Coastal Guatemalan Community Gets Cooking

A mother in Guatemala is busy making her family tortillas.

A mother in Guatemala is busy making her family tortillas.

Sandra López recently opened her remote coastal home to EcoLogic. Sandra is a mother and one of several community members in the town of San Juan, Izabal in Guatemala to have received EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stove to replace her open-pit fire. EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stoves reduce pressure on nearby forests by using less firewood and have chimneys that channel harmful smoke outside the home and away from her children. For those who have only used open-pit fires, the stoves can take some getting used to.

“Cooking on an open fire is less work. All you have to do is put down some logs and light a fire, however, it is inefficient and hazardous,” explains Gabriela Gonzalez, EcoLogic’s Interim Regional Director. This is why a key aspect of EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stove program includes requiring families to attend a workshop on the benefits and maintenance of these stoves. As a new stove recipient, Sandra attended a day-long training where she was particularly struck by the health benefits. “Yes, the old way of doing things might be easier and quicker to cook, but my children can be harmed,” said Sandra explaining why she so readily adopted the fuel-efficient stove.

EcoLogic’s workshops are a way to expose families and communities to the long-term benefits of a fuel-efficient stove. These trainings are also meant to support families in adopting new practices so that they incorporate the use of the stoves into their daily lives, thus increasing the uptake, continuing usage, and durability of the stoves.