Dried leaf roof with roof with rainforest backgound and smoke rising

Deforestation is Sexist

Illegal logging and mining often mark the beginning of a cycle of increasing poverty in remote rainforest communities, who find themselves without the resources the forest gives.

If a girl is born into poverty, every aspect of her life is harder than her male counterpart [1]Poverty is sexist: where life is toughest for girls (Financial Times, 2016) . That’s because poverty is sexist.

For Cool Earth, women’s health and prosperity is integral to our success. Women are key in arming their communities with the tools and knowledge to protect the rainforest against the threat of loggers.

Usually in Awajún tradition women haven’t worked. Women were forgotten before. We’re trying to change our traditions little by little and move forwards.
– Balbina Paukai, President of Amarno Board, Awajún

On International Women’s Day 2017, we’re celebrating three ways that women are leading the fight against poverty and deforestation in our partnerships.

Maternal Health

In Peru, our partners have used Cool Earth funds for maternal health training. Investing in the Training and Education of women creates a cyclical process of empowerment, and nowhere is this clearer than in these remote rainforest communities.

The happiest moment of my life was when I was elected as a partner of the safe birthing programme because this is how I can help other women and children within my community.
– Gladis Delgadillo Flores, Tinkareni, Ashaninka, Peru.

Women are training other women in the vital skills needed to prevent diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea – two of the highest causes of infant mortality in the Amazon. They are helping one another flourish. They are protecting themselves, their communities and their rainforest.


woman cooking on a stove on the ground surrounded by metal pots

Woman cooking on stove in Lubutu. DRC

The high volume of wood needed to fuel traditional stoves means losing precious trees from the forest. But it also means losing precious lives. Fumes from traditional open fires kill more people than aids and malaria combined [2]Smoke: the Killer in the Kitchen (Practical Action, 2004) . As a woman’s role within the community traditionally means preparing and cooking food, the lives of women are, particularly at risk.

That’s why in our Lubutu partnership we’ve been working with families to build energy efficient stoves. Our partners have built nearly 300 stoves to date. 165 women have attended workshops about the stoves and there are 500 more families who want to join. Thanks to Cool Earth’s supporters, women’s lives will be saved. Not only that, the stoves have halved the amount of fuel wood used.


Teacher and pupil during lessons at school in Papua New Guinea

Some students studying surrounded by books in a classroom.

93% of children around the world are learning to read and write. It’s an encouraging figure but right now, 130 million girls are out of school, and many of them are in remote communities like the ones we work with. The women in our partnerships are trying to change this. Women like Balbina Paukai, who formed AMARNO, a local mothers club turned female-led jewellery business.

The success of AMARNO means the Awajún women are generating income for their communities. Income that will allow their girls to go to school.

I hope that people will continue to support my community by buying our jewellery so I can pay for my daughters’ studies.” Devora, community member, Awajún

Thanks to you, the future is looking bright for the girls in our partnerships.


1 Poverty is sexist: where life is toughest for girls (Financial Times, 2016)
2 Smoke: the Killer in the Kitchen (Practical Action, 2004)