Project #12181

Safe, Energy Efficient Cookstoves in Guatemala

by Hunger Relief International

Since HRI launched it's Safe, Energy Efficient Stove program in late 2012, our goal has been to create an efficient and high impact program that complements our other work to sustainably improve the health and well-being of children and families. One-by-one these stoves are transforming lives and living conditions - while also cooking a perfect tortilla! Win-win-win.

In order to keep winning, our team is constantly working to strengthen the program and reach more families in need. This year our goal is to construct 50 new stoves. Thanks to a generous grant and individual supporters like you, we are happy to report that we are close to reaching half of our goal, but we know we can make even more progress over the next 4 months. We ask that you share your support of our stove program with your family and friends. Every bit of support matters and makes a big difference to a family. 


A beautiful new stove.
A beautiful new stove.

Can you imagine a large open fire burning in the middle of your home nearly all day, every day?

Try to picture the smoke, the ash, the heat, and the smell that would permeate every inch of your home and all of your belongings - and hardly any relief for your lungs. Try to imagine spending hours of each day going long stretches on foot to fetch water and wood and then carrying large loads on top of your head up and down hillsides back to your home.

This is only part of the harsh reality that impoverished families face in the rural dry-corridor of Guatemala - but the health, economic and environmental consequences are so significant it compounds every aspect of life. It is for this reason that HRI developed it's extremely successful Safe, Energy Efficient Stove Program more than 2 and a half years ago. Through education and an improved stove design that maintains important cultural traditions - we have been able to reduce illness, injury and gradual deforestation, while alleviating time and economic burdens for families.

One-by-one these new stoves have improved the well-being and quality of life for more than 100 families. However, we work with many families who still grapple with the challenges of the existing stoves. Visiting these small homes with walls and roofs blackened with soot and the air filled with the heaviness of smoke and ash - drives our on-going effort to reach more families in need. This year our goal is to construct at least 50 new stoves, but we need your help spreading the word. Together we can save lives and trees and help to create a better future for families.

Thank you for your continued support of our Safe, Energy Efficient Stoves!


We are excited to be entering the third year of our Safe, Energy Efficient Stove Project. Over the last 2 years, the tremendous support we have received for this project has allowed us to construct more than 100 cookstoves in 3 different communities. During this time, we have gained a lot of experience and garnered strong community buy-in and enthusiasm for the project, which has enabled us to create a very effective and efficient process for implementing the project in various communities.

In 2015, as we continue to expand the project and reach more families in need of a safe cookstove, we will be maximizing sustainability and long-term positive outcomes through complimentary household-based programs, including:

  • Organic Home Gardens that increase the diversity and availability of nutritious food in the home setting.
  • Water Filters that provide a simple and cost-effective way for families to access clean water.
  • Infant & Toddler Feeding (6-24 months of age) which helps families provide adequate nutrition for their babies during a critical stage of cognitive and physical development.  

Our Safe, Energy Efficient Stove Project is an integral part of a holistic approach to improving immediate and long-term health, economic, and environmental outcomes for whole families and communities. We appreciate your support of our stove project and we want you to know that it is continuing to make a big difference in the lives of many people in need.


Nearly two years ago we launched our Safe, Energy Efficient Stove initiative right here on GlobalGiving and it has grown stove by stove ever since. Thanks to the tremendous support of individual donors like you, as well as churches and foundations, by year's end 96 families will have a new stove and a safer, healthier home in which to live and breathe.

Early on in our work with communities in the Dry Corridor, we identified a critical need for a viable alternative to open-fire cookstoves. We worked diligently to find a solution that would be safer and more efficient, while also culturally acceptable to the population. We knew that for the initiative to be successful people would need to use their new stoves and discontinue use of their unsafe stoves. We are happy to report that this is exactly what has happened and nearly 100% of stove recipients use their new stove exclusively. In addition, over the past 2 years the health and economic benefits of these stoves have been demonstrated and the positive recipient feedback has been overwhelming. Stove by stove, we are looking forward to building on the successes of the past two years and continuing to reach more families and children in 2015!

A very warm thank you for your support, it is truly creating healthier homes and contributing to enduring positive change in communities!


As our clean cookstove initiative continues to expand and reach more vulnerable families in Guatemala, it is important for us to continue following up with families who have already received stoves. This means making sure the stoves are maintained and functioning properly, as well as getting input directly from families on how they like their stove. Families continue to be thrilled and express that they are feeling the benefits both physically and financially. Additionally, this summer we were fortunate to be able to host and get input from a US medical mission team for a second year in a row. They were able to do follow-up respiratory health evaluations on families with new stoves and their findings were amazing! The following quote is from one of the nurses:

"Last year when we did the clinic in Los Chilitos, we saw so many infants and children with profound respiratory issues. When we listened with a stethoscope to the breath sounds of babies and young children, it was like we were listening to adults who had been long-time smokers. We treated multiple kids and adults for pneumonia and restrictive airway disease. I'm thrilled to say this year we had no respiratory issues in Los Chilitos! It is very clear to me that the stoves that have been installed work! By venting the smoke through the chimney, infants, children and adults are able to breathe clean air resulting in healthy lungs. I wish we could quantify the return on the investment - but how do you put a dollar amount on breathing easy and having healthy lungs?! Priceless."

The clean cookstoves are indeed working and your support is allowing us to eradicate serious, but avoidable respiratory illness in vulnerable communities. Let's keep the good momentum going!



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Organization Information

Hunger Relief International

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Rachel Zelon
Tecumseh, OK United States

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