The Paradigm Project, a low-profit, limited liability company whose mission is to create sustainable economic, social and environmental value within developing world communities, will lead a group of supporters on an 10-day ‘Woodwalk’ from San Diego to Los Angeles beginning October 4, 2011 in honor of the hundreds of millions of women that are still cooking over an open fire in order to survive.
Open-fire cooking may sound like a fun camping experience to some, but the reality for women in places like Kenya is far from the warm and fuzzy memories of roasting marshmallows. In some cases, these women walk 10-15 miles and spend over 30 hours a week collecting wood for their families. The inefficient and destructive open fire cooking forces them to collect wood every few days, compromising their safety and health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), they expose themselves to smoke equivalent to that of 40 cigarettes a day just to cook.
The WHO has also estimated that harmful cook stove smoke is the fourth worst overall health risk factor in developing countries behind malnutrition, unsafe sex and lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Each year, nearly two million women and children die from lower respiratory illnesses that are caused by cooking over an open fire. And surprisingly, indoor cooking smoke is the number 1 killer of children under the age of 5 (that’s ahead of AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and water-borne diseases). In addition, the destruction of natural resources is immeasurable.
This symbolic and arduous 10-day journey will begin near Sea World in San Diego on October 4 and end in Los Angeles on October 13 at Space 15 Twenty, bringing to life the difficult realities women face from cooking all over the world.
The Paradigm Project, along with organizations such as Invisible Children, People of the Second Chance and The Modern Gypsies (winners of ABC’s Expedition Impossible), will bring the experience of everyday ‘wood walkers’ to the front doors of the Southern California community by carrying 40-60 pound bundles of wood on their backs 8 hours a day to raise awareness about the issue and what The Paradigm Project is doing to change it.
At the end of the walk, The Paradigm Project will construct a “Kenyan cooking experience” complete with a Kenyan hut and a traditional three-stone, open-fire stove inside, to showcase to passersby and visitors the dire need for the fuel-efficient cook stoves The Paradigm Project has been implementing in Kenya.
The Paradigm Project has made it their mission to create a compelling experience with the ‘Woodwalk,’ while engaging the local community to take action and assist in raising funds as the organization develops their work in East Africa. With these necessary elements, The Paradigm Project hopes to end open fire cooking for 25 million people by implementing more than five million fuel-efficient rocket stoves before 2020.
To learn more about The Paradigm Project, visit www.theparadigmproject.org.