TWP Participating in 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Since 2002, TWP has worked with the Peace Corps in El Salvador to train hundreds of volunteers in reforestation and clean cookstove techniques.

Trees, Water & People (TWP) will be participating in this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival as a part of the Peace Corps theme of the festival, which will commemorate and celebrate the service and accomplishments of Peace Corps Volunteers during the agency’s first fifty years.  At the Festival, TWP will be demonstrating several clean cookstoves, including building a Honduran Justa cookstove each day. They will also have tree seeds from Central America, Guatemalan masks, indigenous handicrafts, and traditional clothing on display.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exposition of living cultural heritage annually produced outdoors on the National Mall of the United States in Washington, D.C., by the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The event is free and open to the public.

 

Kelsey Stamm, a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador, helps tend to seedlings in one of TWP’s Salvadoran tree nurseries.

Notes from the Field: The Two-burner Zanmi Pye Bwa Cookstove

By Sebastian Africano, Deputy International Director

June 14, 2011: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Our Haiti team continues to innovate in response to feedback from cookstove users, who continually request a second clean cookstove to replace both traditional stoves in their household kitchens.  Like any home in the world, people use two burners simultaneously to prepare various parts of their meal at once.  Users with larger families also commonly request a larger version of our stove for bigger pots.  The two-burner stove solves both these issues at once, providing families two burners in one stove body that is 30% more efficient than a traditional cookstove.

Local Haitian tinsmiths (L to R: Revalcy Marcelin, Aril Avril, Gaston Michel, Mercilien Wilson) show off their latest masterpiece: The Two-burner Zanmi Pye Bwa Cookstove. Made by Haitians, for Haitians.

To learn more about TWP’s work in Haiti click here.

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Why is cooking killing people?

Source: World Health Organization (WHO), 2002

The statistics are staggering: nearly 2 million people, mostly women and children, die each year from indoor air pollution.  Imagine cooking over an open fire, all day long, inside your home.  Cooking shouldn’t kill!

Cooking with wood over an open fire fills kitchens with smoke; smoke that contains dangerous levels of particulates and carbon monoxide. This heavy exposure has been likened to smoking five packs of cigarettes a day.  Breathing the toxic smoke from open cooking fires can lead to acute respiratory illness, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Please visit www.treeswaterpeople.org to learn how we are working to reduce indoor air pollution in Central America and Haiti.

 

 

Notes from the Field: A Humbling Journey to Haiti

By Richard Fox, TWP National Director

May 2011: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

While in Port-au-Prince this April I witnessed a city that is still experiencing overwhelming need. Today much of the rubble from thousands of destroyed structures remains where it fell and many people still live in tent communities. Life, though, has been slowly improving and Trees, Water & People (TWP), in partnership with International Lifeline Fund (ILF), is continuing to build low cost, fuel efficient cookstoves that not only lessen the exorbitant price families pay for charcoal, but also help relieve pressure on the disappearing Haitian forest.

After collecting valuable feedback from our stove beneficiaries, TWP and ILF worked together to design the Zanmi Pye Bwa (“Friend of the Forest”) fuel-efficient cookstove. A group of tinsmiths was then brought together to cut and assemble 1,000 Zanmi Pye Bwacookstoves over a six week period. Centralizing production without a factory site is challenging, but allows us to improve standardization of our product while offering these skilled metal workers a positive change of environment – getting them away from rough neighborhoods characterized by burning trash, dilapidated buildings, crowds, and traffic.  All in all, these workers have embarked on what we hope will be an uplifting rise out of poverty, gaining access to steady and dignified employment in what TWP and ILF intend to develop into a significant local charcoal stove manufacturing operation over the next year.

The Zanmi Pye Bwa ("Friend of the Forest") clean cookstove. A joint effort of Trees, Water & People and International Lifeline Fund.

I was greatly humbled by my journey and it reminded me once again to be thankful for all I have.  It was heartening to see how effective TWP and ILF are at utilizing our donors’ contributions and to witness the positive and lasting impact our work is having for thousand of Haitian families.

Cooking shouldn’t kill!

Click here to learn more about how Trees, Water & People (TWP) is addressing environmental and health problems, such as Indoor Air Pollution (IAP), in Central America and Haiti.

Interesting Reading: Biomass Cookstove Technical Report

As part of his work with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), Sebastian Africano, TWP’s Deputy International Director, helped contribute to this report.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) offices of Policy and International Affairs (PI) and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) held a meeting on January 11–12, 2011, to gather input on a proposed DOE research and development (R&D) program to address the technical barriers to cleaner and more fuel-efficient biomass cookstoves. The nearly 80 participants at the meeting evaluated DOE’s proposed goals, identified the major research challenges, and defined pathways toward technology solutions.

Building Clean Cookstoves in Haiti

Trees, Water & People, in partnership with International Lifeline Fund (ILF), is helping Haitian families displaced by the earthquake rebuild their lives by launching a fuel-efficient cookstove project in Port-au-Prince which will produce much needed employment and allow families to safely prepare food, purify water, and save money.

Currently, our International team is supporting the manufacture of 1,000 fuel-efficient charcoal stoves for a pilot project, working with 10 local metal workers at the ILF compound in Port-au-Prince. Take a look at the process in the slideshow below:

Notes from the Field: Reflections from Africa to Haiti

Notes from the Field by Sebastian Africano, TWP’s Deputy International Director:

April 21st, 2011: Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Sebastian Africano hanging out with a group of children in the Bugonia district of Uganda.

As we begin to wrap up our Spring 2011 site visits, we begin to reflect on all that has passed since we left Fort Collins several weeks ago.  My adventure began in Kenya in late February, where I spoke at the 2011 UNEP Sasakawa Prize Ceremony in celebration of this year’s laureates and the International Year of the Forest.  This was followed by a 2-week trip to Uganda, where along with Fort Collins based partners, Rodelle Vanilla, we launched what will become TWP’s first African stove program.  Soon after we found ourselves in Guatemala, traveling the country meeting with potential new partners in the country’s Altiplano, and then El Salvador, where we visited our partner Agua y Arboles para El Pueblo’s (AAP) new projects in communities surrounding an important protected area, Cerro El Aguila.  This trip was punctuated by visits to their spectacular tree nursery, which is teeming with 28 species that will be planted throughout the country this rainy season.  This journey will end 10 days from now in Haiti, where we are halfway into a visit with partners International Lifeline Fund (ILF) in Port-au-Prince, and working hard to get our urban stove commercialization project off the ground.

Sebastian Africano (R) and a local Haitian metal worker take a break from stove building.

Upon arrival to Haiti, and with the invaluable support of stove design consultant Brian Martin of Portland, Oregon, we headed into the field to check on stoves distributed 2 months ago, during Brian’s last visit.  We collected valuable feedback from about 20 families, which began a discussion around design modifications, improvements, and production strategies.  We then assembled a group of ten tin-smiths, some of which had worked with Brian and ILF in the past, who have now been contracted to cut and assemble 1,000 cookstoves in the next six weeks.  No small feat, by any measure, but cohesion amongst the team members has been quick to form, and all share ideas, help eachother with challenging pieces, and take time to laugh and joke with us as they work.

Haitian metal workers work on building the Zanmi Pye Bwa (“Friend of the Forest”) fuel-efficient cookstove.

This week has consisted of getting to know our resource and talent pool, bringing in tools, equipment and materials from all over Port-au-Prince to centralize production at ILF’s offices in the capital.  We introduced power tools to the stove production process, which is a break from the norm, but which has increased consistency and speed, allowing us to reach impressive volumes quickly.  The office is now filled with a cacophony of metal-on-metal pings, bangs and crashes, as hundreds of charcoal bowls and other parts roll off the production line.  Centralizing production without a factory site is challenging, but allows us to improve standardization of our product while offering these skilled metal workers a positive change of environment – getting them away from rough neighborhoods characterized by burning trash, dilapidated buildings, crowds and traffic.   All in all, these workers have embarked on what we hope will be an uplifting rise out of poverty, gaining access to steady and dignified employment in what we intend to develop into a significant charcoal stove manufacturing operation over the next year.

Keep your eyes and ears on the Zanmi Pye Bwa (Friend of the Forest) project as it develops, and support TWP by spreading the word as we raise funds to increase our production capacity and impact over the coming months!

*Many thanks to Brian Martin (Working Hands Productions) for the wonderful photos from Haiti.

Sunset over Port-au-Prince