In developing countries many women cook indoors on polluting, wood-burning stoves. The poorest women are tasked with gathering that wood. Kongi was one of these women.
For nine years Kongi spent 14 hours a day, six days a week gathering wood around Addis Ababa with her mother. Each day ended with the two women carrying sixty-five pound bundles many miles home. At 14, Kongi was forced to marry after her mother could no longer bear the work and fled the city. Kongi continued to collect firewood eight months into her first and second pregnancies. Today, Kongi uses ethanol to cook her meals and is part of the Former Women Fuelwood Carriers, a group that helps women find new livelihoods. She believes a clean, quick stove can drastically improve the lives of millions of families, just as it did hers.
Like Kongi, nearly three billion people cook on biomass stoves. 4 million people die each year from illnesses caused by cooking smoke. Women fuelwood collectors suffer a high risk of violence and rape. Project Gaia has a simple solution, alcohol fuels for clean cooking, giving women and their families a chance to live their lives.