This community faces extreme economic challenges, environmental degradation, and severe health risks. Women in most of the Tz'utujil homes still cook over the traditional Mayan 3-stone fire. The search for firewood is driving severe deforestation, erosion, and landslides in the mountains surrounding Lake Atitlan, polluting the water on which everyone depends. Smoke from the fires is causing respiratory disease, and the cost of firewood continues to grow.
Energy-efficient cookstoves can reduce the need for firewood in households by over 70%. This means immediate reductions in tree loss, air pollution, and respiratory disease, especially for women, children, and the elderly. Families won't need to spend hours searching for firewood-or seeking firewood for purchase-leaving more time available for improved quality of life, like better nutrition, education for their children, even financial stability.
This project has impressive short- and long-term benefits. Each cookstove saves one commercial firewood tree per month and reduces household air pollution by 99%. With a proven 10-year lifespan, these 250 cookstoves will prevent the logging of 30,000 trees, sequester 5,110 tons of CO2, and increase savings per family by US$3,000 (a substantial quantity given the 70% poverty rate). Our cookstoves are durable, movable, and aligned with the cultural traditions of our Mayan community.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).