Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico

by EcoLogic Development Fund
Play Video
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Fuel-Efficient Stoves: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico

Dear Global Giving Supporters,

I am pleased to share that the 100 fuel-efficient stoves I told you about back in June are now completed! Here’s a Facebook post by a local TV station about this project (in Spanish): https://www.facebook.com/telered.totonicapan/videos/1597596260344937/

With your support, we’ve been able to provide the stove parts, such as the chimney and the ‘plancha’ or metal plate, the transportation, and the technical support for the construction process. For each stove we help build, however, the family must contribute local materials, like sand and clay, their labor to help build it, and they volunteer one day to go plant trees in the Communal Forest. This adds up to about US$70 (Q. 540) per family. This in-kind contribution is carefully documented so that each family can take pride in their investment.

Another update is that we had a Masters’ student from the Universidad de San Carlos collect data and perform tests to determine the efficiency of the stoves in our project site in Totonicapán. After several months of work, he recently determined that by replacing an open-pit fire with this model of fuel-efficient stove in 25 homes, over a five year period there would be a savings of 372.85 cubic meters of firewood. This would avoid 1.2 acres (0.5 hectares)--about the size of a football field--of deforestation and reduce household expenditures by $12,644.75 (Q. 98,886.29).

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


Mario Ardany de León - Program Officer, Guatemala

EcoLogic Development Fund

Before and after
Before and after
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share with you this recent video about the progress of fuel-efficient cookstove construction in Totonicapán, Guatemala. In it, you will hear Margarita Tacám explain how we make sure that our stoves go to those who need them most. You will also hear from several community members who have been part of the project, how they are experiencing the benefits the improved cookstoves bring about. I hope it gives you a better sense of how your support is making a difference on the ground.

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 forest 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 to visit us and see for yourself!

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de León

Program Officer, Guatemala

EcoLogic Development Fund


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Dona Marta
Dona Marta

In May 2018 we started the process of constructing 100 fuel-efficient stoves in Totonicapán, Guatemala.

EcoLogic uses fuel-efficient cookstoves as a tool to replace open-pit fires or other inefficient cooking techniques, which are the norm throughout rural areas in Mexico and Central America. In Mexico, firewood remains the primary household fuel source, accounting for 80% of energy use within rural communities. Similarly, 97% of rural Guatemalans cook on wood burning cookstoves. Open-pit stoves, including the common “three-stone” model in Central America, can lose as much as 90% of their energy before reaching the cooking surface. Improved stoves increase the energy efficiency of cooking, therefore requiring less fuelwood than traditional stoves -- something that is particularly critical to change in households surrounded by degraded forests.

Sounds simple enough, but how does this happen?

We work closely with our local partners on the ground and local communities to coordinate the process. Our Field Technician, Fernando, has also enlisted Margarita to help. She is a student at a local university in Totonicapán.

First, they work to identify who will be eligible to receive a stove. As you can imagine, the need is great and we have to be strategic in satisfying demand. Some of the criteria we use to do this are:

  1. Household must be located in an area at high risk of deforestation. Field staff should first select households with the highest rates of firewood extraction for cooking.
  2. Cookstoves should go to those with the greatest need first. Factors to be considered in defining “greatest need” include long cooking times, high fuel consumption, degraded or marginal landholdings, little means to purchase a cookstove on their own.
  3. Households may be chosen based on empirical evidence (monitoring the fuelwood consumption of numerous interested households before deciding) or by general
    consensus at a community meeting (at which primarily or solely women will be present).
  4. The goal is to choose beneficiaries in an unbiased manner with regard to the power dynamics and economic means in a given community.
  5. Member(s) of the beneficiary household must be willing to participate in forest stewardship activities in exchange for their cookstove.
  6. Household may not already own a fuel-efficient cookstove.

Below you can see Doña Cecilia and Doña Marta, two of the 100 amas de casa that will benefit from new, more efficient stoves. You can also see the open-flame method they currently use for cooking.

Next, materials must be purchased and transported to the community. It is an all-hands-on-deck process. Below you can see community members and Margarita unloading the truck.

The next steps will be a series of trainings to ensure the proper long-term use and durability of the stoves.

Training 1: Stove Benefits and Preparations. Field technicians outline the relationship between fuelwood extraction and deforestation and explain how fuel-efficient stoves can reduce pressure on degraded forests.

Training 2: Stove Construction. EcoLogic field staff instruct groups of women in fuel-efficient cookstove construction, demonstrating and assisting in each step of the process. Specific step-by-step guidelines vary depending on the stove model chosen.

Training 3: Stove Maintenance and Repair. Meeting facilitators discuss proper maintenance of stoves over time to extend the longevity and efficiency of function. They demonstrate troubleshooting procedures for common problems with cookstoves and give beneficiaries time to practice.

Training 4: Stove Lighting. Meeting facilitators instruct beneficiaries in stove lighting techniques and verify that each new stove is functioning properly.

We look forward to keeping you updated on this process once the stoves are finished in the coming months! Thank you.

Dona Cecilia
Dona Cecilia
Margarita unloading stove materials
Margarita unloading stove materials
Delivery of materials to the community
Delivery of materials to the community
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

EcoLogic's work in gutamala providing clean-burning stoves to families in rural area of Guatemala improves household health, reduces deforestation, and gives stove users—typically women—more time to spend on other pursuits. EcoLogic is grateful for the continuing support of our donors and partners as we continue our work in this area of critical biodiversity. 

With spruing comes the rainy season, when out locally-based field technicians are hard at work as the tree planting season kicks off. This year, EcoLogic is aiming to achieve the following goals in Guatemala:

  • Plant 100,000 trees in deforested areas
  • Reforest 90 acres of land
  • Run 6 reforestation workshop for local community members
  • Install 100 clean-burning, fuel efficeint stoves
  • Run 3 stove use workshops for 100 local community members
  • Conduct site visits to inspect use of stoves already installed
  • Conduct 5 youth-oriented environmental workshops
  • Engage 35 community members in monitoring to prevent illegal logging

EcoLogic's smart, sustainable solutions ensure that people in rural and indigenous communiteis have access to sustainable livelihoods, so they aren't forced to rely on monocropping, illegal logging, overfishing, or any other unsustainable practice. With your support, we can continue out work and bring these solutions to more communiteis in need.

Thank you for your support!


The EcoLogic Team

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Fernando Recancoj stopping for a snapshot
Fernando Recancoj stopping for a snapshot

In EcoLogic’s regional office in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (known locally as Xela, a homage to its indigenous name Xelaju), EcoLogic Communications Officer, Riley Hunter, sat down with Fernando Recancoj, long-time EcoLogic Field Technician for our Totonicapán project to get a better idea of what makes EcoLogic unique, why Fernando has stayed so committed to EcoLogic for 9 years, and why he is confident that EcoLogic the best place for him to create change and help rural and indigenous communities conserve their natural resources in Totonicapán.

Here’s a transcript of our talk:

Riley: Tell us how you became involved for the first time with EcoLogic and what is your role now?

Fernando: Well, the first time I came into contact with EcoLogic was through a consultation in which EcoLogic wanted to implement an irrigation system in the [reforestation] greenhouses in Totonicapán. So they spoke with me. At that point I was working, as I still do, in Totonicapán, and I offered them my services to install this system, they paid me for it, and this was the first time I had contact with EcoLogic.

Later, there was a position for a technician with EcoLogic that would be helping the 48 Cantones, and well, I heard of it and applied, and here I am after 9 years.

Riley: From your point of view, describe the most significant change you’ve achieved since your involvement with EcoLogic?

Fernando: Hahaha, good question. I think the most significant change for me is something that goes two ways — both for the communities and for me as a professional or a person who collaborates in community processes. It is the subject of empowering families and communities to address the issues related to their natural resources.

Because for me, this subject [of empowerment], when I started with EcoLogic, it wasn’t something new but it didn’t have much familiarity in conservation work. My job before was much more related to food security and agriculture, but when EcoLogic entered the scene I saw this part of natural resources, so I think it has been this change, for me as a person, knowing more and helping more with processes related to the conservation of natural resources and the interaction with people and their resources, such as the goods and services that the forest provides, like water. I think it is empowering for me and the communities to think of conservation like this, and it’s a better type of conservation.

Riley: Why is this significant to you?

Fernando: It’s significant because, I think you start making sense of the problem. I think this approach makes you more conscious of the situation and you begin acknowledging the related issues, and most importantly, more than understanding the causes of the problems, it allows you to take actions. You begin to understand from your place, from your profession, from your position, that you can start taking action. Not just stay with romantic ideas of the beauty of the forest and how beautiful the birds are, but what do we desire? You find that the people really need the forest resources and its not that they are poorly educated or something like that. It’s because it’s a human necessity. So, you have to start to deepen what you’ve learned in college and in your courses. It’s not just the theory, you have to start modifying a little bit and adapting a bit, conserving the environment is definitely a process of adaptation.

To provide a bit of context on Fernando’s work in Totonicapán, Fernando, like EcoLogic’s other field technicians, works daily in the field to implement and oversee our work on the ground, including reforestation activities, the installation of fuel-efficient woodstoves, and environmental education and mobilization. Fernando organizes EcoLogic community volunteers, prepares scientific reports, collects data, observes and monitors field work, facilitates educational and training workshops, and many other project related tasks. Without Fernando and EcoLogic’s team of field technicians, our work would not be possible.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

EcoLogic Development Fund

Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ecologicdevfund
Project Leader:
Barbara Vallarino
Cambridge , MA United States
$24,944 raised of $30,000 goal
291 donations
$5,056 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

EcoLogic Development Fund has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.