Empowering Afghan Families: BBS’s Mission to Combat Household Smoke in 2024

In 2024, Business for Better Society (BBS) is steadfast in its dedication to the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan, collaborating with the UN Mission in Badakhshan and the Afghan non-profit SALEHO.

Building upon the success of our 2023 initiative that concentrated on fostering healthier home environments by curbing household wood consumption and mitigating smoke inhalation, we underscore the critical health considerations in this region.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), an alarming 4.2 million people succumb to outdoor air pollution, with an additional 3.8 million deaths linked to household smoke from unclean stoves and fuels. Particularly distressing is the fact that 54,000 Afghans, mostly children under five, lose their lives annually due to the smoke generated during heating and cooking activities.

WHO ranks this issue among the most severe health risks confronting the impoverished. Over 95% of Afghanistan’s 30 million people rely on solid fuels like wood and coal in their homes, placing the nation in the top 10 countries most severely impacted by indoor pollution.

By actively addressing this pressing household issue through practical life skills, such as introducing alternative cooking methods, especially among women, we aim to make a direct impact on the overall health of families. Our comprehensive program includes follow-up visits to households, offering ongoing support to implement and overcome challenges arising after the initial workshop session.

A pivotal aspect of our commitment involves providing new, advanced breadmaking stoves to communities. These stoves, produced locally in Faizabad, significantly reduce firewood consumption and produce minimal smoke. Each unit, costing approximately US$55, has the potential to transform the lives of families in our project zone. Unfortunately, these stoves have not been widely adopted due to their cost.

Despite the challenges, there exists a window of opportunity amid the upheaval. We invite you to join us in this crucial mission by contributing to our donation drive, enabling us to expand the reach of these life-changing initiatives and make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the people in Badakhshan. Your support can help us create a healthier future for the Afghan families we serve. Donate today to a breadmaking over and be a part of the positive change in the lives of those who need it the most.

“In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

Wakhan Corridor Adult Literacy Overivew

Between 2018 and 2019, BBS partnered with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and SALEHO to deliver an adult literacy program in six villages in the Wakhan Corridor.

This remote region of Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and literacy is a top prioirty identified by the Wahki people.

The focus of our work, which was delivered by the local non-profit SALEHO, was on improving adult literacy rates through a program designed specifically for adult learners and delivered by local teachers trained on program delivery from master trainers.

The villages that participated in this program were Qazdeh, Vark, Shkharv, Kushnikhan, Worgund Payan and Worgund Bala. In total, 242 students enrolled in 12 classes with 20 students per class and 2 shifts of teaching each day. To support the literacy classes, 8 libraries were opened and local villagers trained as libarians.

Project Highlights:

  • Training of literacy teachers and Master Trainers were conducted twice (first session in Faizabad and the second in Shekharv Village of Wakhan District);
  • All the required furniture, training materials, books etc. have been provided and distributed to the students;
  • Twelve literacy classes were established;
  • The evaluation report of the students, based on the three tests, shows high knowledge of the students (70% received high achievements);
  • Regular supervision and monitoring of the classes have been done by the Project Manager and MoE teams;
  • Training on librarianship and reading promotion was conducted in July 2019;
  • Eight libraries have been established and the students, teachers and local people are benefiting;
  • The report of students’ attendance sheets shows 94% present during the months of May – June 2019.

The photos below are from the graduation ceremony in November, 2019.

The 2023 Household Smoke Initiative’s Oven Delivering and Some of the Benefactors

BBS would like to thank the following people and organisations for their generous support

Frank Gounelas
Geoff Bedford
Ioannis Exarchos
Jamshid Sultanzada
Laurie DeBoer
LBKT Farms Limited
Linda Sekura
Linsey Flannery

Maltec Leichtbautechnologie
Mark Quigley
Matin Zamani
Michael Marcus
Molly Hollihan
Natalie Osborne
Neo Performance Materials

Pauline Niebur
Peter Johnston
Peter Kruyt
Samuel Plagnard
Sara James
Scott Gillespie
Stefanos Kourelas

Sylvia Hirsche Memorial Library
Sylvia Liu
Taber Memorial Library
Tonya Tecca
Tracy Driscoll
Viva, Beijing Professional Women’s Association
Wray Armstrong

100% of donations made through BBS go to those in need.