Social and Economic Impact of the Fund


The effects of community dependence on open, three-stone fires for cooking and lack of access to clean water is a major problem throughout Africa. The open fire cooking method generates harmful household air pollution which seriously impacts the cardio – respiratory health of rural families, causes miscarriage and eye disease such as trichoma and is responsible for high rates of burns injuries in women and children.

Rural communities throughout East Africa are severely impacted by water–borne infection and disease caused by consumption of contaminated water. Children are especially vulnerable, with poor access to safe drinking water being a primary contributing factor to diarrhoea, which accounts for over 70,000 child deaths in Ethiopia each year (UNICEF, 2022).

Repeated bouts of diarrhoea also reduce nutrient absorption and dietary intake, contributing to malnutrition. The prevalence of acute malnutrition is significantly higher among children from households whose members need to travel long distances to fetch water, and who have poor access to sanitation facilities.


Women and children (usually girls) carry the burden of gathering the wood and collecting water which often involves arduous and time-consuming journeys daily. The impacts on quality of life and livelihoods are detrimental and plays a major role in preventing an exit from poverty for rural households. This is particularly true in the case of school absenteeism for children, especially girls, due to gathering wood duties and sickness, which further increases the gender gap.

Availability of clean water to as close to the household as possible and access to improved cookstoves could save women and girls an enormous amount of time that they can use to advance their lives and to enjoy their childhood respectively.

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