May 29, 2018

Clean cook stoves given warm welcome in PNG

A Suowi Ankave child inspects the new tech in town
A Suowi Ankave child inspects the new tech in town

The Indigenous Health Solutions forest-preserving, clean-cooking, health-sparing cook stoves project launched in April 2018 with great success! The initial batch of rocket stoves were brought into Ikundi, Suowi Valley, and distributed evenly among the clans. Though quite different from the traditional log fires used to cook food and provide heat in this extremely remote forest hamlet accessible only by trek or air, the rocket stoves were met with curiosity and interest. The ease of use and efficiency of the stoves proved popular features; one needs only small pieces of combustible fuel, and the heat of the stive cooks food rapidly and warms the area as well. An initial concern that the stoves may be rejected because log fires produce smoke that repels malaria-carrying mosquitos was put to rest by the mosquito nets and teaching provided along with the stoves. 

The clean cook stoves project allowed us to reconnect with the community, hear about current priorities, challenges and successes, conduct a new census, and also check in on existing projects in conservation, health, infrastructure, education, and midwifery. We were thrilled to observe the indigenous knowledge transfer about living in harmony with and seeking medicinal succor from the forest being supported by the success of the tiny bush-material school there. The health clinic and staff house erected a few years back remain in excellent condition, and a resident health worker made his probationary rotation in April, notably saving a 3 year old girl from paralysis.

However, there is still no running water in the clinic, the school, or in the bush-material birthing house constructed by the IHS-trained village midwives. Without electricity, use of the few solar lights currently available is stretched. We need your help to address these and other trials; and to maintain the community engagement and ownership of this work, which forges a path to sustainability. Please visit our website www.indigenoushealthsolutions.org to be included on our mailing list, and get more information about progress and upcoming initiatives. Please also consider another donation to this project; it would be enormously helpful to keep the momentum generated by this initial resounding success going. We are grateful for your part in introducing clean cook stoves in this very remote forest community; signing up for monthly recurrent donations is a fantastic way to support this work as well.

Until the next update from the lungs of the Earth, the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea, we wish you all the best.

First public demonstration of clean rocket stove
First public demonstration of clean rocket stove
Taking a new census of the Suowi Ankave
Taking a new census of the Suowi Ankave

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Feb 27, 2018

Progress in to protect forest and families in PNG

A Suowi Ankave girl gathering water for cooking
A Suowi Ankave girl gathering water for cooking

We are so excited that our generous donors have made our low fuel, low emissions cookstives project possible by contributing to our campaign during the end-of-year Accelerator, and by enrolling in automatic onthly donations. The campaign became such a success, that we are deep in preparations to implement this forest conservation and repsiratory health project during the month of April. 

The sole brave pilot who lands on the Ikundi airstrip deep in the mountainous forest in Suowi Valley has our project on his shcedule.  Our doctors, nurses, anthropologists, and conservation biologists are ready to bring in training and health services along with the first delivery of low emission cookstoves, solar and hygiene kits, and essential medicines via fixed wing aircraft. The midwives we trained in 2016 will be the first to learn about the rocket stoves, solar lights, and hygiene kits, including treated mosquito nets, to protect families as they sleep and eliminate the need for smoke to fill the house at night as a mosquito deterrent. The midwives in turn will be able to teach the families they serve through their midwivefery skills. 

While we can't say how the rocket soves will be received by the community at this point, we do anticipate receptivity to the new technology, based on the time saved in gathering wood, understanding of the forest conservation that will be realized by decreasing the amount of trees harvested, lowered risk of burns, and the improvement in respiratory health, particularly of women and children. As always, we will use our community participatory model to be sure the needs and concerns of the Suowi Ankave are put first in this time of change. 

Because these stoves will reduce fuel use by 30-60%, they will emit less greenhouse gas, carbon emissions, decrease black carbon emission by 50-90%, and will soften the impact on the Papua New Guinea rainforest, and all the creatures that depend upon it for life. 

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