on the battlefield. Former slaves rose up and beat their masters. It was the first time a slave revolt had been successful,” he said. “But by 1825, the French had organized an embargo against Haiti, together with other powers including the United States. We had to pay reparations to France in wood, and soon, lots of mahogany trees began finding their way to European homes and cathedrals. That’s how the deforestation of Haiti began in earnest.” Within 100 years, Haiti’s forest cover had declined to 60 percent, and its population began taking off. “In 1954, Hurricane Hazel tore down a lot of forest in Haiti. People started to do logging, and charcoal became big business,” he said. “That caused the trouble we have in Haiti today — a deforested country of 10 million inhabitants which will continue getting worse unless we do something.”
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A U.S. Agency for International Development study in 1997 found that deforestation costs Haiti about 30 million trees annually. Furthermore, about 15,000 acres of topsoil are washed away every year, making it more difficult for farmers to grow food. That’s why Trees for the Future, active in Haiti since 2002, has focused on planting trees to reforest degraded hillsides and produce sustainable sources of fuel, construction materials, food and biodiesel. In the last four years, the NGO has reforested large portions of the Arcadine coast north of Port-au-Prince — particularly in the Chaines de Mattheux between Cabaret and St. Marc. In late 2010, despite the devastation left by the massive earthquake that had struck in January, the program was expanded to communities further north toward Gonaïves, in partnership with the Yélé Foundation. Bre, arid mountains totally devoid of trees rise up behind a narrow fertile strip hugging the coastline in this aerial shot of northern Haiti. (Larry Luxner)
“Our staffers are former Peace Corps volunteers, people from the States who have lived overseas,” Stuppard said. “They know forestry, and that certain types of trees are ‘pioneer trees’ that will survive in any environment. The land is so degraded that you need to plant those pioneer trees first. They will rejuvenate the soil. As they grow, the leaves fall off and the soil comes back to life. The roots go down deep so that when it rains, the soil doesn’t run off. After six months to a year, when those trees are growing well, then you can introduce fruit trees.”
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In 2011 alone, Trees for the Future worked with more than 1,000 farmers in 17 communities to plant one million trees; this includes a program in Medor in partnership with Our Lady Queen of Peace, a Catholic church in Arlington, Va. The organization is also active in Central America, Africa and Asia — planting coffee, maple, pine and cedar trees in dozens of countries worldwide. Joseph said his group is targeting the Haitian diaspora, which is four million strong and scattered throughout the world, but mainly in the United States, Canada, France and the Dominican Republic. Andre Gustave Louis, a Haitian lawmaker and pastor from Kenscoff, holds up a polo shirt as part of fundraising efforts to plant trees in Haiti at Mount Nebo African Episcopal Church. (Erik Hoffman) “In the U.S. alone, there are two million Haitians, and we’re trying to appeal to them,” Joseph said. “I believe that when they see an organization that is very transparent and accountable, they’ll come through.” Bernice Fidelia, the liaison for diaspora affairs in the government of Haitian President Michel Martelly, said A Dollar A Tree for Haiti is exactly the kind of program Haiti needs at this time. “This program, combined with our Keep Haiti Green and Beautiful, is a great endeavor,” she said by phone from Miami. “I will do all that is necessary to support this program because this is a project that is very dear to the president.”

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