Protect the Rainforest & Indigenous Health, Mexico

by Econ & Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans

From July 2008 – June 2009 DESMI constructed 233 wood-saving stoves in 32 different Chiapas communities. The stoves had immediate, significant effects on health and nutrition: they greatly decreased smoke exposure to women and children, and enabled measured-temperature cooking of multiple dishes simultaneously. Aurelia, one of the many beneficiaries of this program, shares her experience:

“Before [having the wood-saving stove], my eyes would get irritated and add to my eye problems. Now, with this stove, the smoke doesn’t affect me anymore. Also, the food tastes better; the tortillas before would sometimes burn, but that doesn’t happen with this stove.”

This simple change will create lasting improvements in the health of communities in Chiapas, Mexico.

DESMI continued its wood-saving stoves program in the Southern Zone and the Altos Zone in Chiapas.

In the Southern Zone, DESMI constructed 111 wood-saving stoves in 13 communities, benefiting 110 families and students from a primary school.

In the Altos Zone, DESMI carried out 1 workshop and technical assistance in its communities to start teaching its members the benefits of using this environmentally friendly stove.

In the Northern Zone of Chiapas, DESMI facilitated a workshop with representatives from the municipalities of Benito Juárez, Akabalná and Rubén Jaramillo to demonstrate the process of constructing wood-saving stoves. After the workshop, the families from the communities decided to construct wood-saving stoves in the following way:

Benito Juárez: 63 wood-saving stoves to benefit 63 families from 7 communities Akablaná: 44 wood-saving stoves to benefit 44 families from 8 communities Rubén Jaramillo: 15 wood-saving stoves to benefit 15 families from 3 communities Francisco Villa: 1 wood-saving stove for 1 family from the community Actiepa Yochip.

In total, 122 wood-saving stoves have been constructer and are benefiting 122 families from 19 communities.

Four “model” wood-saving stoves were constructed in three communities in the Zona Sur of Chiapas. DESMI organized workshops and site visits to train community members on how to construct and use a wood-saving stove. In addition, DESMI has surveyed the communities where the stoves were constructed to keep track of how many people are participating in these workshops.

Here are the results of that survey: • 24 families have participate in wood-saving stove-related workshops • Of these 24 families, 8 families constructed their wood-saving stoves. • 9 families have their wood-saving stoves but have not participated in any of DESMI workshops to learn how to properly use these stoves. • 17 families from 7 communities constructed wood-saving stoves without DESMI’s assistance but want to participate in DESMI’s workshops.

In general, the benefits expressed by those with a wood-saving stove listed the following: 1) Saving wood 2) Better conditions of kitchen tools 3) Women are no longer exposed to smoke pollution 4) Women have no more direct contact with the stove’s heat. 5) Food is cooked faster due to the stove’s structure that helps concentrate heat.


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Organization Information

Econ & Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans

Location: San Cristobal d.l. Casas, Chiapas - Mexico
Website: http:/​/​​desmiac
Project Leader:
Gillian Wilson
IDEX Latin America Program Director
San Francisco, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 11 donors like you, a total of $1,455 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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