EcoLogic Development Fund would like to thank those of you who have helped with our Construct 150 Fuel-efficient Stoves in Guatemala project highlighted on the GlobalGiving platform! We appreciate all that you have done and together we have been able to accomplish amazing things over these past couple of years.
Just last year, with your help we exceed our goal by building a total of 175 fuel-efficient stoves in three regions where we work in Guatemala! In Sarstún we built 100 fuel-efficient stoves, in Ixcán, 50, and finally in Totonicapán, we built 25. As we mentioned in our last report, we are also committed to a process of finding the best possible type of stove with the highest efficiency-rating for each community by piloting various models in different communities. In 2014, we will continue the process of testing new models and working on our monitoring and evaluation of the stoves’ benefits, fuel-efficiency, community uptake, and cultural fit.
Why is this work important?
Most rural households in Guatemala use wood as their primary source of energy for cooking, using traditional open-pit fires. According to the World Health Organization, this wastes 85 percent of generated energy and contributes greatly to indoor air pollution to the detriment of women and children who spend significant time in the home. Furthermore, the excessive use of wood negatively impacts forests that hold valuable biodiversity and regulate the flow and quality of water. Our fuel-efficient stove program enables rural people, primarily women, to construct and maintain new stoves that improve indoor air quality, take pressure off forests, and build social capital among neighbors.
This community-led stove program is a shining example of our mission and approach. Beneficiaries receive the materials and training necessary to build a stove using a participatory methodology, where stoves are jointly-constructed by women with the help of a mason. In exchange, a member of the family agrees to participate in conservation initiatives, such as planting trees or tending a tree nursery. Through this “participation commitment” the program encourages beneficiaries to give back to their community and fosters solidarity among neighbors in solving the environmental and economic challenges that face them. Since 2005, EcoLogic’s stove program has benefited over 2,500 families in Guatemala and Honduras.
So far, you have been a part of a great group of individuals who have helped us raise $7,045 towards a goal of $20,000. We have $12,955 left to raise. This amount would help an additional 77 families and we know that with your continued support we can meet this goal by the end of the year.
EcoLogic continues to work with over 75 forest guards in Guatemala to help preserve and restore the natural resources. In the past few months, EcoLogic held 4 workshops to train 75 new forest guards to protect and monitor the forest’s resources. These Guardians of the Forest not only voluntarily work to curb poaching and illegal logging activities but they also help lead the charge in working with the communities’ restoration efforts. In addition, as part of a holistic approach to forest conservation, EcoLogic held several training sessions, informing 65 women on how to successfully manage the natural regeneration of the forest. Here, it is the women who are managing and caring for the forest’s regeneration. With babies in tow, these dedicated women use machetes to thin the “old growth” which allows for the new trees to flourish. Since our last update we have been able to reforest 40 hectares (that is 99 acres!) of denuded land in 3 communities with our partner, the Mancomunidad Frontera del Norte. In addition, the forest guards have implemented fire control plans to help prevent and control forest fires.
In the past couple of months, EcoLogic worked with the peoples of La Guaira Cocoli and Nuevo Nacimiento Caliz, Guatemala to identify and prioritize present environmental needs within their communities. EcoLogic staff members used the Ten Seed Technique; a participatory activity that was created to enable illiterate community members to participate in a community-wide discussions. In turn, this activity helps EcoLogic understand and learn about the community from the perspective of its members and allows everyone (men and women) an equal opportunity to share their vision. Following the discussion, each person was given ten seeds, which they then used to vote privately on the priority level of the identified need categories. Using this strategy, community members of La Guaira Cocoli and Nuevo Nacimiento Caliz voted to prioritize conservation planning of two microwatersheds in their district.
Following the community vote, EcoLogic staff in collaboration with local partners, delimited and georeferenced the two chosen microwatersheds. Staff members worked with community elders to gather information about traditional water flow patterns as well as to identify major changes and trends associated with the two watersheds.
EcoLogic staff is currently coordinating the construction of 3D models of the two watershed areas so that community members may have a visual representation of what their watersheds look like. These models will aid community members in identifying priority areas for conservation and restoration within the watersheds and will allow for the implementation of a strategic plan to protect vital drinking water supplies.