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

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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    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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    Organization Information

    EcoLogic Development Fund

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