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Haiti is the only “Least Developed Country” in the Caribbean. The least developed countries (LDCs) are a group of countries that have been classified by the UN as “least developed” in terms of their low gross national income (GNI), their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability. The majority of Haitians in urban and rural areas rely on wood and charcoal for their cooking needs. However, according to the United Nations Development Program, only 12% of the population has access to an improved cookstove, all in urban areas. Respiratory diseases associated with toxic cooking smoke from unimproved stoves and open fires kills approximately 7,000 people each year.
Of Haiti (CNP) serves the commune of Leogane, Haiti (pop: 200,000)—this includes the city of Leogane and 13 surrounding zones. The Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti focuses on mothers’ participation in the health of their children. CNP utilizes the Hearth Program, a low-cost nutritional model designed to rehabilitate moderately to severely malnourished children. The program is based on “positive deviance,” wherein the CNP looks at poor mothers who have managed to maintain the health of their children, and uses their successful recipes and behaviors to teach other mothers.
CNP saw the effects of cooking methods on the health of mothers and children and distributed EcoZoom stoves to and trained:
50+ monitrices (community mothers on staff with CNP who are training other mothers throughout the Leogane area how to raise a healthy generation of children),
400+ animitrices (volunteer mothers who assist monitrices),
Women’s group participants,
Community health committee participants, and
Graduates from their Outpatient Therapeutic Care and Supplementary Food Programs.
This project was a partnership between a national civic organization, a social enterprise and a local nonprofit. Rotary International purchased the stoves, EcoZoom provided them at a price below cost through its Z+ Program, and CNP used their local network to distribute them. This is a good example of how cross sector collaboration can provide immediate relief to people!
Photo Credit: Ric Cummings