In his role as an Ambassador of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and founder of World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit organization that promotes clean cooking in Haiti, Chef José Andrés advocates for clean cookstoves and fuels in regions where they are needed most. Chef Andrés began his role with the Alliance in 2011, after visiting Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. In response to the struggling communities he saw there, Chef Andrés began advocating to find solutions to issues of hunger and health in Haiti and around the world.
In 2015, Chef Andrés appeared on the television show Top Chef to host a challenge where contestants had to use clean, solar energy to prepare dishes. In an interview after the episode aired, he said:
“Through my experiences in Haiti, I’ve seen first-hand how clean cookstoves can make an impact in people’s lives. It’s what led me to also get involved in the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which is dedicated to switching 100 million people to clean, more efficient cooking by 2020.”
Haiti Breathes is one of World Central Kitchen’s main health initiatives. The program works primarily in the Port-au-Prince area of Haiti, whose population struggles frequently with health issues due to the prevalent use of charcoal cookstoves. Smoke inhalation can be deadly, and over four million people die each year around the globe from complications due to cooking with unclean solid fuels. However, through the Haiti Breathes program, WCK is doing its part to help Port-Au-Prince school cooks and students to live better, healthier lives.
Over the course of two years, WCK has converted 100 schools to clean-burning, LPG cookstoves, which significantly decrease the amount of smoke that cooks inhale on the job each day. Other schools have been converted to improved cooking stoves, which still use charcoal, but a far smaller amount. In addition to converting the school stoves, WCK brings in chefs and professionals to train the school cooks in food safety and sanitation practices to reduce the prevalence of foodborne illnesses.
WCK has made a difference by improving the health of over 600 school cooks; its efforts also affect the health of over 60,000 students each year. That number will continue to grow as WCK plans to expand its clean cookstove conversion to more schools, as well as homes in Haiti so that families can enjoy cleaner breathing air.
WCK’s work has been made possible thanks to partnering with organizations like the Alliance. WCK and the Alliance are working together to make Haiti breathe cleaner air, one clean cookstove at a time.
To learn more about what WCK is doing to help, visit their website.