Notes from the International Program’s Five Country Work Tour

Here is an update from Claudia Menendez, consultant to TWP’s International Program. Claudia and Sebastian Africano, TWP’s Deputy International Director, have been making their way through Central America, visiting with our partners in each country. After visiting Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Claudia and Sebastian will travel to Haiti to meet with program partners and distribute Rocket stoves to internally displaced Haitians.

“We began our work tour of TWP program countries on April 1st when we landed in Guatemala City. We traveled to Tiquisate with Leonel Jarquin, Mayor of Tiquisate and TWP`s partner in Guatemala. His team has been working on a stoves and trees program for 8 years making a difference with every stove built and tree planted. On the 4th we took the bus to the border of El Salvador, hopped on another one that took us to Sonsonate. The following day we met with Arboles y Agua para el Pueblo (AAP), TWP`s partner in El Porvenir, El Salvador. AAP had plenty to showcase including their nursery with 15 species, and a new prototype dry composting latrine that they hope will get the attention of local government as a sustainable latrine model to replace the current pit latrines that cause major soil contamination over time. Sebastian led a workshop on rocket stove design and principles where we did a hands on building of different size combustion chambers to demonstrate the fuel-efficiency of various sized chambers.

Sebastian Africano (right), TWP's Deputy International Director, at the AAP stove workshop

Currently we’re in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where the social and economic context is full of uncertainty as the nation tries to recover from the June 2009 coup d’etat. There was a peaceful march today organized by groups of campesinos (farmer’s associations) that are requesting a land reform, as well as by other grassroots movements like the Committee for Peace Action, a group of over 200 women, who struggle to gain justice, peace, and truth in Honduras through informal education and hands-on development like planting of kitchen gardens.

With all this happening around us it was very inspiring to see AHDESA, our partner in Honduras, growing as a non-profit and having a major impact on families social, economic and environmental health with the ecofogon and Justa stove programs. Since January they have built over 3,000 stoves making many families, especially the cooks, very happy people. It gives us hope to know that with a simple technology like a fuel-efficient stove we can make a difference to those people who need it most.

Next stop is Managua, Nicaragua!”

Participants at the AAP stove workshop gather for a photo in El Porvenir, El Salvador

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Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to developing sustainable community-based conservation solutions.

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