Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

Nonprofits that make cookstoves for the global poor have not been blessed with an abundance of resources. So  you would think that the community of stovers, as they’re known, would be pleased by a big infusion of money into the sector from the US government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Nope. The National Institutes …

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Haiti is a tough place to do business. The impoverished Caribbean nation ranks 181 of 190 countries analyzed by the World Bank. The cookstove business is tough, too. No one has built a profitable cookstove company at scale, even with subsidies. So why would anyone start a business making and selling cleaner cookstoves in Haiti? For Duquesne …

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s often the only time each year–not counting graduations or weddings–when our entire family gets together; the rituals and menu have been firmly established. One of our traditions is to ask each person in turn to give thanks for the blessings in his or her life. This year, we will …

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It would appear, at first glance, to be a simple problem to solve: An estimated 3 billion of the world’s poorest people cook their meals over open fires–fires that make them sick, pollute the air and generate carbon emissions. Providing those people with efficient cookstoves improves their lives and the health of the planet. But …

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I’m often inspired by the idealism of the young. Well, Nancy Hughes, the founder of StoveTeam International, is 73, and, at an age when most people take it easy, the work she’s doing is inspirational. Hughes is the founder and unpaid leader of StoveTeam, a role she fell into after her husband died in 2001. She’d …

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Today, The Washington Post published my story about the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in its Sunday Outlook section. Clean cookstoves strike me as a classic example of a well-intentioned development intervention about which evidence of impact on a meaningful scale is lacking. I’m going to try to  draw a couple of lessons from my reporting but …

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In my last post to Nonprofit Chronicles, I wrote about longstanding efforts by governments, NGOs and companies to get cookstoves to some of the 3 billion people who prepare their food and heat their homes using smoky, open fires. The post generated some thoughtful pushback, including an email from Jacob Moss, a longtime EPA executive …

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