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
A banner of thanks presented to EcoLogic staff
A banner of thanks presented to EcoLogic staff

In rural Guatemala, EcoLogic works with communities to develop and implement practical plans to promote forest reforestation and conservation.  Using a holistic approach that goes beyond chimneys and stovetops, we are taking into account the role of the ecosystem and the community to implement sustainable changes.

EcoLogic recently spoke with teacher and Totonicapán community member Juana Maria Garcia about her time volunteering with EcoLogic and building fuel-efficient stoves in Cuchanet, Guatemala.

You have also helped to build fuel-efficient stoves, right?

JMG: Yes, this last winter I worked with EcoLogic to help build stoves for 75 families. The beneficiaries were in five communities and I primarily worked in Cuchanet. I collaborated with the group—mostly women of the households—to build the stoves. A mason supervised us, but we did everything as a team. We mixed the cement, lay the adobe and the bricks, and built the inner chamber. The chamber is built in a special way which helps the air move and reduces the amount of wood needed to keep it hot. Finally, we put on the chimney, and gave the stove a special coating of sand and cement, and then the owner had to wait 30 days for it to dry and "settle" before she could use it.

The owners are taught how to maintain the stoves, including what can be burned and what can't be. For example, most people don't know that burning plastic is dangerous for your health and for the environment. Fernando, the EcoLogic technician, also teaches how to keep the stoves clean, and why flies are bad for the food, as many people don't understand this. So there is a lot of health and hygiene information that is talked about, too.

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In the communities of Totonicapán, Guatemala, we have recently built 75 stoves. Each stove represents a family that can breathe easier in their home due to the benefits of having a new, fuel-efficient stove with a chimney that channels smoke outside the home and away from the lungs of family members, including women and children. EcoLogic’s program includes hands-on workshops in which women learn how to build and properly maintain their stoves. As part of the program families must also commit to some form of environmental stewardship. This can range from tending to a community tree nursery, engaging in sustainable agriculture, or reforesting areas around water sources.

To date, 50 of the goal of 75 families, across 7 communities, have supported the production of native trees to be planted in one of 8 nurseries in Totonicapán!

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.

With your continued support we will expand out project and meet our goals.

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Photo Credit: Sebastián Charchalac Santay
Photo Credit: Sebastián Charchalac Santay

Here at EcoLogic, we are thankful for you and the many supporters that have helped us make our fuel-efficient stove program possible. Because of supporters like you, we have been able to expand our program from Guatemala into Honduras. By the end of the year we will have made over 50 new stoves!

When EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stoves are used in homes, they not only conserve the environment but improve the health of the community. Fuel-efficient stoves decrease the amount of deadly fumes that women and children breathe inside the home and conserve fragile ecosystems by protecting forests. There is a 60% reduction in fuel-wood consumption when using our fuel-efficient stoves. These families are also making a better life for themselves and protecting their land for their children.

During this season of giving, join EcoLogic's efforts by inviting your friends to make a gift. Now and through the end of the year, all new donations will be matched! A generous donor has pledged to match dollar-for-dollar gifts made through the end of the year from all new donors.

On behalf of EcoLogic and the people we work with, thank you for your willingness to make a difference and thank you for helping us share our important work with others.

Photo Credit: Dave Kramer
Photo Credit: Dave Kramer

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Guatemalan stove
Guatemalan stove

We, at EcoLogic, are consistently evaluating our programs to improve our work and increase our impact. To that end, we recently partnered with a University in Honduras to run conduct a systematic assessment of our fuel-efficient stove program.

The assessment is being run by the Zamorano Institute’s Improved Stove Certification Center in Honduras. Working jointly with EcoLogic field staff and community members, the Institute is leading the process of collecting data from households in Guatemala and Honduras, including whether and how often families use their fuel-efficient stoves as well as their overall satisfaction with having a fuel-efficient stove in their home. In addition, the stoves are being run through a gamut of tests in a controlled environment that will measure how much smoke is produced, how much wood is used, and the energy input output ratio of each stove. Finally, the stoves will be compared to others used in the region. The stove impact assessment will conclude shortly and we look forward to sharing the results with you soon!

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This past summer EcoLogic Program Officer Chris Patterson helped construct fuel-efficient stoves in some of the most remote areas of Guatemala. He shares his experience below:

"Greetings from Livingston, Guatemala. I’m out here this week visiting our project with APROSARSTUN, our partner in the region. It’s way out here on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast. The area is incredibly humid, and the main mode of transportation is boat and canoe. Livingston is a somewhat popular tourist destination, but outside of the tourist center, the rural communities are very remote, very small, and quite underserved. For example, the President of APROSARSTUN, Martin, is from a village of 15 families. José Domingo, EcoLogic’s project técnico is from a community of 35 families. Each of these communities are part of our project. More than any other EcoLogic project I’ve seen, this one is reaching people way WAY off the beaten path. To me, it’s really inspiring.

This week, I worked in Barra Sarstún—a fishing village on the edge of the Sarstún River—where 33 fuel-efficient stoves are being constructed. José Domingo, Martín, and I were there to watch/help the first one get built. It was awesome watching the process from the very first brick. I’ve seen so many that are completed and always wondered what it took to build one.

In EcoLogic's projects, stove recipients are chosen based on their participation in the project and willingness to help build their stove. In Barra Sarstún, recipients are members of the Barra Sarstún Fisherfolk Committee, which is the group we work with to develop sustainable fishing practices in the region. The fishermen involved in the committee understand the need to conserve and care for the environment which provides them with their livelihoods (fish!), and are therefore excited to participate in projects which help advance conservation.

Here’s what you need to build a fuel-efficient stove: cinder blocks, bricks, cement, sand, water, clay/mud (filler in the base of the stove), an aluminum chimney, tools (a shovel, machete and trowel), and about four hours. And you need to know what you’re doing which is why we hire two men that have built many of our stoves. EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stove program takes a holistic approach that connects the dots between a family's well-being and that of nature. I feel really lucky that I helped construct a stove this week – I just wish I could stick around and eat some yummy fish from it!"

Please visit Facebook to see a photo album of how a stove is constructed.

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EcoLogic Development Fund

Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
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Twitter: @ecologicdevfund
Project Leader:
Barbara Vallarino
Cambridge, MA United States
$22,130 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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