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
Constructing an ONIL stove
Constructing an ONIL stove

Fuel-efficient stoves are an important part of EcoLogic’s broader menu of community based approaches to conservation and sustainable development. EcoLogic originally introduced the stoves to reduce pressure on forested areas and to also help educate and inspire local people to adopt approaches that can have a significant impact on the ecosystems. Over the past few years, we have endeavored to expand and improve our stove program.

This past July, EcoLogic’s Regional Program Director, Gabriela Gonzalez and Guatemalan Technical Promoters Yovany Díaz, Jose Domingo Caal, and Fernando Recancoj attended the Clean Cookstove Alliance’s Guatemala stakeholder consultation and market assessment in Antigua, Guatemala. Based on information presented, discussions at the workshop, and research conducted by several interns we have decided to pilot a different stove, called the ONIL stove in Guatemala which has proven to have a higher fuel-efficiency rating than our current stove. This stove was also selected based on criteria such as the stoves’ durability, likelihood of cultural acceptance for food preparation and household norms, fuel efficiency and indoor air pollution ratings, safety, appropriateness for local fuel wood types, ease of sourcing materials for construction and repair, cost (initial cash outlay and estimated lifetime cost), and our connections to and ability to develop relationships with other organizations and agencies implementing similar stoves at a broader scale.

In August, we installed 25 test stoves with our partner the 48 Cantones of Totonicapán as well as provided training and guidance on their use and maintenance.  We are currently developing tools to evaluate the ONIL model to determine if it is the best fit for the cultural and environmental needs of the communities we serve during the next phase of our project. We look forward to keeping you posted on how the stoves are doing!
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Don Augustin with his seedlings
Don Augustin with his seedlings

We recently visited our work in Totonicapán, Guatemala, getting to see the current state of the 8 greenhouses EcoLogic has helped establish. As of this September, 5,520 seedling trays have been fully planted with 132,480 seedlings of different species and ages. These include white pine, red pine, alder, oak, and Guatemalan fir, among others. The trays used to grow these seedlings yield a root “plug,” which makes the roots more resilient and decreases mortality once they are transplanted to the reforestation site.

Another issue to keep in mind is fungal diseases, which can be difficult to control and, once they infect a plant, they are hard to eliminate. For example, gray mold, caused by the fungus botrytis cinera, can cause damage to seeds in cones and during germination. In order to avoid this, our local partner the Natural Resource Board of the 48 Cantones, has been experimenting with organic fungicides. The concoction in the image below includes natural ingredients such as garlic, onions, and ginger, as well as certain microorganisms.  
At the helm of this process are Don Agustin, his assistant Cesar, and EcoLogic’s field technician, Fernando Recancoj. The pungent liquid will remain in the 200 liter barrel for 30 days until it is ready to be sprayed on the saplings. We’ll let you know how it goes!
Don Agustin is excited to show us his handiwork. He has been overseeing these nurseries, in their different stages, for over 10 years. He proudly shows off all the little seedlings, which he fondly refers to as his “children”. This is just one of the steps we are taking to help the people of Totonicapán protect the 21,000 hectare forest of which they are stewards.
Close up of the seedlings currently growing
Close up of the seedlings currently growing
Organic fungicide used to battle fungus
Organic fungicide used to battle fungus
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Stove beneficiary shows off her new stove!
Stove beneficiary shows off her new stove!

Fifty families in northern Guatemala, across four communities, have recently received EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stoves as part of our ongoing conservation efforts in the area. As the number of stove beneficiaries grows – so does the amount of acres reforested, conserved, and protected.

As a stove recipient, families must agree to not only use the stove in an effort to reduce their wood consumption, but to conversely give back to the forest through reforestation and vigilant monitoring against illegal loggers and fires.

Reforestation in the Ixcán Region of El Quiche has included the participation of 146 families. They have attended trainings focused on the preparation of seed mixes and general care for saplings in nurseries.

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Making tortillas in Guatemala
Making tortillas in Guatemala

Because of donors like you, EcoLogic is making strides in Guatemala. During the past few months 33 fuel-efficient stoves were built for families in the towns of Barillas, El Ixcán, and San Antonio Tzeja. The stoves are just one part of the holistic approach EcoLogic takes in an overall conservation strategy. In exchange for a stove, communities involved in our projects commit to engaging in another form of environmental stewardship. In this case, the families came together and planted over 500 trees.

The fuel-efficient stoves program has a significant impact on rural families and the environment. By making cooking significantly more efficient, pressure on the forests that surround communities is reduced, less time is needed to gather wood (a task typically undertaken by women and children), and indoor air pollution is vastly decreased—mitigating a significant respiratory health threat in the home. The holistic element of family participation through environmental stewardship has proven to be an essential element of the program and one of the key reasons for its success.

Although building 33 stoves is a step in the right direction, we need to progress at a faster pace to meet demand and reduce fuel-wood extraction from standing forests. This is where you come in. Please continue to support this project with another modest donation, tell your friends about your contribution and challenge them to match your gift, or simply like us on Facebook. Your support is essential to this important work and we need you to help us spread the word.

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Housewives present EcoLogic with a gift of thanks.
Housewives present EcoLogic with a gift of thanks.

The overarching goal of the helping communities build and use fuel-efficient stove is to increase environmental stewardship within rural communities of Guatemala by improving the resource efficiency and healthiness of household cooking. The stoves decrease the human threats to tropical forests, promote environmental leadership within some of the most marginalized members of society, and improves the lives and health particularly of women and children.  To make sure of the efficiency of the EcoLogic stoves – we commissioned a study completed by the experts at the Zamorano Institute’s Improved Stove Certification Center in Honduras.

The studied resulted in several insights and recommendations that will help us adjust our program to maximize our impact. For instance, we learned that the fuel-efficient stove models that we introduce is not the most efficient stoves on the market (though they are considerably more fuel efficient that conventional open-pit fires); however, they are well liked and used by beneficiaries. Our model, though less efficient, is durable and multi-functional as a table and cooking surface. It is also important to note that adoption rates and demand for the stoves remains high. 

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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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