Over the past year, I have been researching and building different smokeless stove designs along with investigating the use of their byproduct, charcoal, as an organic soil amendment. With this information, I traveled to Calhuitz, Guatemala along with 12 other students to lead an education and integration project focused on efficient cook stoves. In our month stay, we were successful in designing, testing, and integrating a cookstove design that produced hardly any smoke, could be built with local materials for under 10 dollars, and used 80% less wood than a traditional chimney stove. Our first step was to educate the community about the negative impacts of open stoves on the environment and health. To do this, we gave lectures in Spanish (translated into the Mayan dialect) to large groups of community members at local meetings. Next, we surveyed 15 families about their home situation, the type of stove they were using, and any problems associated with it. This step was used to assess the need for the new innovation. After meeting with the community's health committee and receiving their approval for integration, we began building the stove design, which consisted of two large pots and 14 cement blocks. In our last week there, we built 4 stoves in the homes of people that were identified as being in greatest need. To make the project sustainable, we taught the community leaders how to build and use the stove and left them manuals, education materials and building materials (enough for 10 stoves).
3 billion people worldwide still depend on inefficient cook stoves; 2 million of these people die annually due to smoke related COPD, bronchitis, pneumonia, lung cancer and acute respiratory infection.
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