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"The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."
-Paul Cezanne, artist

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NGO Spotlight: The Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

On Fridays, The Giving Table profiles a nonprofit organization that is doing good with food. To discover even more NGOs making a difference in our food system, browse our database by topic or state.


The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership that seeks to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.

The United Nations Foundation is the Secretariat and host for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The Alliance is an initiative supported by the UN Foundation; the UN Foundation Board of Directors has full fiduciary responsibility for all financial and in-kind resources provided directly to the Alliance.

Program Overview

Nearly 3 billion people in the developing world cook food and heat their homes with traditional cookstoves or open fires. 4 million premature deaths occur every year due to smoke exposure from these methods. Women and children are the most affected.

What is a Clean Cookstove?

Clean cooking solutions are those technologies, fuels, equipment, and practices that address the health and environmental impacts associated with traditional cookstoves.

A clean cookstove is technology and fuel neutral, seeking to advance any and all solutions that are as clean and efficient as possible and are able to reach scale. However, acknowledging that lasting change does not happen overnight, the Alliance will also actively pursue intermediate solutions that can bring about real and measurable benefits to users.

Women and children are disproportionately affected by the health risks of insufficient cookstoves. Exposure to smoke causes a range of health effects such as child pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. Women who breathe in smoke from traditional cooking practices while pregnant often experience low birth-weights in their children.

The Alliance has created a strategy for universal adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels to act as a roadmap for the sector. The Alliance developed three transformation strategies to address to establish clean cookstoves and fuels worldwide.

First, it builds awareness about the benefits of investing in clean cooking solutions by developing campaigns that will resonate with the end-user, using a combination of non-traditional media such as community theater with radio and advertising. Second, it strengthens supplies by creating a thriving global market for clean cookstoves and fuels. And third, it promotes globally recognized standards and rigorous testing protocols globally.


The Alliance is only a few years old—much younger than other NGOs in the field—but it's hit the ground running and is calling for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020. Notable accomplishments for 20110-2012 include:

  • Developed the ground-breaking sector strategy Igniting Change: A Strategy for Universal Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels.
  • Created a comprehensive ten-year strategic business plan to catalyze a thriving global market for
    clean cookstoves and fuels.
  • Developed consensus guidelines and initiated standards for cookstove efficiency, safety, and emissions through an international standardization organization (iso) process.
  • Held stakeholder consultations in 18 countries, completed detailed market assessments of the clean cookstoves and fuels sector in 16 nations, and initiated country action plans in 6 countries.
  • Raised over $29 million in total for the Alliance secretariat and its grant programs, and leveraged more than $120 million in parallel funding to spur advances in clean cooking.
  • Commissioned research in the areas of child survival, climate change, and best practices for empowering women, and awarded support for testing centers in half a dozen countries in order to build the evidence base and enable high quality solutions.
  • Developed a stove performance inventory containing data from over 600 unique tests to compare lab and field results and set credible standards.
  • Achieved a 130 percent increase in partners from one year ago, totaling more than 400 public, private, and non-profit organizations across six continents.

Get Involved

Learn more about The Alliance by reading its blog and signing up for its newsletter. Visit them on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.

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