Her story is one of millions that are an inspiration of transformation for us all: a living example of community and self-actualization.

Left to entropy, Betty was interminably marginalized. After the 10-year war in Northern Uganda that claimed the lives of thousands including her husband and close family members, Betty suddenly became a single mother of seven. As a seamstress in the rural North, Betty could barely cover the costs of charcoal to feed her family, let alone pay their school fees. Like millions of other mothers around the world confronted by insurmountable odds, humans like Betty are the birth of solutions.

Human evolution is intimately linked to fire & water, therefore we at Lifeline design and produce fuel-efficient cookstoves to navigate one of the most basic and intimate aspects of this lived experience: the act of cooking.

Introducing new technologies and/or methodologies requires skills well beyond a technical point of view. We humans are the only species on this planet who cook our food. It is no wonder that over 2 billion people still use firewood or charcoal to build the fire that sustains their lives. But this reliance on woodfuels is killing us. Deforestation, sickness and death from household air pollution, abuse from firewood collection, and loss of valuable daylight hours are just a sample of the burdens trapping billions in a cycle of poverty.

To be specific, we re-iteratively distilled these elements into our approach:

  1. The fundamental details of cooking - from cuisine type, to pot size, to traditional culinary habits  - that together inform the design process of our stove technology;
  2. Designing the market entry and distribution approaches to introduce the technology to post-conflict and developing communities; and
  3. Evaluating the “user” centric experiences to build a trusted feedback loop that we use to translate the reality of our successes AND failures into further action.

Because of this design model, since partnering with Lifeline, Betty has become one of the most successful stove vendors in her community. And Betty’s is a story we need to act on, not just reminisce about at a Sunday bar-b-que -- for humanity’s sake! Connect with me on twitter and help Lifeline co-design a world that moves from scarcity to abundance by design.