EcoLogic Development Fund

EcoLogic empowers rural and indigenous peoples to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico.
Feb 17, 2016

Meeting Josefina

Josefina (right) and her fuel-efficient stove
Josefina (right) and her fuel-efficient stove

Dear Global Giving supporter,

After working at EcoLogic for a year and a half, I finally had the opportunity to visit Guatemala during an all-staff retreat in January. I’ve heard and retold the stories of so many of our fuel-efficient stove beneficiaries — but I had never seen one of EcoLogic’s stoves in real life! Because of this, I was so excited to meet Josefina on my visit to Plan Grande Quehueche, Guatemala. Josefina received her stove three years ago, and she loves it. This model keeps her family safer from burns, and she said she can cook more food on the stove at once due to the larger surface are. She recalls how smoke from her old stove used to fill the house, and is thankful that this stove is more hygienic. 

“We don’t have to take our kids to the clinic as often because of burns or because they are sick from the smoke.” When you live in a remote village like Plan Grande Quehueche, a trip to the doctor’s is not a simple journey. In Josefina’s home, an issue has been how to place a chimney in the thatched roof house (the traditional building style in this remote village) — you can’t put it through the roof without creating a risk of fire. But EcoLogic técnico Daniel Herrera developed a solution to this. You can position the chimney so that smoke exits the house through a reinforced hole in the thatched roof, which is much safer and healthier than allowing the smoke stay low in the home where people are breathing.

Fuel-efficient stoves require much less wood. Josefina’s family is using less than half the wood they used to, meaning they don’t have to carry as much, or go collect it as often — just a few pieces burn all day long. Hearing how happy Josefina is with her stove made me think of how happy all of you would be to hear that your support is creating a safer home for thousands of families like Josefina’s and reducing the impact of cooking on the nearby forests. Please give today so EcoLogic can reach our goal of working with 800 more families to install fuel-efficient stoves, for their health and the health of the forests.

Best Regards,

Alexa

Dec 17, 2015

Interviewing Kenia

Kenia by the San Lorenzo river in Honduras
Kenia by the San Lorenzo river in Honduras

“We need to protect the environment because the environment is our life... If [we] don’t, I think we will be left without water.” In her recent interview with EcoLogic Kenia reflects about her personal experience as a member of a Water Committee in rural Honduras.

In the village of San Lorenzo,  Kenia lives with her husband and two daughters.  She describes San Lorenzo as a beautiful community of about 30 families where small-scale cattle ranching and farming are the primary livelihoods.  Growing up, Kenia observed and was inspired by her parents’ strong involvement and contributions to their community. She wanted to follow in their footsteps.  Now, when there is a problem,  such as a water shortage or community disagreement, people call on Kenia.  As a community leader, she welcomes her neighbors with open arms into her home, where she does what she can to resolve the matter.  

When it comes to the community’s need for clean water, Kenia has played an active role as a member of their water committee for about 15 years, through the Association of Water Committees of the Southern Sector of Pico Bonito National Park (AJAASSPIB in Spanish), one of EcoLogic’s local partners in Honduras. Before AJAASSPIB’s involvement, Kenia says that her community struggled with a lack of organization in managing its microwatershed.  Thanks to AJAASSPIB and EcoLogic’s help and educational workshops, however, Kenia’s community has seen some very positive changes. For EcoLogic, sustainably managing a microwatershed means providing resources to help communities like San Lorenzo reforest degraded land in their microwatersheds in order to reverse damaging erosion and protect the health of the area’s brooks and springs. They now have reliable access to potable water and community members have been making their payments.  

They use the funds collected from water users to keep the microwatersheds in good condition.  According to Kenia, the people in her community understand their water situation and when they have problems, they bring them to the committee.  The committee then works with the help of AJAASSPIB to resolve them.  As Kenia proudly puts it, “Everyone has been collaborating…we resolve any problem and continue moving forward. We support each other.”      

The water committee and AJAASSPIB have been working hard introducing new fuel-efficient stoves in local homes. When asked if she has seen a reduction in firewood use and health improvements in her community since the introduction of these stoves, Kenia replied, “Of course! People, women in particular, are very happy and grateful...”  She went on to explain how, thanks to the new stoves, there are no longer dangerous levels of smoke--that can trigger serious health problems--filling homes.      

Although Kenia and her community have taken tremendous steps forward for their society and environment, there is still much work that remains.  For instance, they are currently dealing with a pine beetle infestation in and around the microwatersheds that has advanced fairly quickly and is causing harm to the trees.  Kenia says her community is worried and looks forward to finding a solution to this problem with the help of the national forestry institute (ICF) and local organizations.  

Despite the myriad of challenges Honduras and its people continue to face, one must admire Kenia’s continuously optimistic and positive tone throughout her entire interview. With every piece of good news she shares, she quickly follows it with the exclamation: “We are so happy!” or “We are so grateful!”  There is no denying the positive impact organizations like AJAASSPIB and local water committees have had not only on the environment and access to clean water, but also socially.  Workshops, meetings, and community planning have helped bring communities together under the common interest of protecting their water sources, and, as Kenia would add, their source of life.   

Woman at eco-friendly stove in El Nance, Honduras
Woman at eco-friendly stove in El Nance, Honduras
Nov 25, 2015

Making Positive Impact in Northern Guatemala

We are pleased to provide an update on the positive impact our work has had on the members of the local communities in northern Guatemala.  In the beautiful words of one of our onsite technicians Elmer Urizar:

I love being able to share knowledge with people and to bring them options that they didn’t have before. I’m motivated by knowing that what I do has a real impact on the lives of members of my community. I am able to show them that there are solutions to the problems they face, and that’s the most inspiring feeling in the world.

Thanks to our committed local staff—like Elmer—and your support, over the last year we have made a significant positive difference on local livelihoods and the health of the forest.

One of the main goals of the project is to reduce deforestation in the Nentón, Pojóm, and Ixcán river watersheds and to stop the advancement of the agricultural frontier. In working towards this objective, we led five educational workshops on how to organize and sustainably manage community microwatersheds.  In the Pacomal microwatershed we built 18 fuel-efficient stoves, reforested 12.35 acres of the Santo Domingo community, trained 12 promotors on small-scale sustainable farming techniques, trained additional forest guards, and implemented 1 new tree nursery.  In the Cambalam microwatershed we built 17 fuel efficient stoves, reforested 9.88 acres, and established 1 new tree nursery.

Under the management of natural regeneration, reforestation, and agroforest systems, to conserve and restore 74 acres.  In working towards this objective, we lead four training workshops for the 240 recipients of our stoves. We also monitored reforestation of 432.25 acres conducted in 2013-2015, to ensure tree survival. We established 12.35 acres of agroforestry systems, and about 100 acres of natural regeneration from the Yaluquel community (where work is completed by the women).  Additionally, we carried out native species reforestation in 26.68 acres. 

EcoLogic wants to thank you for your ongoing support as we continue to work hard for the future of the Guatemalan forest.

 
   

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