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
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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Serbelia using on a open-pit fire.
Serbelia using on a open-pit fire.

In August, 2009, EcoLogic posted to Global Giving our project to construct 150 fuel-efficient stoves in Guatemala. Now, two years later your support is still helping families and conserving precious natural resources. On a recent trip to Guatemala, EcoLogic’s field staff met with a recipient of a fuel-efficient stove. Here is her story:

“My name is Serbelia Grave Caal. I am Maya Q’eqchi’. I have 10 children. In 2010 I was the beneficiary of an EcoLogic fuel-efficient stove. I contributed 2 bags of sand, 20 bricks, 2 bags of clay, and my time in assisting the mason to build the stove. I also committed to establishing an agroforestry plot. The trees in my plot will help provide the firewood for cooking. I do not have to go into the forest as much to look for fuel.

When the stove was built EcoLogic field staff told us that we would save a lot of wood. At first I did not believe them, but then I realized the truth and the stove has really changed a lot of things in my life. We cut down fewer trees for firewood and the children have more time to study. My family does not get eye and lung infections like they used to when there was smoke in the kitchen, I have experienced fewer burns, and I no longer suffer from back pain because the stove is a suitable height for cooking. Before, when I cooked on the ground on an open-pit fire I used 4 bundles of wood a week. Now, with my new stove, I only need 1/3 of what I used to and there is no need for thick logs. I am very happy with my stove and it is really helping me. I wish that all families had an EcoLogic stove like me, so we would all be helping to conserve the forest and live healthier lives.”

Serbelia's life has changed for the better due to your support. Today, I invite you to continue making a difference with a gift that can help families like Serbelia's conserve nature and improve their lives.

On behalf of Serbelia and all of us here at EcoLogic, thank you!

Serbelia using her new fuel-efficient stove.
Serbelia using her new fuel-efficient stove.

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Cristina and her family.
Cristina and her family.

Cristina Martelín lives in Guatemala, is an active community member of Chuixtun, and a mother of four. She also makes a mean tamale.

Last year Cristina received a fuel-efficient stove from EcoLogic – she loves it and so do her kids. Cristina’s favorite food to cook using the stoves is tamales.

“My kids love them. I can cook so much more with the stove in much less time than before,” said Cristina.

Cristina estimates that she uses about half the wood she used to when using her old open pit fire stove and reports the kids are happier with less smoke inside the house. Her neighbor Doña Antonia loves the tile stovetop and her husband recently reforested trees as a voluntary in exchange for the stove.

Your support has directly improved the lives of Cristina, Antonia, and their families.

Thank you!

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for our eNews to receive important monthly updates on EcoLogic's projects and information on ways to get involved!

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Fuel-Efficient Wood Burning Stove
Fuel-Efficient Wood Burning Stove

February is the month of love and friendship around the world. What better way is there to show appreciation for your community than to help build your neighbor's stove, and they in return help you construct yours. This is the underlying principle of the stove program in Guatemala - to learn from your neighbor and pay it forward.

EcoLogic conducts workshops for women educating them on how to build a stove and its proper maintenance. Once these women have attended the workshops they graduate to construction. In groups of 8-10, they go from home to home building their neighbors stove, realizing the importance working with each other and the community.

This philosophy is what has made EcoLogic's stove program in Guatemala so successful. Ensuring every family that wants to better their lives and protect their health, can.

In the last 12 months alone, due to your generous support, over 150 families were trained in construction, use, and management of the stoves. This led to the construction of over 150 stoves in 13 communities. The beneficiaries of these stoves, specifically women and children, can now breathe more freely in their homes without fear of illness or respiratory disease. Children can go to school more regularly knowing that the fire wood they have collected will last twice as long with the new stove. In addition, these 150 families are participating in the reforestation of 4,500 trees.

Help us keep the momentum going!

While our progress is steady, we are only a quarter of the way to meeting our goal. In the spirit of love and friendship, you, your friends, and family can help us continue our work putting clean stoves in homes throughout rural Guatemala helping build safer, cleaner communities.

p.s. Don't forget to sign up for our eNews to receive important monthly updates on EcoLogic's projects and information on ways to get involved!

Little girl making a stove, like her mother.
Little girl making a stove, like her mother.

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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
$22,330 raised of $30,000 goal
 
272 donations
$7,670 to go
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