Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala

by EcoLogic Development Fund
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Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
Fuel-Efficient Stoves for Guatemala
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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Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I’m writing to you today because I know you care about the families and communities we work with in Guatemala. I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for your generous support. It allows us to respond to the immediate needs of rural and indigenous families so that they can pursue dignified lives and livelihoods in the places where they live. It also helps reduce pressure on important natural resources and ecosystems.

Just last week, your support helped us work with our local partner organization APROSARSTUN to deliver 15 new fuel-efficient stoves to the remote community of Nuevo Nacimiento Cáliz in the Sarstun Multiple Use Zone in the Department of Izabal, Guatemala. This community is only accessible by boat, so the transportation process is challenging and it takes a village! But the women of the community had gathered and were thrilled to receive the Chispa model stove. The chimney vents 99% of the smoke from inside the house. It has a “rocket” type combustion chamber to burn wood more efficiently and shows a 55% reduction of wood consumption and thermal efficiency of 25% or more in the water boiling test. 

In addition, we’re also working in this same community to establish diversified agroforestry parcels. These include fast-growing trees that--among other benefits--provide a source of firewood, further reducing pressure on local forests and ecosystems.

I have included a few pictures for you. Thanks again for being such an important part of this work that is helping communities and conserving forests! I look forward to the next update.

Saludos,

Mario Ardany de León, Program Officer, Guatemala

EcoLogic Development Fund

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New stove in Totonicapan
New stove in Totonicapan

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I’m writing to you today because I know you care about the families and communities we work with in Guatemala. I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for your generous support. It allows us to respond to the immediate needs of rural and indigenous families so that they can pursue dignified lives and livelihoods in the places where they live. It also helps reduce pressure on important natural resources and ecosystems.

Why efficient stoves matter? Earlier this year we were invited to participate and present our work at the 3rd Forum of the Latin America and Caribbean Clean Cookstove Network at Zamorano University in Honduras. The forum afforded great opportunities for sharing with and learning from researchers, implementers, and experts. 

Some of the key facts discussed included:

Approximately 40% of the global population relies on wood fuels (bioenergy) for cooking and water heating, accounting for 9% of global energy use, 55% of the global wood harvest, and 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (1) In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) 40 million families currently cook with an open flame. The keynote presenter, Dr. Omar Masera, from UNAM, Mexico, discussed the need for scaling efforts to respond to this challenge. 

His key recommendations for doing this are very consistent with EcoLogic’s approach and how we do our work--essentially prioritizing the needs of the end-users: the “amas de casa.” For example, just building or "installing" stoves is not enough by itself, we always work to ensure that the new stoves are successfully adopted and properly used in the long-term. Also, we don’t simply expect users to "change their behavior" in the abstract, but rather understand their context and help make reducing firewood use a feasible option for them.

I’m sharing a few pictures from stoves recently constructed in Totonicapan, Guatemala. Also, follow-up visits conducted on stoves in the Ixcán region that are 8-10 years old but that are still being used. A few repairs over time--such as replacing the chimney and metal plate--can significantly extend the lifespan of a stove. Finally, our partner organization in the Sarstun region has recently been testing a new stove model called Chispa.

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. Or, better yet, come visit us and see for yourself!

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Program Officer, Guatemala

(1) Masera et al. Environmental Burden of Traditional Bioenergy Use. Annual Review Environmental Resources 2015. 40:121–50.

Follow-up technical assistance in Ixcan
Follow-up technical assistance in Ixcan
Follow-up technical assistance visit in Ixcan
Follow-up technical assistance visit in Ixcan
Testing the Chispa stove model in Sarstun
Testing the Chispa stove model in Sarstun
Testing the Chispa stove model in Sarstun
Testing the Chispa stove model in Sarstun
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Fernando, conducting follow up visit on stove
Fernando, conducting follow up visit on stove

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I’m writing to you today because I know you care about the families and communities we work with in Guatemala. My name is Fernando Recancoj and I am the Field Technician for EcoLogic’s project with the Natural Resource Council of the 48 Cantones in Totonicapán. I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for your generous support. It allows us to respond to the immediate needs of rural and indigenous families so that they can have dignified lives and livelihoods in the places where they live. 

I have worked in this community for over 10 years, providing technical assistance to the Natural Resource Council of the 48 Cantones to implement a series of complementary strategies that seek to empower rural communities to conserve the forest of San Miguel de Los Altos and surrounding forested areas (about 52,000 acres). These strategies include: a) reducing the consumption of firewood needed for cooking by building fuel-efficient stoves; b) the construction and maintenance of greenhouses to grow trees; c) working with the communities to plant those trees in degraded areas of the forest; and d) raising the awareness of the local population and providing environmental education to students about the importance of conservation of the forest and natural resources.

Last week, I started the process of visiting the households of potential beneficiaries of new fuel-efficient stoves. It reinforces for me that the need for additional stoves is great. For each household, we start by conducting an interview to evaluate socioeconomic factors to ensure the stoves go to households that are in most need. For example, two of the households that will benefit from the next round of stoves are single mothers, Julia Teresa and Laura Hermenegilda. They both expressed their need and interest in receiving a stove so that they can improve the health of their families by reducing smoke in their homes and reduce their need for firewood. 

I look forward to keeping you updated on the experiences of Julia Teresa and Laura Hermenegilda as we move forward with the process of constructing the stoves in their homes. Your support today will allow us to reach more families in their community, called Zona 4. Each gift is multiplied by the families who contribute local materials (like sand and soil) and labor to build the stoves.

In solidarity,

Fernando Recancoj, Project Technician, Totonicapán

P.S. This recent article in the New Yorker (April 2019) documents some of the challenges faced by subsistence farming communities in Guatemala in general, and Totonicapán in particular: “As climate change has worsened, the dry corridor has extended into the western part of the country—scientists describe Totonicapán as the most vulnerable department in the western highlands—and efforts have been made to anticipate and mitigate further damage.”

Growing trees in the greenhouse
Growing trees in the greenhouse
Reforestation campaign
Reforestation campaign
Learning creative techniques for env education
Learning creative techniques for env education
Environmental education
Environmental education
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Delivering the stove
Delivering the stove

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I wanted to share a recent story of our work in Guatemala. Last month we worked with our local partner APROSARSTUN to deliver a fuel-efficient stove to a community school located in the buffer zone of the Sarstun Multiple Use Zone. In Guatemala, there is a government school feeding program. In exchange for their child’s meals, each family is responsible for providing the school with 5 logs per week. These families must either collect or buy this fuelwood. In an effort to reduce this need, APROSARSTUN is outfitting schools in the 12 communities where it works with more efficient stoves that need much less fuel compared to the current alternative: open-fire cooking.

This stove is making a significant difference in reducing firewood consumption, reducing deforestation, improving economic conditions for local families, and making sure the children get nutritious and sufficient school meals.

And don’t forget: EcoLogic has the opportunity to win a year-long slot in the GlobalGiving Climate Fund, which allows Climate Change-themed projects on GlobalGiving to receive ongoing funding throughout the year that we can count on to drive our work.

To win we need to get as many individual donations as possible.Your donation can be as little as $10--but we need as many unique donors as we can muster by April 29. In addition, GlobalGiving is offering matching gifts, donations will be matched at 50% up to $500 USD per individual donor per organization while funds remain.

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. Or, better yet, come visit us and see for yourself!

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Programm Officer

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Organization Information

EcoLogic Development Fund

Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ecologicdevfund
Project Leader:
Barbara Vallarino
Cambridge, MA United States
$22,130 raised of $30,000 goal
 
266 donations
$7,870 to go
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