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Cookstoves save lives and trees

Open Fire Cooking

Open-fire cooking

In Guatemala, 5 million people live in rural villages. Women in these villages cook on indoor open fires. This causes many problems:

  • Women spend hours each day collecting firewood.
  • Carrying heavy loads of wood causes chronic back pain.
  • Already scarce trees are cut for firewood.
  • Painful burns are common for women and children.
  • Smoke causes lung infections and cancer, heart disease, asthma and eye disease.

The Stove Solution

A fuel-efficient cookstove, designed by Guatemalan scientists and social workers, solves the problems:

  • Requires only 25% as much wood as an open fire
  • Takes smoke out of the house through a stovepipe
  • Reduces carbon monoxide and fine particles in the air by as much as 80%
  • Protects women and children from burns

Made from native materials, each stove costs only $100. A family provides $14 toward their stove; a widow provides $7.

new cook stove

Fuel-efficient cookstove

Antonia's Story

Antonia Catarina used to cook on an open fire. "My husband always thought I was crying because I missed him not being back from the fields," she teases, laughing. "But really I was crying from the wood smoke in my eyes."

Now her family has a new cookstove, which takes the smoke out of the house. And it uses only 4 or 5 sticks of wood, rather than the 12 to 15 sticks for an open fire.

Like everyone who has received a new stove, Antonia is amazed and grateful.