Greetings from Myanmar, where I’ve joined government officials and others working to better understand the country’s household energy needs. Myanmar’s government included clean cooking as a priority to help address its climate goals, and they are exploring the development of a large-scale cooking energy program. One of the people I am traveling with is China’s Special Representative on Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua, as the Chinese government is interested in including cookstoves and fuels as part of its South-South cooperation efforts. This has the potential to be a significant development for clean cooking both in Myanmar and globally, and I look forward to keeping you updated on future developments.
In Kenya earlier this month, nearly 100 partners from 14 countries gathered in Nairobi for our first-ever Women’s Energy Entrepreneurship Workshop. Participants heard from speakers who are putting women’s entrepreneurship and economic opportunity at the very core of their enterprises. As part of the workshop we announced the winner of the Alliance’s first Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding female leaders in the household energy sector. The awardee was Betty Ikalany, whose inspirational story includes her work on efforts to advance clean cooking solutions in Eastern Uganda, serving as a role model and mentor for other women across her community.
It’s with women like Betty in mind that we look forward to celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. Despite tremendous progress in the sector, cooking a meal remains one of the most dangerous activities for women in developing countries. Let’s take this opportunity to remind people of the benefits clean cookstoves and fuels can provide in the lives of millions of women and girls around the world.