Photo of the Week: Clean Cookstoves Save Lives

Three billion people around the world still cook every meal over an open, smoky fire. This leads to two million deaths every year, mostly among women and children. Clean cookstoves replace open fires, greatly reducing indoor air pollution and deforestation in developing countries. Cooking shouldn’t kill! (Photo: A mother and her child with their new Justa clean cookstove in Honduras.)



From El Salvador, with Love

We recently received this beautiful letter from Sara Gale, a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in the rural village of Rio Abajo, El Salvador, who we trained to build clean cookstoves as part of our partnership with the Peace Corps and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. This letter is a reminder of how important our work is to families who live each day in a state of energy poverty, with no access to basic energy. We are honored to work with Sara and all the other PCVs who are dedicating years of their life in service to others. Thank you, Sara!

Dear Trees, Water & People,

On behalf of my community in rural El Salvador I want to thank you all for your amazing and generous work. We enjoyed having Sebastian, Elliot, and Ken visit in August. I believe that they saw how in love the families are with their Estufas Justas! The work that you guys do to design, monitor and re-design is so valuable to so many people of the world. Although I see the stove as perfect now, I’m certain with your help it will be even closer to perfection in the years to come. Thank you for making this work your life passion; it was obvious by the enthusiasm, expertise and experience of Sebastian in improved cookstoves that my community of Río Abajo is in great hands with Trees, Water & People. Although my end of service is in March of the coming year I hope to extend in my site a year longer to be able to monitor the 41 stoves in my project and hopefully build 60 more in a second phase in the coming months. We are currently working on getting replacement planchas up in the community, as that thickness of sheet metal isn’t sold anywhere near here. I’m looking forward to continuing my work here for an extra year and to seeing how each household continues to care for and appreciate their Estufa Justa.

¬°Gracias de Corazon!

Sara Gale y Los Miembros de Río Abajo

Notes from the Field: Haiti Clean Cookstove Program Expanding Reach

by Sebastian Africano, International Director

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Jean Gabriel and Sebastian Africano lead a Zanmi Pye Bwa clean cookstove vendor forum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Trees, Water & People’s Haiti Program Manager, Jean Gabriel, continues to deliver in Port-au-Prince, expanding the Zanmi Pye Bwa (ZPB) sales force to include vendors in four other Haitian cities.¬† In the past few months, hundreds of these clean cookstoves have been sold, and prototyping work has started on a new double burner cookstove.¬† From our years of work in the sector, we know that replacing one burner in a biomass fuel-dependent household only solves half the problem.

clean cookstoves Haiti
Clean cookstoves ready for Haitian families to use!

The double burner model we are developing is two fuel-efficient charcoal stoves in one body ‚Äď a solution not currently offered in the Haitian marketplace, apart from those we sell through our vendors.¬† Our current goal is to bring the cost of this unit down while keeping quality and durability high.¬† Purchasing power in Haiti‚Äôs urban areas is still low, so we work to educate people on how an investment like this pays for itself in a matter of weeks in fuel savings alone.¬† Results with lay-away and micro-credit have been growing ‚Äď we know that once the stove is in a users hands, they will not want to return to their previous stoves.

Our donors are what drives the successes of this cookstove program.  Our long-term goals are to make the ZPB a locally owned product, manufactured, marketed and sold by a network of local entrepreneurs.  We are far enough down the road to know that the product is solid and sought after, and now we are focusing on how to make the venture sustainable.  This includes developing a robust market for replacement parts, compiling a network of artisans who can repair and refurbish the stove, and organizing all these entrepreneurs under a common banner, knowing that this gives our program the best chance of expanding long after we are gone.

The challenge is big, and we can only tackle it with your help.  Thank you for your support!

>>To make a donation to this project click here.<<

Notes from the Field: Peace Corps Collaboration Brings Hundreds More Cookstoves to El Salvador

by Elliot Cooper, International Program Coordinator

gathering firewood_ElSalvador
In developing countries like El Salvador, where many people lack access to basic energy infrastructure, women must spend hours each week collecting fuelwood to cook their family meals. (Photo by Sebastian Africano)

For being slightly smaller than Massachusetts, El Salvador has a myriad of different cultures, socioeconomic realities, and geographic features. We’re now on our last day in this wonderful country, having spent three very long work days out in the field, observing, facilitating, questioning, smiling, and laughing.

We headed out early on our 1st field day, leaving San Salvador with our in-country counterparts Arboles y Agua para el Puelo (AAP) a bit before 7:30am. We drove east along the main artery of El Salvador until we hit San Miguel, and then turned north for an hour before running into San Francisco Gotera. From here, we took our vehicle out of two wheel drive and went into 4×4 mode as we headed up into the hills to meet with our first Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), Andrew Niiro, who is facilitating the building of Justa clean coookstoves in his community of Gualindo Arriba located high in the hills above Gotera.

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Elliot Cooper (left) presents Andrew Niiro with his Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) tiles for the clean cookstoves he has built in his community in El Salvador.

Andres, as everyone calls him, has built more than 20 clean cookstoves, as part of the Peace Corps and TWP’s work with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) “Improving Access to Clean Energy in Latin America” initiative.¬† After we met Andres’ community counterpart Rosa Gonzalez, we had a quick meeting to introduce parties and move through the formal motions of Latin American culture.¬† We presented Rosa and Andres with their official ECPA tiles (a 15×15 cm tile shown in the photo below) that they will adhere to every Justa stove built within the project.

This first year, AAP has been charged with building 300 stoves, as with the next two years, making 900 in total. With our fiscal year ending on September 30th, AAP has entered more than 10 communities and constructed more than 275 Justa clean cookstoves, which will offset more than 1,650 tons of carbon emissions during their lifetimes. This number is impressive, but even more so when you think about the reality of AAP’s monetary limitations, the harsh roads of the country, and the amount of time that goes into training local stove builders, teaching stove beneficiaries how to correctly use their cookstoves, and monitoring activities down the line that will ensure successful use and maintenance of the cookstoves.

peace corps clean cookstoves_el salvadorWe had a great time- albeit sweating profusely- out in the Eastern region of El Salvador, visiting another community hosting a PCV invested in the Justa cookstove project, and then hit the road for our four hour journey back to San Salvador. Over the next two days, we headed north towards the Honduran border, meeting up with yet another PCV implementing a project of more than 40 clean cookstoves, and then to the West to see some reforestation and dry composting latrine projects.

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A community reforestation event in El Salvador brought all ages out to help plant seedlings in the local area. (Photo by Sebastian Africano)

Today, we will help inaugurate the new Renewable Energy Training & Demonstration Center in Tegucigalpa at 10am MST. Stay tuned for updates!

First Look! The National Center for Biomass Energy & Climate Change

National Center for Biomass Energy and Climate Change_Nicaragua
Click image to enlarge

We are working with our long-time NGO partner, Prole√Īa, in Nicaragua, to establish the National Center for Biomass Energy & Climate Change near La Paz Centro, Nicaragua.

The Center will be an educational resource where communities can learn about managing forests, renewable energy, cleantech, and clean cookstoves. In addition to the core training, we will develop the Center as a global facility, where people from around the world will be empowered with the skills that will help them adapt to climate change in their region.

Features of the National Center for Biomass Energy & Climate Change:

  • Biomass Forest Plot
  • Classrooms for Trainings & Workshops
  • Clean Cookstoves & Fuel-Efficient Kilns
  • 2kW Photovoltaic System
  • Cleantech Products
  • Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Demos
Nicaragua Climate Change Center
Click image to enlarge

Photo of the Week: Clean Cookstoves for La Bendici√≥n, Guatemala

clean cookstove Guatemala
25 families in the rural communities of La Bendici√≥n and Nuevo Todos Santos received two-burner clean cookstoves with the help of our partners at Asociaci√≥n de Forester√≠a Comunitaria de Guatemala Ut’z Che’.

“Forests Forever” Newsletter Now Available!

Please feel free to download and share our newest edition of “Forests Forever”, Trees, Water & People’s bi-annual newsletter. This edition has lots of great updates on our programs and inspiring stories from the field. We hope you enjoy! To learn more about TWP please visit

Photo of the Week: Clean Cookstoves in the Honduran Highlands

Honduras clean cookstoves
A young Lenca girl stands next to her family's Justa clean cookstove, which reduces fuelwood consumption by 75% and removes up to 90% of indoor air pollution in the home. (Photo by Jon Becker 2012)

From the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves website: “Igniting Change is designed as a comprehensive vision for the cookstove sector to achieve universal adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels. The strategy charts three critical pillars of activity ‚Äď enhancing demand, strengthening supply and fostering an enabling environment as key components of a thriving market for clean cookstoves and fuels.¬† Igniting Change will serve as a blueprint for donors, the private sector, implementers, researchers, the United Nations and policymakers that outlines a combination of policy and actionable programmatic levers to catalyze the sector.”

Photo of the Week: The Two-Burner Ugandan Clean Cookstove

Uganda clean cookstove project
This two-burner cookstove model will soon be in the homes of Ugandan vanilla farmers as part of a project between Trees, Water & People and Rodelle

Read more about the Uganda clean cookstove project here and here.