Finding a Better Stove: Cookstove Use in “Last Mile” Villages in Guatemala
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This project aims to explore cooking practice behaviors among indigenous Guatemalan women in select rural villages. Women across Guatemala place their health, and that of their children, at risk every time they prepare a meal for their families. Open fire cooking in unventilated spaces poses an immediate risk of exposure to burns, lower respiratory infections and chronic illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. In addition, as many as 70% of Guatemalan households use wood fuel, a rapidly diminishing resource, as a primary source of energy. This contributes to annual wood deficits and widespread deforestation. One possible solution is clean cooking through Improved cookstove (ICS) adoption. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves suggests ICS is “the key to global development and climate goals” through its substantial impact on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Despite recognition of the need for ICS adoption by the Guatemalan government, it remains an elusive goal particularly, in remote impoverished villages. The people living in “last mile” communities lack access to the most basic infrastructure to improve their livelihoods. This case study aims to characterize a baseline of cooking practices in six rural villages in the northeastern Guatemalan state of Izabal. Using a mixed methods approach, baseline data was collected through observations, interviews and secondary sources and combined with emerging data from cookstove intervention studies and research in culturally distinct definitions of health risks. This project will help inform future program development opportunities and provide recommendations for Improved cookstove adoption. The long-term goal is to support successful adoption of ICS in select villages to promote an expanded demand for ICS that overtime will lead to improved air quality, reduced wood fuel use and increased economic opportunities.
- MA in Policy Studies