Fighting Indoor Air Pollution in BangladeshRATIONALE
Indoor air pollution (IAP) is known to be a factor in the illness and death of millions of people annually around the world. In Bangladesh, a recent study confirms the high risks associated with poor indoor air quality resulting from traditional cooking practices, which directly affect lactating and young children and mothers responsible for cooking. Findings suggest that a significant portion of premature deaths among children under five is attributable to IAP.
The challenge of mitigating IAP is similar to that of rural sanitation, where cost is evident but the public health and other social benefits are less apparent. Impressive progress has been recently achieved in Bangladesh, though, with the Total Sanitation Campaign, which has made significant strides in rural sanitation.
Efforts to address the IAP problem need to build on experience with past programs, which produced mixed results, as well as on successes of recent initiatives in related areas using more user-friendly and demand-driven approaches. Recent initiatives by NGOs, in partnership with micro-finance institutions and private entrepreneurs, in the promotion of solar home systems, biogas and improved stoves provide good examples and models for addressing these issues.
The objectives of this Winrock International program include evaluating and identifying suitable service-delivery models for IAP-reducing programs; reviewing and documenting successful approaches to mobilize villages to become "smoke-free," with particular attention to formulating a viable strategy to integrate IAP prevention and sanitation programs; improving awareness of and commitment to IAP among stakeholder groups such as communities, NGOs, and local governments; sharing knowledge and best practices in IAP reduction among policymakers, practitioners, professionals, and national and international experts; and identifying institutional arrangements and support mechanisms to be tested in a pilot IAP project, paying particular attention to the role of local governments.
Winrock's activities will include review and evaluation of service-delivery models for adaptation to IAP-reduction programs; development of a design and institutional model for a pilot IAP program; national workshop and thematic roundtables involving key decision-makers; consolidation of IAP-reducing tools and methodologies; and awareness-raising events such as district-level workshops and exposure visits to demonstrate IAP-reduction activities.