Among readers who responded to my article about the continuing threat of rape for refugees from the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan was Marisa Bono, a 20-year-old sophomore at Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Marisa described a management class project this year in which her team tied for first place by raising close to $2,000 to buy fuel-efficient stoves for women in Darfur.
The use of fuel-efficient stoves means that women don't have to risk walking outside the refugee camps for hours, as they often do in Darfur and in refugee camps across the border in neighboring Chad. Marisa worked with a program called Stoves for Darfur, created by a Maryland high school student named Spencer Brodsky. Since 2007, he has raised $130,000, enough to buy 4,333 stoves. His website describes his initiatives, based on the belief that one person can make a difference.
Courtesy CHF International
Spencer Brodsky works with CHF International, a non-profit group that operates development projects in 30 countries around the world. A CHF International project has been producing and distributing the stoves in one of the refugee camps -- although it is on hold for the moment because the organization was among more than a dozen groups expelled from Sudan by the government recently.
The Darfur stove was devised by Ashok Gadgil, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, working with his colleague Christina Galitsky, an environmental energy researcher. They traveled to Darfur to learn about the cooking needs and to devise a simple, cheap stove, adapted from existing Indian technology. They describe it here in a 2007 Popular Mechanics video.
The basic metal stove, for which CHF asks a $30 contribution, is 70-percent more efficient than the traditional three-stone stove used used by women in rural Sudan. So they don't have to venture out from the camps so often, and can save time and money. The stoves are now produced in Sudan, creating jobs there. It's a simple solution that Americans like Marisa Bono and Spencer Brodsky are helping to get into the hands of Darfur's women.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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