A. Open fire cooking
Did you know that three billion people cook their food on an open fire?
When entering a typical kitchen in Santiago Atitlan, you are welcomed by talk, laughter, and smoke -- gritty, eye-watering smoke that sticks in the throat and provokes deep, scratchy coughs. This smoke kills more than four million people annually and sickens millions more. To fuel these smoky fires, families spend 4 days a week or more gathering wood, time that might otherwise be spent at school, at work, or simply at rest. Cooking a simple meal becomes a major health issue, consumes excessive amounts of natural resources, and is at the same time a significant barrier to sustainable economic development. Since 2016, we at Tui’k Ruch’Lew address these environmental, social, and economic obstacles with our improved cookstove program. As an innovative and forward-thinking organization, we wanted to know quantitatively how much we are actually helping the Earth.
ONIL cookstoves offset 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year!!
Our improved cookstove (ICS) program constantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions because the ONIL cookstove uses 70% less fuel than the open fires commonly used in the Lake Atitlan region. In addition, regular maintenance increases their energy efficiency, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Thus, a single ONIL cookstove offsets three tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its first year of use. This equals about one-fifth of the average per capita emissions in the US.
We all know by now: climate change is a very serious problem and one of the biggest responsibilities of our time. The objective is clear: to become carbon neutral by 2030. Our improved cookstove project contributes to GHG emission reductions (burning less firewood) and increasing carbon sinks (protecting the native forests from deforestation). YOU are helping us work toward these key strategies.
Thank you for your support
Since the beginning of 2021, we have installed 65 ONIL stoves thanks to your financial support. Let me share our comprehensive digital monitoring system prior to introducing you to one of the new stove owners.
As TRL is currently monitoring over 2,000 improved cookstoves in the area of Santiago Atitlan, we have developed a digital system to register our beneficiaries and to monitor the use of the stove and to conduct household surveys in order to receive the verified carbon standard with the labels of the sustainable development goals.
Thus, the installation of the ONIL stoves follow a strict (now also COVID-safe) protocol:
- First household visit: Survey about general information about the beneficiaries and site visit so that TRL’s outreach team knows the condition of the kitchen and the current cooking situation.
- Second household visit: This is the actual installation of the ONIL stove within a week after the site visit.
- Third household visit: A week after the stove installation, the outreach team is checking on the stove and assisting the beneficiaries in adapting to the new stove. This visit is accompanied by a more in-depth survey about the firewood use, firewood collection, health conditions, and the poverty assessment.
- Fourth household visit: Three month after the installation, TRL’s outreach team is checking again on the stove to ensure proper use and long-term usage of the improved cookstove. This survey is accompanied by an in-depth survey of the satisfaction of the stove users. Here TRL is assessing the firewood savings, and the improvements of the health situation of the families, women and children in particular.
- Fifth household visit: A year after the ONIL stove installation, TRL is checking again on the stove. Simple maintenance of the ONIL stove is being made by the team to ensure the optimal functioning and heat flow of the stove.
- Yearly follow-ups or on demand. Over the lifetime of the ONIL stove - about 10 years - TRL’s outreach team checks on the stove every year or on demand. Simple maintenance, like cleaning the bottom of the metal plate and its removable rings to increase the heat transfer. If the combustion chamber needs to be replaced, the team will return usually within a week to change the combustion chamber.
Before: Open fire cooking situations
To get you some ideas of how Maya Tz’utujil communities are cooking, we would like to share some typical kitchens.
See pictures A. Open fire cooking and B. Preparing food on an open fire is challenging.
After: Meet some new ONIL stove owners
Thanks to your donation, TRL was able to install 65 stoves in the Maya Tz'utujil community this year. Our target for 2021 is 200 ONIL cookstove installations. We are very optimistic to reach our target as installations and demand have increased in the second quarter of 2021.
All beneficiaries are very happy to have received an improved cookstove and are grateful for the financial help from you.
See pictures C. Maria is happy with her new ONIL stove and D. Making tortillas on the ONIL stove works well.
Donations of any type are welcome. Donate today through our fundraising partner GlobalGiving or get in touch with Dr. Jessica Kind at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about our programs, please visit www.trlearth.org.
We are wishing you good health.
Jessica and the Tui'k Ruch'Lew team
B. Preparing food on an open fire is challenging
D. Making tortillas on the ONIL stove works well
C. Maria is happy with her new ONIL stove