The ways in which a person can make a difference in a developing nation are seemingly endless. Peace Corps, donating, fund-raising, awareness-raising, volunteering, and on and on it goes. But one of the best ideas I’ve heard has to do with cookware.
Quality nutrition is one of the biggest problems facing any developing nation. Every year people die from malnutrition, especially children. Others go blind from things such as vitamin A deficiency – something which can be remedied quickly and easily, if caught early enough, with a single shot that lasts years (because vitamin A is stable in the human body, and thus we are able to store it). And then others suffer from iron deficiency, something many of us avoid without even realizing it every time we eat our Wheaties in the morning. This last point is where the cookware enters the picture.
It was once common for pots and pans to be made of heavy iron, but soon after the industrial revolution took hold and steel and other metals became cheap, manufacturers began putting out lighter, and often more aesthetically pleasing, cookware. One effect of this was the need for greater iron in the diets of some people because the iron from their pots was no longer making its way into their spaghetti and potatoes and whatever else they were cooking. I think the next step here is obvious: Encourage greater use of iron cookware in developing nations. Of course, there is a cost associated with this, but the great thing is that this is a long-term solution for some people. Iron pots and pans tend to last a long time, after all.
Now, this is just one idea for one issue. There are plenty of more ways to address the poverty and problems of developing nations – for instance, more infrastructure – but a good place to start is by taking a look at the Millennium Development Goals set forth by the U.N. There really is so much to be done.