The Second Lady of Ghana and Global Ambassador for the United Nations’ Clean Cooking Alliance, Hajia Mrs. Samira Bawumia, and the Administrator of the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA), Administrator Michael Regan have embarked on a significant tour of Jamestown, a surburb of Accra, focusing on cooking methods and the sources of fuel used for cooking. This visit underscores a collaborative effort to promote clean cooking for environmental sustainability in Ghana.
Jamestown, with its rich cultural and historical significance, served as the ideal setting, reflective of a typical Ghanaian community, suitable for this important exercise. The area, known for its vibrant community, faces challenges with traditional cooking methods that often rely on less sustainable fuel sources, including charcoal, firewood and tires.
On their tour, Mrs Bawumia and Ambassador Regan interacted with local residents, gaining firsthand insights into the traditional cooking practices prevalent in Jamestown. They visited several households, including two fish smoking facilities, a kenkey house and a banku joint; observing the methods and fuels used in preserving fish and preparing meals.
In her interactions, Mrs. Bawumia stressed; “Our women go through a lot of challenges to put food on the table, and cooking is the number one challenge. A lot of the non-communicable diseases are from unclean cooking, respiratory illness, blindness and all of that, so we’re committed to helping our women to help transition from firewood and charcoal to cleaner energy sources”.
She highlighted the importance of embracing more sustainable and health-friendly cooking practices. “Our traditional cooking methods are an integral part of our culture. However, it is essential to balance this with the need for environmentally sustainable and healthy practices,” she stated.
According to the Second Lady who also doubles as a champion of the World Health Organisation’s Health and Energy Platform for Action (HEPA) government is commited to resolving the challenge associated with the cost of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and making it accessible to all.
Administrator Regan also noted that, “Everyone should have access to clean cooking. It should not matter who you are, where you live”. “And so, we are going to continue to work with the Second Lady to do everything we can to make sure that everyone has access to clean cooking”, he concluded.
The tour also included a townhall discussion on alternative cooking methods and the potential for cleaner, more sustainable and environmentally friendly fuel sources for the local population.
The visit not only highlights strong Ghana-United States relations but also reflects a shared dedication to improving public health and sustainable living practices.
Members of the delegation included the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana, Dr. Henry Kokofu; the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Ambassador Virginia Palmer; and the Chief Executive Officer of the US’ National Association for the Advancement of Coloured people (NAACP), Mr. Derrick Johnson.
At the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai in December 2023, Mrs Bawumia and Ambassador Regan engaged in a fireside conversation hosted by the Clean Cooking Alliance to discuss the impact of unclean cooking on lives, livelihoods, and the environment, as well as the role of national governments in accelerating clean cooking solutions through deliberate programs and policies.
It is on this backdrop that, Ambassador Regan and his team are in Ghana to ascertain firsthand, the traditional cooking practices prevalent in Ghana and how they can be improved upon.