500 More Clean Cookstoves in Guatemala

By Sebastian Africano, Executive Director

Since 2006, Utz Che’ has been a tireless advocate for over 40 indigenous Guatemalan communities committed to protecting and sustainably managing their forest resources. Utz Che’ acts as a loudspeaker for indigenous causes and concerns, which are otherwise easily dismissed from the public discourse and policy-making dialogues.

Trees, Water & People (TWP) was introduced to Utz Che’s leadership in 2010 and has worked with them to add fuel-efficient cookstove technology to their services to reduce pressure on the local forests from which fuelwood is harvested, as well as reduce indoor air pollution. After several years of prototyping designs with Utz Che’ communities and Guatemalan manufacturers, last year we embarked on the full-scale implementation of 500 clean cookstoves manufactured by two local enterprises — ECOCOMAL and Estufa Doña Dora. The project was so successful that this year we are raising funds to install 500 more in high-need communities.

Learning about the new Doña Dora stove
In 2016, this community in southern Guatemala received Doña Dora stoves and were all trained by Doña Dora employees on how to install, use, and maintain their new clean cookstoves.

The cookstove models selected for this project are partially pre-manufactured for consistency but are installed in a brick and mortar body constructed by trained community members. In 2016, this included 159 men and 371 women. Hands-on training in installation, use, and maintenance of the stoves increases local investment in the program through sweat equity and allows community members to become more intimate with the technology. Community engagement improves the local support network around the cookstoves.

New clean cookstove in Guatemala
This woman in southern Guatemala uses her clean cookstove that was built last year to make tortillas for her family.

Cooking is a very personal tradition in Central America, so new technologies must be able to cook the same foods, with the same fuels, in the same amount of time as the traditional designs if they are to be accepted by all members of society. Trees, Water & People’s years of expertise, coupled with a locally fine-tuned design, and the trust and rapport that Utz Che’ has with its member communities make for an extraordinarily effective, participatory, and meaningful partnership.

If you would like to help us build clean cookstoves in Guatemala, or would like to learn more about the importance of this project, click the button below.

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Spots Still Available on the 2011 EcoTour!

Join us for the 2011 EcoTour to Guatemala; the adventure of a lifetime!  Experience our international community development programs through an exciting hands-on adventure in beautiful Central America.

“It was not until my hands-on experience that I truly came to appreciate the far-reaching effect my contributions had in assisting this wonderful organization to pursue their mission … I was able to observe the needs of the Nicaraguan and Honduran people first hand and to experience the sense of hope a new stove brought to the women and children.”
-Tim Holzheimer, EcoTour Participant

The 2011 EcoTour will visit both cultural sites as well as Trees, Water & People’s project sites, where you will have the opportunity to plant trees and build fuel-efficient cookstoves with members of the communities we serve.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Guatemala and all the rich culture it has to offer!  For more information on how you can sign-up please call Claudia at (970) 484-3678 or email claudia@treeswaterpeople.org.

EcoTour 2009 participants help build a fuel-efficient Justa stove for a family in Guatemala. (Photo by Don Usner)

Partnership for Clean Indoor Air Interviews TWP

The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) just published their monthly newsletter, with a full-length interview on page 7 from TWP’s Deputy International Director, Sebastian Africano, about our fuel-efficient stove program.  Enjoy!

TWP Celebrates 10th Birthday on Earth Day

For the last 10 years, every day has been Earth Day for one organization in Fort Collins. So fittingly on April 22nd, Trees, Water & People will celebrate its 10th birthday on the same day as the global environmental observance known as Earth Day.

Co-founders Stuart Conway and Richard Fox began Trees, Water & People (TWP) with the mission to improve people’s lives by helping them to conserve, protect, and manage the natural resources upon which their long term well-being depends. Together with the help of a dedicated staff and Board of Directors, Conway and Fox have delivered impressive results with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Internationally, TWP has built 25,000 fuel-efficient cook stoves throughout Central America and Haiti, preventing more than 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into our atmosphere. Compared to traditional open fire stoves, the improved stove uses 70% less wood, vents 90% of the toxic smoke out of the home, and reduces carbon emissions by a minimum of 1 metric ton per year. In 2005, TWP’s fuel-efficient stove project won the prestigious Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy presented in London by HRH Prince Charles. Other work in Central America includes the planting of more than 2 million trees and the creation of 7 tree nurseries to aid in reforestation efforts.

Work with Native American families on Tribal lands has also been a focus of TWP. They have installed more than 200 efficient solar heating systems on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations in South Dakota as part of their Tribal Lands Program. The solar heaters warm homes during frigid winter months while reducing energy bills by 20-30% for 2-3 decades. In 2007, TWP helped establish Lakota Solar Enterprises; one of the first and only 100% Native American owned and operated renewable energy businesses. In addition, TWP has conducted nearly 30 renewable energy workshops and demonstration installations on 10 reservations across the Great Plains.

On the regional level, TWP provides training and organizational support for watershed protection groups. With a focus on leadership development and fundraising, they offer workshops, individual training, staff evaluations, capacity building, and outreach assistance to the grassroots organizations working to preserve the quality and quantity of the water in the arid West.

This spring, TWP’s local Clean Energy Program will unveil its new SunMobile. This innovative traveling education tool will travel to Northern Colorado schools and community events educating students and residents about clean, renewable energy. The Clean Energy Program is also busy helping to install a 10kW photovoltaic system on the new Bethke Elementary as part of our “Renewables on Schools” initiative. This unit will provide about 10% of the building’s power during the school year and all of it during the summer months.

Over the past 10 years, Trees, Water & People has accomplished great things and looks forward to continuing their commitment to living every day like it’s Earth Day

Here are some numbers from the last ten years:

2,000,000 trees planted
+175,000 tons of carbon offset by fuel-efficient stoves
+115,000 people with reduced indoor air pollution
+25,000 fuel-efficient stoves built
+850 natural wind-breaks & shade trees planted
+202 watershed protection groups assisted
+200 solar heating systems installed
+175 local tree plantings organized
+97 watershed protection trainings hosted
+28 renewable energy workshops hosted
+10 tribal lands with renewable energy applications installed
+8 successful annual fundraising events
+7 international tree nurseries established
+3 outdoor science classrooms created with the City of Fort Collins
+1 SunMobile – traveling energy education for Northern Colorado

= One Organization Working For A Sustainable Future