800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala

by EcoLogic Development Fund
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800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
800 Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Heidi visiting with one of the families
Heidi visiting with one of the families

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

Thank you for your incredible generosity, without which this work would not be possible.

We’ve made a lot of progress over the last few months, since my last update. We delivered 36 fuel-efficient Chispa stoves to the communities of San Juan and Barra Sarstun in the Sarstun Multiple Use Area in Livingston, Guatemala. We will be conducting workshops on their use and maintenance this week!

For the joint project between the Municipality of Totonicapán and EcoLogic, we have carried out 100 socioeconomic diagnoses in different communities of the Municipality. The next step this month is the delivery of materials to each community and a second home visit to supervise the construction of the 100 fuel-efficient stoves.

We have been working with Heidi, a graduate student from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala, to implement some of the stoves and preliminary analysis. She notes: 

“In my experience during home visits to potential beneficiaries, I can really see the interest from families and the willingness to collaborate with the project by contributing their local materials toward the process (block, sand, clay).”

She adds: “After the formal delivery of the stove and recommendations for its use, you can witness the joy of each family in using their fuel-efficient stove. You can see the satisfaction and gratitude toward the organization and the people who make this change possible for the better in their home.”

We received a special request from the Office for the Defense of Indigenous Women in Totonicapán. They requested a fuel-efficient stove for a single mother who has been a victim of domestic violence. She lives with her four children in a very small space, where the same area she uses to sleep is the one she uses to cook. We will be working with them to build a stove that will reduce the smoke and pollution inside their small home, making it safer for all.

Stay tuned for more updates! I look forward to sharing our progress and the impact your support is having. We are deeply grateful.

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Program Officer

Recently constructed stove in Totonicapan
Recently constructed stove in Totonicapan
Cooking area in home before fuel-efficient stove
Cooking area in home before fuel-efficient stove
Delivery of 36 Chispa stoves
Delivery of 36 Chispa stoves
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Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I am so grateful to you for your commitment and support! Thank you. I wanted to provide an update on our work with fuel-efficient stoves in Totonicapan. Since my last update, we have completed 30 and are working on another 80!

We have been working with Heidi, a graduate student from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala, to implement some of the stoves and preliminary analysis. She notes of the process in the community of Pasajoc:

“The beneficiary families currently cook on the ground making use of blocks, stones, and pieces of iron to support their cooking utensils. This translates into excessive use of firewood, heavy economic expenses for the families, burning accidents--especially in children, and health problems due to the effect of smoke, ash, and dust.

The beneficiary families were pre-selected by the community authorities of the Canton  Pasajoc. Subsequently, home visits were carried out to determine the needs presented by the families. The visits to the families were coordinated and accompanied by the community authorities. With each family, we conducted direct dialogue and completed a survey sheet to respond correctly to the need and context. Many of the women reported frequent headaches and eye inflammation from the smoke.

The use of a wood-saving stove will contribute greatly to the families, mainly in reducing firewood. If the use of firewood is reduced, the felling of trees also reduces, favoring the conservation of the communal forest and its water springs. Through the implementation of the project, accompanied by a training process, a degree of awareness in relation to the care and conservation of the environment is also achieved with the beneficiary families.”

We also recently launched the reforestation campaign in Totonicapan. From May to September, over 120,000 seedlings will be planted in degraded areas of the forest by community groups and village committees.

Thank you so very much for your support! We truly could not do it without you. I work with these communities day in and day out. I know how much they appreciate the positive impact you are making in their lives and on their forests through your support of EcoLogic. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch with me at mdeleon@ecologic.org.

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Program Officer, Guatemala

Cooking before a fuel-efficient stove
Cooking before a fuel-efficient stove
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Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

First of all, I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying healthy! 

Thank you so much for your support of our project. I am delighted to report that after having to slow down a bit on stove construction during the height of curfews and restrictions due to the pandemic, we were able to complete 51 stoves in Totonicapán from October-December 2020 and we have another 30 underway.

In my last update, I shared that two of the communities where we work, Chiyax and Chuixchimal, had started a process of raising awareness among their inhabitants about protective measures against the virus, such as the correct use of face masks, hand-washing, and social distancing. This has allowed our staff to work safely to continue the stove-building process.

I visited the project last week and have a message from Doña Juana, who wanted me to pass it along to you. She says, “I am very grateful. Thank you for your support. This is where I cook now. God bless you, wherever you are and wherever you go.” Thank you, indeed! You make everything we do possible. I am also including a few more pictures from the process over the last few months.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the incredible change you are making possible in peoples’ lives, their health, their livelihoods, and their forests. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Program Officer, Guatemala

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Old way of cooking with open flame
Old way of cooking with open flame

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

First of all, I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying healthy! 

Thank you so much for your support of our project. As I wrote to you in my last update, in March, the government of Guatemala restricted all kinds of social and organizational activities due to the entry of COVID 19 into the country. Our partner organization in Totonicapán, 48 Cantons, also began to restrict access to each of the communities to protect the population.

At that time, two of the communities where we work, Chiyax and Chuixchimal, began a process of raising awareness among their inhabitants about protective measures against the virus, such as the correct use of the face mask, hand-washing, and keeping social distancing. 

More recently, in the month of September, restrictions were reduced and we were able to move forward with the process of preparing socioeconomic baselines to identify the beneficiaries of new fuel-efficient stoves. Currently, 34 households from the two communities have been selected. Each one will contribute local materials as part of their in-kind investment (21 blocks, 2 sacks of ground clay, 2 sacks of sand, and labor to help with construction). Today we will deliver the materials for the 34 stoves, including the metal stove-top and chimney. Families are collecting local materials and we expect construction will begin in mid-October.

I recently spoke with Doña Hilda, from the community of Chuixchimal. She is a single mother and has the dream that with her new stove she can reduce her need for firewood and use those savings to buy food for the nutrition of her children and to invest in their education.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the incredible change you are making possible in peoples’ lives, their health, their livelihoods, and their forests. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Program Officer


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    Dona Maria and her granddaughter make tortillas
    Dona Maria and her granddaughter make tortillas

    Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

    The world has certainly changed since the last time I was in touch with you in November! 

    I hope you and your loved ones have been able to stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times! Just like in most countries around the world, in Guatemala, we are feeling the effects of COVID-19. Since late March, we have been on orders to stay at home and practice social distancing. Our priority is to keep our staff and communities protected. So far, the number of Coronavirus cases in my country have remained relatively low and have concentrated mostly in urban centers. But the more isolated and rural communities where we work remain vigilant, following safety protocols, and keeping outsiders from coming into their villages.

    Of course, our work hasn’t stopped over that time. It has taken creativity, adaptability, and flexibility, but we continue to be there for our local partner organizations and communities in the safest way possible. 

    I thought you might find his OpEd of interest. The Clean Cooking Alliance highlights how people exposed to air pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19, including those exposed to indoor air pollution in homes where open fires are used for cooking and heating. Access to cleaner cooking approaches provides another line of defense for already-vulnerable populations.

    Over the last few months we have conducted several follow-up visits and calls to the households in the remote community of Nuevo Nacimiento Cáliz in the Sarstun Multiple Use Zone in the Department of Izabal, Guatemala.

    Doña Matilde commented: “For many years we have cooked on traditional open-pit fires, burning our hands, inhaling excess smoke, our kitchen full of carbon dioxide and high consumption of firewood. Now, by obtaining one of these stoves, our lives will change for the better, we’ll have better working conditions at home, and completely protect ourselves.”

    In our village, we have not had the opportunity of projects that directly benefit the women, but with EcoLogic/APROSARSTUN you have thought about the lives of rural women and changing the story of our communities. This is why by adopting one of these advanced technologies, our experience will change and we also help natural resources.”

    Doña Maria also shared her thoughts: “I feel very happy to experience my improved stove. Part of my commitment is that my granddaughter learns to make tortillas and use the stove. I can say that this stove is the one that I consider the best. It is well designed, comfortable to use, easy to clean the parts of the stove and you don't feel the heat of the fire. I am fully satisfied with the new work tool for the housewife.

    As you can see, the sides work as a table for making tortillas. I have a bowl with water, a bowl with dough, a plate for tortillas or another basket to store leftover tortillas, the stove is very appropriate and safe to work on. I don't have any complaints, I think it will be functional for many years. I will surely get used to the new tool, and I will no longer use the open fire. The traditional fire produces very high heat and smoke, so we women get a lot of colds, body aches, and even hand cramps because we remain very much in the heat of the fire. And now, it is a grace to have this technology that will change the lives of women who are housewives.”

    Overall, the EcoLogic team and our partners have also taken advantage of this time to share experiences with each other, discuss our work on the ground, and how we can improve or enhance our interventions. It has been a very enriching experience, to have the time to take a step back and have these discussions with our own team, and outside experts as well. We’ve learned a lot from different fuel-efficient stove experiences with our partners in Honduras and Mexico, as well.

    I look forward to keeping you updated on the experiences of these communities as we move forward in these challenging times. Thanks again for your support, it gives me the strength to keep fighting for my people and my country each and every day!

    In solidarity,

    Mario Ardany de León

    Program Officer, Guatemala

    Workshop on stove use
    Workshop on stove use
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    Organization Information

    EcoLogic Development Fund

    Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
    Website:
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    Twitter: @ecologicdevfund
    Project Leader:
    Barbara Vallarino
    Cambridge, MA United States
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