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Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools

by Fundacion CEDESOL
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Clean Cook-Stoves for Rural Bolivian Schools
Torotoro kids
Torotoro kids

Hi dear friends!

This is a report of two field trips:

-April 2016

During the first trimester of 2016 we were working with Pedro Dominguez who is a masters student doing credit work, under CEDESOL supervision, with Arizona State University. He has taken the information and profiles gather by Wendy and Caroline (ex CEDESOL's volunteers) and based on the results of these surveys, has developed a Modular Educational Program draft for the schools, that covers different topics such as health, nutrition, environment, etc.

After a difficulties in establishing a meeting date with Toro Toro Mayor for signing the new Contract with the modifications, in April 2016 CEDESOL traveled again to Toro Toro and there the Mayor, promised to introduce the new agreement to the Council for approval and signature. 

Continuing with the planned activities, the team this time composed of:

 

  • David Whitfield – CEDESOL’s President
  • Guadalupe Torrico - Training and demonstration Coordinator
  • Pedro Dominguez - Masters student doing credit work, under CEDESOL supervision, with Arizona State University.

 

The team visited 6 schools and touched base with the teachers and school directors, informing them about the project and its latest developments. Some of the schools were ones CEDESOL had not visited before, so it was important to give them information about the project. Some schools did not know about the project, nor knew we were coming, so we caught them by surprise.

 

In Toro Toro, before visiting the schools, we met with the mayor of Toro Toro and also gave to him our Project Plan. He said that if there is no adequate space for the stoves, then they will be exposed to rain, wind, and quickly go into disrepair. Other clean-cooking projects have failed because of this and he doesn’t want it to happen again. Before we left, we didn’t make clear who would provide the roofs/cooking space, either us or the municipality. However, we agreed to collaborate with each other to make a solution for this. He said that he would present the project to the council and see if they approve of it for the collective agreement.

 

Toro Toro is a very complicated region, primarily because of the rugged mountains that make life very hard. However, for the people who live there, they deal with the difficult realities and slow progress. It seems that under Evo Morales, there have been improvements in the region in projects that aim to eradicate extreme poverty which is widespread in the Toro Toro mountains.

 

The projects that we see announced on billboards are for water, solar lighting, school facilities. Transportation in the region is another obstacle, as the unpaved roads suffer frequent landslides. There are few vehicles in the region because of this, as they surely would lose tires, so people have no options for transportation except for walking up/down the steep mountains on small paths. Some places have no water, telephone service, or even electricity/lights. People live in small houses and tend to agriculture and raising livestock. Students have to walk to school, sometimes everyday, depending on the school.

 

The “internados” are schools where students can sleep, like a boarding school (Pic.14). The cooking situation in the schools is very hard too, since all cooking is done with firewood that has to be collected. The “stoves” are either stone pits or “malenas”, clay-formed structures that hold pots over a fire.  Cooking is slow, inefficient, and produces lots of smoke. Normally the parents take turns cooking, but sometimes they are late because of whatever reason, and the students can’t eat.

 

The teachers and directors generally are supportive of our project mainly because we are aiming to involve the parents, teachers, and students for their participation. David mentioned that we want them to feel like it is their project, instead of us giving them stoves and then leaving them, which makes this project unique for them.

 

The project will last at least 2 years, where CEDESOL will return periodically to each school for trainings, monitoring, and evaluation of use of stoves. The teachers also like the ideas about renewable energies and the educational material, especially photos and videos. They said they would support the project, especially with the 2 major themes about health and environment that are useful in their classes.

 

Having the feeling of heart warming because one of the biggest challenge were executed, CEDESOL team proceeded to return to Cochabamba. That feeling remained frustrated the day we received the news that the Council had not accepted the signing of the agreement that the mayor had presented, because the economical funds as a Municipality counterpart had been used in other activities. Searching solutions, CEDESOL modified the Memorandum of understanding once again, excluding the Municipality of the counterpart that had initially committed 

 

Continuing our activities in this Project, and after experimented that the teachers expressed how they lacked audio-visual materials, CEDESOL demonstrated the 3 DVDs at each school along with the educational printed material and teaching guides.

 

We shared this info with some of the teachers and the Director of Education, and received their feedback. The didactical material is being revised taking into consideration their feedback.

 

The project has been stuck due to lack of signing the agreement, now CEDESOL has agreed to cover the costs that the Municipality had to cover.

 

-August 2016

This time the team was composed of: 

  • David Whitfield – CEDESOL’s President
  • Cloe Cole - Volunteer Imperial College London- UK
  • Amanda Farnan - Volunteer American University- United States
  • Evan Morgan- Volunteer Dartmouth University- United States

CEDESOL's team travelled to Toro Toro for the final signing of the Contract for Schools. We left at 6am to allow plenty of time for the journey but ended up making fantastic time thanks to all the new roads and construction work completed in the last 4 years. We passed houses with solar panels and tanks for collecting rain water, although the effects of deforestation could be seen clearly on the hills as the trees were sparse. We also passed schools we intend to work with during the project and groups of students travelling on foot.

When we arrived we visited a women’s centre where they use traditional dying and weaving techniques to make high quality aguayos, bracelets, blankets and bags. We took photos for the crowd-funding campaign as ideas for gifts to send donors. Buying traditionally made goods would provide support for local businesses, so they would ideally be bought from women working near the schools we work with. We took some posters for … away too that were sitting on the table. As we passed the old municipality building we could see it was being entirely reconstructed, although work seemed to be progressing very fast.

Before the meeting we went for a sandwich at a small café, where we talked to the owner about the difficulties of installing electricity in his 1901 building. He was well connected with a cable television but told us he was unable to have WiFi for customers since losing his phone. There was a single internet hotspot in the town, to which he could connect with his phone and make a local hotspot for the restaurant. The owner also expressed an interest in our stoves and said he had heard of solar cookers used in Cochabamba; how they make tastier chicken because the meat doesn’t get dried out. Before we left, David promised to return to talk more about the solar stoves when we were back in Toro Toro.

At 11am we met with the Alcalde Eliodoro Uriona Pardo in his temporary offices. Also present was Prof. Hugo Garcia Sanchez, Director of Education in Toro Toro, and Efrain Zurita Escobar, President of the Toro Toro Municipality. Deforestation was brought up as an issue and after some discussion about how the stoves worked and how they would be constructed, it was decided that the first phase of the project should go ahead, with the next phase dependent on these results. The report was then signed by the Alcalde, Director, Presidente and David.

After the report was signed there were some (very) fond goodbyes and we went on our way, having finally sealed the deal after a three year wait!

On the way home we passed a woman carrying a heavy "aguayo" (local type of bag) full of wood, which served as a reminder of why the day’s success really mattered.

Narrow roads
Narrow roads
"Koncha" Traditional stove
"Koncha" Traditional stove
Meeting with teachers
Meeting with teachers
Palla Palla community students- Torotoro
Palla Palla community students- Torotoro
Signing the Contract with authorities
Signing the Contract with authorities
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A man from one community carrying his fuel
A man from one community carrying his fuel

Hi,

Thank you so much for sharing your love and resources with the children and communities we are serving in Toro Toro. It means so much to them and you are helping them achieve a better quality of life.

I know it’s been a while since I provided you with an update on our Clean Stoves project and though you might appreciate getting filled in on our latest activities.

In July of 2015 a CEDESOL team traveled to Toro Toro to visit with the new Mayor and the new Educational Director, have a better understanding of the project needs and challenges from the stand point of the teachers and students for the educational component and to begin the field test to help establish a project baseline so that we can compare the results after installing the new stoves and actually measure the benefits we have achieved with your help.

 The team was composed of:

  • Guadalupe Torrico - Training and demonstration Coordinator -
  • Ing. Juan Victor Villarroel – Driver and experienced with Toro Toro area
  • Pierre Poirier - French Volunteer – Completing a credit course supervised by CEDESOL, with ECAM Graduate School of Engineering Lyon France
  • Wendy Roldan - USA Volunteer – Northwestern University – Chicago Il.
  • Caroline Olsen - USA Volunteer – Northwestern University – Chicago Il

The team spent the weekend in Toro Toro, taking advantage of an agricultural fair and at the invitation of the Mayor, put up a booth to demonstrate the ecological cookers that would be installed in the schools.

On Monday they met with the Mayor and he and Guadalupe our team leader agreed to modifications to our original project plan. The Mayor felt that it was wiser to include less schools, since some of the schools we had planned to cover were not accessible by roads and could present excessive logistical problems at the beginning of the project.

The Mayor also determined that the boarding housing should be counted as separate units from the schools themselves since they prepare and serve meals completely independent of the school lunch program. Students that have to walk to school from over 2 hours away are housed in the boarding schools Monday through Friday afternoon. Then they walk home and return on Monday morning.

The new plan also takes into account a better understanding of the distances between the schools and the municipal capital, the logistics of doing the field-tests, stove installations, surveys and executing the environmental training at each school.

In consensus with the Mayor and telephone consultations with David Whitfield, it was determined that 11 schools would take part in the first phase of the program, and that 7 additional boarding units would be counted. This means that you will be helping supply 18 institutional stoves with 80 liter pots and 18 normal sized 2 burner rocket stoves. Both stove sizes have chimneys to evacuate the smoke from the cooking areas.

The Mayor insisted that the stoves be housed in appropriate and adequate structures to assure their security and that the cooking could be done in cleaner conditions. To this end he offered to acquire the construction materials from different organizations and would require the villagers to provide the labor and adobe bricks necessary to build the structures.

Here is a link so that you can access the whole revised project and understand more of the details and see the costs involved. http://cedesol.org/Toro_Toro/Toro-Toro-englishproject-3-29.pdf

With a new picture of what was ahead, the team set out to begin the surveys and tests as planned.

After measuring fuel and surveying in the first schools, and spending the night in one of them, the team was moving to another area when a series of flat tires from thick thorns and sharp rocks stranded them beside the road for the night at an altitude of around 3,000 meters. Having experience with rural Bolivia we always carry 2 spare tires on our trips and a portable air compressor, but this time even that was not enough.

Using rustic tools, they were able to unmounts part of one tire and at the suggestion of a campesino, used wet gobs of toilet paper and water to seal some small holes and the compressor to refill the tire. This happened to them twice and then on the way out of town they had two tires go down causing them to leave the Expedition in the care of a townsperson while they returned by bus until we could buy some used tires and send out to be mounted in Toro Toro and bring the truck home to Cochabamba.

I bet you know what it’s like when everything does not go according to planned. Can you imagine how it is here for us?

 Recently we entered into an agreement with an optometrist group who will come in with testing equipment, measure the student’s eyes for glasses and provide the glasses at a reduced cost.  We plan to “piggyback” this as much as possible for transportation and other logistics but may look for separate funds to help cover some the cost to the students for glasses, once we have a better understanding of what that will mean.

During the last 3 months we have been working with Pedro Dominguez who is a masters student doing credit work under CEDESOL supervision with Arizona State University. He has taken the information and profiles gather by Wendy and Caroline and with CEDESOL’s team, developed the educational modules for the schools.

The teachers expressed how they lacked audio-visual materials so we are packing 2 DVDs for each school along with the printed material and teaching guides. We expect to share this info with some of the teachers and the Director of Education on our next trip this coming week.

We are excited that we will be presenting the revised project with a new Memorandum of Understanding to the Mayor and that we will be able to get feed back from the teachers before finalizing the educational components.

But we need your help and participation more than ever now, so that we can begin to have the stoves manufactured, schedule delivery to Toro Toro, and keep a team in the rural area for two weeks (programmed for May) to do the baseline and field-test studies before the stoves are installed.

Be sure to look the project over at the link above and if you have any questions or ideas that you want to share, please reach out directly to me at david@cedesol.org.

We are so grateful for your participation because none of this could be possible if you were not on board as much as you are.

 

Warmly

The CEDESOL Team

School lunche being  prepared in Tambo Kasa
School lunche being prepared in Tambo Kasa
A series of flat tires stranded the team.
A series of flat tires stranded the team.
Children in Tunasari School
Children in Tunasari School
Caroline interviewing a teacher in Vacaqueria
Caroline interviewing a teacher in Vacaqueria
Wendy interviews students in Yambata
Wendy interviews students in Yambata
Pierre preparing to weigh wood for the field test.
Pierre preparing to weigh wood for the field test.
Students in Yambata
Students in Yambata
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Toro Toro turn off
Toro Toro turn off

In March of this year a CEDESOL team traveled to Toro Toro to complete an onsite visit, have a better understanding of the project needs and challenges as well as meet and socialize the project with the local authorities.

The team was composed of

  • David Whitfield - then Executive director
  • Guadelupe Torrico - Training and demonstration Coordinator
  • Ing. Paola Arce - Projects Coordinator
  • Rebecca Werner - Canadian Volunteer
  • Daniel Sabaton - French Volunteer

We also took Paola`s 2 children Nicholas and Natalie.  Paola is a single mother and usually has to stay in town because of her responsibilities to their children, so it was a special time for all of us that they all could participate.

After four and a half hours of traveling we arrived in the municipal capital of Toro Toro.  We first located the District Director of schools, Prof. Pedro Gimenez and spent an hour reviewing our information and the project specifics.  He agreed to accompany us and guide us to the schools since we did not even have a map as to where the schools are.  To this date, we have not located a map.  That is how remote the area we are working in is.

The first school we visited was approximately 2 hours from Toro Toro over winding dirt roads and mountainous terrain.  Fog was constantly closing in our visibility and we traveled to heights over 4 thousand meters above sea level before finally arriving at Yambata.

 

We met with the schools director and the teachers discussing the project, their cooking conditions, boarding house issues, fuel sources etc.  The school staff manifested their desire and agreement to participate.  We then returned to Toro Toro.

From Toro Toro, we traveled south for almost 2.5 hours, got stuck in the mud once and arrived at Carasi. We spent the night in the school, met with the staff, got to see some of the village and after breakfast left early for Tambo Kása and after that Pocosuco.

Late in the afternoon we returned to Toro Toro, met with Pedro Juchasara, the Mayor's Secretary General. With Prof. Pedro’s help we explained the project, asked for support from the municipality and discussed developing a memorandum of understanding. 

We got bact to Cochabamba after midnight and unloaded the car.

Over the next weeks we developed the "Convenio" with back and forth communications from the mayor`s office. Sent them printed copies and PowerPoint’s which they shared with their city council, and the city council approved the project.

Unfortunately for our project timing, the current mayor did not sign the agreement before the new mayor took over and we have to do that part of the process all over again.

A man in Toro Toro
A man in Toro Toro
Girl on the road to Yambata
Girl on the road to Yambata
View of the school - but they cook outside
View of the school - but they cook outside
Their cooking area
Their cooking area
Road back to Toro Toro
Road back to Toro Toro
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tThe countryside and roads to travel
tThe countryside and roads to travel

Toro Toro is a municipality located in the North West side of the Potosi department. At the present days is one of the most important National Parks of Bolivia due to its importance of Paleontology and Caving studies. Therefore it’s also considered one of the most important tourist attractions in Bolivia by the wide variety of dinosaur footprints throughout the region and other natural attractions. It is located 4 hours from the city of Cochabamba by bus.

Due to the distance and the physical characteristics of the region, many families use firewood for food preparation, because the LPG gas has a higher price of $ 7 bottle of 10 kilos (regular price is $ 3). Schools are no exception, so the boys / girls and parents have the task of acquiring firewood for school food preparation and teachers in many cases are those who prepare meals in the traditional stove being exposed to smoke. It's a daily activity until the school year ends.

We received our first disbursement from GlobalGiving by the last days of January and were able to officially begin our project then. Since some time had passed from when we wrote the project it was necessary to check in with the local authorities and reconfirm and modify information and important changes we might not have been aware of.

In Bolivia, the school year begins in February and ends at the end of November.  In February of this year we also celebrated Carnival. Traditionally in the rural areas, the children do not return to classes until after Carnival and so it was mid February before we were able to renew contact with Professor Pedro Gimenez, who is the District School Director for the municipality of Toro Toro, which as mentioned above is in the department (state) of Potosi.

Mr. Gimenez was pleased to know that we had begun to receive financing for the clean stove and environmental education project and asked us to visit the area so that we could work out the details in person.

We have scheduled :

  • a 2 to 3 day trip to meet with Professor Gimenez for the first week of March.
  • Are reviewing the project and looking for areas that we may need to revise to meet current local conditions.
  • Are preparing a written agreement as a draft agreement, which we intend to execute with Professor Gimenez, community representatives and someone from the Municipal government. (That will insure that enough parties are involved and in agreement on what we intend to do so that beyond the Director we also have collaboration for the student’s families and local authorities.)

During this trip we expect to acquire a map with secondary roads designated, and know the locations of all the communities and schools where we will be executing the project. This information is not publicly available in Bolivia. We will also interview one or more local authority so that they can participate as possible in the project.

 

Once we have this information we will be able to polish our time table and begin the base line study. Once we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Director, he will be able to help us establish a schedule to visit each school and do the surveys and field tests.

In Bolivia it is important to work with all the people involved at every decision stage in order to insure their collaboration.

Toro Toro campesino collecting firewood
Toro Toro campesino collecting firewood
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Organization Information

Fundacion CEDESOL

Location: Cochabamba - Bolivia
Website:
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Fundacion CEDESOL
David Whitfield
Project Leader:
David Whitfield
Cochabamba, Cochabamba Bolivia

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