Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves

by Asociacion Tu'ik Ruch' Lew
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves
Protect Guatemalan Forests with Clean Cookstoves

Greetings to our supportive GlobalGiving community,

At the vibrant Santiago Atitlán local market, our dynamic duo, Candelaria and Isabel, recently showcased the marvel of our TRL clean cook stoves. These are not just stoves; they symbolize a transformative movement that aims to benefit families, our community, and the picturesque Lake Atitlán. By cooking directly on these stoves in the bustling market, Candelaria and Isabel enabled the local community to see firsthand the efficiency and the many benefits of these cooking wonders. Their demonstration was not just about cooking; it was an invitation to join us on this exciting, community journey. 

However, our recent interactions with the community revealed a painful fact. Despite at least 50 locals expressing keen interest in our stoves and some wanting to become beneficiaries, the harsh effects of inflation and another very  dry growing season climate have left them with limited resources. These are the economic and environmental challenges that underline the importance of our movement.

Yet, our mission at TRL is more than merely to introduce families to a different cooking method. Our dedicated TRL Team ensures comprehensive support, but not just in how to use the stove. The Team also makes sure families understand they have joined a movement to help their community, improve their family’s health, and improve their economic well-being. Through a carefully designed educational program, we handhold families for the first year following stove installation, ensuring they transition with confidence and a feeling of empowerment.

Our beneficiaries know this is more than a stove. It's a rallying cry to embrace a healthier, sustainable way of living and to be a beacon of change. With every TRL stove, families step into a movement that prioritizes their well-being, the community's progress, and the conservation of Lake Atitlán.

As TRL continues to expand our outreach and foster more meaningful connections, we are hopeful that this spirited community will overcome its current economic and environmental challenges and envision a brighter, sustainable future. Your support, belief, and engagement are what drive this movement forward.

Thank you to everyone who's already a part of this journey and to those contemplating joining. Your involvement is invaluable. For more information, please visit our website.


María Teresa

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Multigenerational Stove Families Make the Best Success Stories

Maria and Gaspar are an elderly, very traditional Tz'utujil couple in their seventies. Ten years ago, they learned of the ONIL stove, back when our stove team members were installing ONIL stoves under the auspices of the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers—at that time, a social project of the Cojolya Association. Being hard working and frugal people, Maria and Gaspar jumped at the opportunity to reduce the amount of firewood Gaspar brought home in his cayuco from his land on the other side of the lake. 

Maria and Gaspar cared lovingly for their stove and replaced the combustion chamber about five years ago. When their eldest daughter, Magdalena, was married, she got herself an ONIL stove, having learned first-hand from her parents of the many benefits—benefits she wanted to share with her new husband. Magdelena soon had a son of her own, and he decided he wanted an ONIL stove when he grew up.

Now a widow, Magdalena has moved back with her parents to assist them in their old age. She left her ONIL stove with her son and his wife. Magdalena then asked Tu’ik Ruch’ Lew to install an ONIL of her own in her mother’s kitchen. On the day of this photo, TRL replaced the combustion chamber again for the elderly couple and checked the condition of Magdalena’s new ONIL. 

TRL has learned that if one family member successfully adapts to the new technology—the small firebox, the reduced need for wood, the economic benefits—other family members become successful stove users too because they have already learned best practices at their mother’s side. TRL believes that a multi-generational ONIL stove family makes the best success story. As in the case of Maria and Gaspar, when the older generation passes best stove practices down to the next generation, TRL can feel pretty assured that the next generation will be using the ONIL successfully too.   

It’s important to note that for each stove installed, TRL spends on average 20 hours of follow-up time on education and maintenance over the guaranteed 10-year life of a stove—a vital component of TRL’s program success. And that vital follow-up component is what gave TRL a 100% successful adoption rate for all stoves installed in 2022.

Thanks to your support, TRL’s stove project helps families like this acquire an ONIL stove—the total cost of which would be impossible for nearly all of our families. Your generous donations subsidize the cost for families and empowers them to join TRL’s Climate Action Movement.

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Tu’ik Ruch’ Lew is Celebrating Success!

In 2022, all of TRL's proud recipients have been successful using and maintaining their improved
energy-efficient cook stoves. But this isn't the case with all cook stove projects. The reason is that
most stove projects focus on the number of stoves installed and pay little attention to whether the
stove recipients understand how to successfully use and maintain their new stove.

When abandoned and broken stoves are tossed aside, clean cook stove projects get a bad reputation—why many stove projects are not being supported in developing countries. And yet, using a clean cook stove is one of the most effective ways to protect the respiratory health of women and their families; reduce firewood use by 70%, which improves family economies while saving trees on the hillsides; and eliminate 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere each year they are used.

Here's an example of the problem. In a recent project in a village on the shores of Lake Atitlan, more than 80 stoves, identical to those installed by TRL, were donated by a large international organization. The members of the organization visited for a few days, dropping off the stoves in the homes of local families. As one of the visitors reported: “The Maya people were all smiles, even though we couldn’t communicate a word because we didn’t speak the same language.” He returned home feeling satisfied that he had done a charitable act. But the language barrier meant there was no in-depth instruction as to how to use the stoves and no follow-up to make sure they were being used and maintained successfully. Many of the stoves were abandoned or chopped apart, with only the metal stove top remaining, and the rest being sold. Unfortunately, this sad story is repeated all around the world with the result that cook stove projects are not that popular among large donors.

This is why we at TRL are celebrating! Using constant feedback from our community, we have
perfected our stove adoption education process, which includes an initial orientation and follow-up with our recipients during the first installation year. This year, we reached 100% successful adoption of all stoves installed. During our visitation program, we found that every installed stove has been fully functioning and cherished by its owners! Yes, it has taken TRL some time to achieve this goal, but with community confidence in TRL’s team, our message has been heard and assimilated by our stove owners, empowering them to feel good about how they are using their stoves, not only to benefit their families, but also to Help the Earth, in Tz’utujil dialect,Tu’ik Ruch Lew.

Your support is what makes all of this possible! Please share our pride in the important results, for people and the planet, that your donations have accomplished.

Gratefully, Candis Krummel

 Stay tuned for our next report when we will focus upon our process.


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Before: an open fire for cooking
Before: an open fire for cooking


This year has been very good to us here at Tu'ik Ruch' Lew (TRL).  Our clean cookstove project has continued to progress.  Although COVID-19 is still with us, most restrictions have been either reduced or lifted.  The TRL team has been meeting with potential beneficiaries again and stove installation is moving forward at a rapid pace.  We have installed 97 stoves since February 2022.

To meet the increasing demand for stoves, a new Technical Adaptation Specialist (TAS) has joined the TRL team, and, occasionally, our accountant volunteers to help with installations. We’re  proud that the members of our staff will pitch in wherever they are most needed. TRL received a grant for 162 stoves this year, so having a four-person team for installations, rather than a two-person team, has been extremely helpful.  We are already more than halfway toward meeting our installation goal. 

If you’ve been following our GlobalGiving updates, you will know that typically, when the rains begin in May, interest in clean cookstoves drops off. This is the time of year when families need to save their money to buy food—the next harvest won’t be in until August. However, this year, the demand for stoves has continued, and even grown.  Families are finding that having an efficient, clean cookstove helps them save money. The cookstove uses 70% less firewood than the traditional three-stone fire still being used in most Tz’utujil Maya homes around Santiago Atitlan. Reportedly in the double-digits, inflation has hit Guatemala hard. 

There have been some bumps in the road. A problem with the quality of a recent batch of stoves raised concerns about the manufacturing process. Isabel, our TAS, hitched a ride to the stove factory, when we sent a truck to pick up 40 stoves. She wanted to see if she could figure out what was causing the problem. While the truck was being loaded, Isa talked with the men who make the stoves. The men were surprised, but pleased, that someone was so interested in what they do.  We believe that the problem lies with not letting the cement completely dry. And in the rainy season, that means a delay in delivery. We’re having a similar delay with our hand-made replacement combustion chambers…this exceptionally wet and long rainy season has made it nearly impossible to produce the clay pieces, which must be dried in the sun before being fired.

Without your continuing support, none of our success would be possible. We send you wishes for a lovely Autumn along with our heartfelt thanks!

Warm Regards, 

The TRL Team

After: the ONIL stove is installed
After: the ONIL stove is installed


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Making the first tortillas on the new stove
Making the first tortillas on the new stove


Itching to finally get out of my town in the USA, I schedule a two-week trip to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, to spend some time with the Team. After many months of COVID shutdown in Guatemala, the Team has finally been able to get out to visit potential clients and to install and repair clean cookstoves. They have set the goal of installing 162 stoves this year, and thanks to the support of donors, they are well on their way.

I visited the TRL office, met the Team members, and went on an actual installation. On another day, I traveled with the Team to a neighboring village, San Pedro La Laguna, a 20-minute boat ride across beautiful Lake Atitlan. There, TRL had scheduled an orientation with eight Tz’utujil Maya women who were interested in finding out more about the cookstove project and the “do’s and don’ts“ when using one of these unique stoves. 

During the orientation, Isabel, the Technical Adaptation Specialist (TAS), gave a thorough presentation with plenty of time to answer many questions. She explained that families who decide to get a clean cookstove are participating in an environmental project to "take climate action now." The cookstove will immediately improve their air quality, reduce the amount of firewood they need, and help save the region’s forests, but only if they commit to use it in the way that is was carefully designed to be used. Sometimes people mistakenly think that they are "buying the stove" and can do whatever they want with it...including chopping open the front so that they can continue to burn big logs!

After the presentation, all eight women wanted to have a stove. Thanks to donor support, TRL can provide these cookstoves at a greatly reduced price. The Team had just enough time that afternoon to visit the homes of four of the families; they installed those stoves the following Monday. By now, the stoves requested by the other four families have also been installed. 

I've also been informed that on the first follow-up visits after installation, every stove is being used properly and greatly appreciated by the new owners. This continual follow-up is what sets TRL apart from other stove projects, where the stoves are just dropped off and never visited again.  

If you are also itching to get away, I recommend you consider a trip to Santiago Atitlan. The Team encourages TRL donors and other interested visitors to Guatemala to come out to the Lake and go on a "clean cookstove tour." I can't begin to tell you how fascinating it is to see first hand the important work is doing.They are truly taking Climate Action Now!

Staff in the bodega with stoves
Staff in the bodega with stoves
TRL stove demo reunion
TRL stove demo reunion
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Organization Information

Asociacion Tu'ik Ruch' Lew

Location: Santiago Atitlan, Solola - Guatemala
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jessica Kind
Santiago Atitlan , Guatemala
$28,128 raised of $40,000 goal
223 donations
$11,872 to go
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