“I have a baby that I carry on my back most of the time when I am cooking. Before, she was breathing all the smoke from the open fire and getting sick all the time. During the last months, since we have our stove, she has been healthier because there is no smoke in the kitchen." - Sandra
[77 families received stoves. Each family has approximately one woman and 2 girls.
Estimated girls & women affected
77 families received stoves, and each family has between 5 and 6 members.
Estimated community members affected
This project of building vented stoves is a component of our integrated approach whose intent is to decrease the high rate of chronic childhood malnutrition in rural Guatemala. Women spend hours a day cooking over an open fire. They and their children suffer from respiratory diseases, burns, and other ailments directly caused by smoke inhalation. Smoke inhibits the flow of oxygen, and therefore vital nutrients, between the mother and unborn children, so babies are born already malnourished.
The project was implemented in the communities of Panibaj and Chipatá, Chimaltenango. We accomplished the following activities.
1. Baseline in the 2 communities. 2. 3 trainings on health problems caused by the smoke produced by the use of open fires to cook, and on the benefits of efficient stoves. 3. 1 training in each community on the importance of the conservation of the environment. 4. 2 trainings in construction and maintenance of the stoves. 5. Construction of 77 efficient stoves. 6. Monitoring of the stoves and the maintenance provided. 7. Feedback meetings with women about the stoves and their use.Benefits: Safety when preparing food; more spare time for other activities for women and girls; reduction of the need of firewood, aiding in efforts to decrease deforestation; smoke free kitchens; and women are skilled to repair their stoves.
Mrs. Sandra Ajuchan said that she and her two daughters now have more time for handicrafts, school, and play because they do not have to spend so many hours collecting firewood every week. “I have a baby that I carry on my back most of the time when I am cooking. Before, she was breathing all the smoke from the open fire and getting sick all the time. During the last months, since we have our stove, she has been healthier because there is no smoke in the kitchen.”
Risks and challenges
1. Women are extremely busy with their home activities. When we plan our training and activities, we have to do so in a way that accommodates their busy schedules. This is a time consuming project, and the families certainly make sacrifices in order to participate.
2. The government policy of social support consists mainly of giving food and cash, without asking for anything in return. We shared the idea that some labor and economic responsibility is a key component of the empowerment process.
3. The communities are very isolated, making them difficult to access by road. This can cause difficulty in delivering the materials, but we have since identified companies that are able to manage the terrain.
What we’ve learned
We have been built thousands of stoves in more than 50 communities. Community members have always been involved at every stage of the process. We have re-designed our stoves based on feedback from the community members, and have settled on a design that is accepted in the communities in which we work. Even so, we continue to evaluate our design and make any modifications that will result in greater efficiency and that addresses concerns that the families may have. In order for our work to be sustainable, we have to work with the communities to develop infrastructure that responds to their stated needs.
Before we started the project, we measured the carbon monoxide levels in each of the kitchens. Once the stoves were installed, we did a second measurement. We will continue to measure the levels of carbon monoxide every six month to ensure that the stoves are functioning properly. We will also deliver trainings on the use and maintenance of the stoves once a year.
We were funded at the level of $11,291. Of those funds, $9,813 were spent in construction materials and $1,473 on training and supervision. We have a balance of $5.
Amount spent so far
Supervision and Training
Safe stoves save lives
November 16, 2014
The project is being executed in the communities of Panibaj and Chipatá, in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. This is part of an integrated approach that addresses access to water and sanitation, as well as family planning. The new stoves are improving the health of 77 women and their children, as well as the rest of their families. The project started in September, and the stoves have since been constructed and are already in use.
The activities we accomplished to date include:
- We established a baseline in both communities
- We provided training on health issues resulting from open fires, and the benefits of better stoves
- We provided training on environmental conservation
- We provided training on stove construction, and their operation and maintenance
- We constructed 77 wood-saving stoves.
And here are some of the positive impacts that the stoves had on women:
- Increased food safety preparation
- Allowed for more available free time for personal activities
- Supports the environment by reducing the need for wood as fuel, and homes are now free from smoke!
Risks and challenges
- Women are very busy with home responsibilities; it is vital that the project activities are well planned to enable their participation.
- Government policy of social support consists mainly of giving food and cash, without asking for anything in return. We shared the idea that some labor and economic responsibility is a key component of the empowerment process.
- The communities are very isolated, making them difficult to access by road. This can cause difficulty in delivering the materials, but we have since identified companies that are able to manage the terrain.
One of the women, Bárbara Liliana, commented that the stove has changed her life. Before, it was very difficult to stay in the kitchen because of the smoke from the open fire. Her eyes were always irritated, she had a chronic cough, and spent a lot of money on wood. Now, with the new stove, the environment in the kitchen is much cooler and fresher, there is no longer any smoke, and she saves on wood. This will benefit her health greatly.
The next steps are to monitor the level of carbon monoxide in the homes in order to verify that the level of smoke has radically decreased or is absent. We also plan to train some women in the community on doing the carbon monoxide monitoring themselves, and to strengthen the trainings on the use and maintenance of the stoves.
The funds are being spent as was proposed. The approved budget included $9,818 for construction materials which have already been purchased and used, leaving a surplus of $5 due to the exchange rate. We included $1,473 for supervision and training expenses, of which $1,012 have been used thus far.
Stoves help boost the health of Mayan women, while keeping them safe and allow Mayan girls more time to be spent in school.
Why we care: Serious respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, lung cancer and chronic pulmonary diseases are one of the primary causes of death among Mayan women.
How we’re solving this: Provide 75 Mayan women in Guatemala's rural highlands with new stoves that allow for proper ventilation of smoke out of the house.
A Mayan woman rises at dawn to prepare food for her family, building a small fire on the floor of her kitchen and frying tortilla on a makeshift stove above it. This scene is repeated in thousands of homes each day in rural Guatemala where safe cook stoves are still scarce.
Having an open fire inside the house is like breathing in 400 cigarettes an hour. The health risks of cooking fires hit women and children particularly hard because they spend so much time inside.
Open fires require at least double the amount of firewood than enclosed stoves. Usually, it is women and their daughters who have to walk great distances to collect firewood, carrying heavy loads that cause permanent injury to their heads and backs.
These fires also lead to frequent burns, especially of children and to serious respiratory diseases, which are a primary cause of death of Mayan women from pneumonia, lung cancer, and chronic pulmonary disease.
The new stoves have a chimney to redirect airflow out of the cooking area, resulting in a reduced amount of smoke inhalation. They are designed to enclose flames and to direct airflow in a way that burns wood slower and hotter, decreasing the amount of wood necessary to prepare a meal. In addition, the new stoves are designed with three burners. This enables women to cook more items at one time decreasing the amount of time spent cooking.
The community has proposed to build 75 new stoves. Community members will contribute roughly 50 percent of the costs. Each family will receive assistance in building their stove. They will participate in a class on basic food health and nutrition, as well as a class on stove maintenance. This will ensure the sustainability of the project. In addition, the women who participate in the construction of the new stoves can use the skills learned for future stove construction and masonry projects.
Your donation will help provide 75 Mayan women in Guatemala's rural highlands with new stoves that allow for cleaner air in their homes. The safe stoves will keep small children away from an open fire. Providing a more efficient stove means families use 70% less wood, which also saves the forests. It allows girls more time to go to school and less on the daily, back-breaking work of gathering wood.
Women who receive a stove are trained by BPD on how to install and use the stove. And they contribute a small portion toward the cost of the stove.
Your donation to this safe stove initiative will help protect 75 Mayan women, their children, and the environment with a practical and urgently needed solution to a dangerous health problem. Please make your gift to BPD today.