Posted by Wendy Adams on May 22, 2019

Guest Speaker Kenneth Sparks of RC Ottawa Bytown spoke from personal experience about the success of this international project. 

Due to the circumstances of poverty, hundreds of thousands of indigenous Mayans in Guatemala continue to cook long hours indoors over wood-burning fires. These fires are often in the room of a home where members of the family sleep, eat and work on a daily basis. Young children and women are exposed to burns from spills and sparks from wood. Cookstove smoke contributes to a wide range of chronic illnesses and health impacts.
In 1999, the first vented cooking stove was designed with adaptations for the cooking methods used in Guatemala at a cost of $300 per stove. 20 stoves were built in that first year and to date 6,817 stoves have improved life for many.
A family that receives an improved cookstove through the Guatemala Stove Project (GSP) is helped in multiple ways including improvements in the health of women and children, safety, environment (less carbon emissions and deforestation) efficiency (burns 50% less wood) and time spent gathering wood. The larger cooking surface allows for a wider variety of foods to be prepared and water can be boiled and used for washing and drinking. Savings in time also allow the women members of a family to engage in a wider variety of income earning activities
To ensure the success of the project, families and community members are directly involved in the installation and maintenance of every stove and education is provided to the community about the harsh effects of smoke exposure to themselves and their children.
Ken invited the involvement of Stittsville Rotarians in 2 ways: a) join the team who goes to Guatemala to build 20 stoves annually for 10 days in February and b) donate funds to the project individually or from the club (10 stoves cost $3,000).