(Photo credit: Karan Singh Rathore / Flickr)

Billions of people around the world cook over open fires or with rudimentary cookstoves.

But cutting down trees for fuel is bad for the climate. And breathing smoke can harm people’s lungs and cause other diseases. Women, who do the bulk of the cooking, are the most vulnerable.

Dawuni: “Coming from a traditional household, I know that most of the women, when they cook in the kitchen, have all the kids there. So the kids, too, are constantly being exposed to this.”

That’s Grammy-nominated recording artist Rocky Dawuni, from Ghana. As an ambassador for the Clean Cooking Alliance, he promotes stoves that use less fuel or rely on cleaner sources.

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While visiting a refugee camp on the border of Rwanda and the Congo, Dawuni learned that women gathering wood there often had to trespass on strangers’ land.

Dawuni: “Their lives were constantly being threatened because people felt like they were coming to steal stuff.”

With more efficient and cleaner cookstoves, the women needed less wood, so it was easier for them to stay safe. And seeing their lives transformed made Dawuni even more passionate about his work.

Dawuni: “We are solving these public health and environmental issues all at the same time.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.