The Guatemala Stove Project

As its first material aid project the Guatemala Adoptive Families Network is collecting funds to benefit the Guatemala Stove Project. The following summary of the project is based on material provided to us by its founders, Ali Ross and Tom Clarke. For complete details on the project including pictures of the work done to date, see their web site.

Also see our 2001 Report from the Guatemala Stove Project, which describes work being done for that year's project, and the use of GAFN's contributions.

The Guatemala Stove Project has been working with families living in the Guatemalan Altiplano since 1999. The project's primary activity is to build masonry cookstoves in smokey shacks where people still cook their food with 3 stone fires. All effort is volunteer and all donations go into the stove materials and hiring local masons to build them. These stoves are critically important to people who live in clouds of toxic wood smoke. Without building stoves there is a high incidence of illness, respiratory disease and vision problems leading to blindness by the age of 40 or so. It is estimated that a masonry cookstove can lengthen a woman's life by about 15 years.

The Stove Project works as partners with CEDEC (Centro De Estudios Para El Desarrollo Y La Cooperacion), a non profit indigenous group from Quetzaltenango (Xela) Guatemala. CEDEC and the Guatemala Stove Project work with women's groups and midwives groups to identify the families who will receive the stoves. The women's groups and midwives address the needs of women in the indigenous community and focus specifically on rural women's issues and the question of how to improve their conditions. The efforts of the Stove Project directly benefit these organizations and the people they work with in the communities there. The administration and the staff in these organizations are indigenous, a very important aspect in the community's acceptance of this work.

The Stove Project built 6 stoves in 1999, 25 in 2000, 200 in 2001, and is building 400 in 2002. The project is seeking additional funds to complement the stove building work by supporting these communities' more immediate needs. For example:

Funds contributed to the Stove Project by Network members will go to satisfy these and other survival needs in the villages where the Stove Project works.