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By Dan Santy Thursday 21 March 2013 Updated: 28/03 08:53
SUPERMODEL Gisele Bundchen has teamed up with a Rugby development charity to tackle the problem of toxic smoke in African homes.
The Brazilian star is pushing Bourton based Practical Action's efforts to drive down the need for people in Sub-Saharan Africa to cook on dangerous open fires inside their homes.
In developing countries, where access to energy is scarce, some three billion people cook inside on open fires - filling them with toxic smoke which kills more people in a year than malaria.
On average, two out of every three families in the region live without electricity. In Kenya just 18 per cent of homes have power.
Gisele, a UN goodwill ambassador, travelled to Kenya with Practical Action to experience the realities of energy poverty first hand.
She said: "Millions of lives are lost every year because of smoke inhalation and just as many women and children will be living in energy poverty in 20 years’ time if nothing is done. That’s not development – that’s injustice.
"But there is hope, Practical Action’s cookstoves are a very effective solution."
The charity and Gisele are working to install improved cookstoves and smoke hoods which remove up to 80 per cent of the toxic smoke produced from open fires inside homes.
It would vastly reduce the number of people dying from lung cancer and respiratory diseases, as well as reducing the number of eye infections suffered by Kenyans because of smoke.
During her visit Gisele took part in a dawn firewood collection with women in Kisumu, western Kenya.
She experienced the many hours it takes to collect the wood and then cook a simple family meal on a traditional fire.
And she visited homes were babies had to sleep next to fires giving off toxic smoke.
Practical Action works closely with communities in the developing world, providing them with the skills, tools and knowledge to overcome poverty.
Director Margaret Gardner said: "The international community recognises a number of basic rights; the right to water, the right to food, the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the right to earn a living and the right to take part in cultural life.
"Missing from this list is the right to energy. Yet, everyone needs energy to cook food, to heat the home, to earn a living, to benefit from good health and education services. Energy poverty denies people a basic standard of living, which should be available to all."
As part of their efforts, the charity filmed a video featuring Gisele in a bid to raise awareness of the problem.
Visit http://practicalaction.org/killerinthekitchen to watch the video.
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