Justa stove project - saving carbon, improving lives in Guatemala and El Salvador
Every month Stovesonline subsidises one Justa stove in Guatemala or El Salvador. This saves 7.5 metric tons of CO2 over 7.5 years and improves local people's lives.
The CO2 saved goes towards offsetting the emissions that result from our deliveries. Our courier deliveries via P4d are actually also automatically carbon neutral via Oxford tree green.
A smoky and inefficient open fire
Open fires are used for cooking by many families in Guatemala and El Salvador. Many of these families only have access to wood as their fuel source and cannot afford to buy electric or gas stoves - so there is no alternative. There are several problems caused by cooking over open wood fires, two main ones are:
- Respiratory, eye, and other health problems are caused by the smoke.
- The fires are inefficient, which means more fuel is needed, and this leads to deforestation. Deforestation results in increased global CO2 levels which in turn contributes to global warming.
The Justa stove
A fuel efficient stove called the Justa stove has been developed by Trees, Water & People (TWP, a charity working in Central America), the Aprovecho Research Center, the Honduran Association for Development (AHDESA), and Do Justa Nuz - a Honduran woman who helped design her namesake stove. The stove uses up to 70% less fuel than the open wood fires and because the design and materials used are simple it can be made locally, using local materials, and adapted to meet local needs. Because it uses less fuel, the Justa stove decreases deforestation - deforestation is a major cause of global warming.
Do Justa Nuz who helped design the Justa stove
Building a Justa stove
The Justa stove is relatively simple in design, can be made easily by local people in a day or less using locally available materials. The new owners of the stove have to contribute materials to the building of the stove and can get involved too. This gives them a personal investment in the stove, making them more likely to take good care of it.
Building the "Rocket elbow" combustion chamber
Getting involved in building a Justa stove
Benefits of the Justa stove
Each stove saves 7.5 metric tons of CO2 over a 7.5 year period. Each stove saves an average of 1 metric ton of carbon emissions per year. Each stove has a lifespan of 7.5 years which translates into a saving of 7.5 tons of CO2.
Each stove saves 78 cubic meters of firewood over a 7.5 year period. Justa stove users in Guatemala reported an average of 6.4 cubic meters of firewood needed per year to cook on the Justa stove, down from an average of 16.8 cubic meters before converting to a Justa stove. The reduced levels of deforestation also help locals because the forests prevent erosion, and protect water supplies and wildlife habitat.
Justa stoves improve health. Because the Justa stove has a chimney and more efficient combustion, people cooking on them are exposed to approximately 80% less smoke . The stove is also safer in design so children are less likely to be burnt by it.
Justa stoves improve wealth Because the Justa stove uses less wood this also saves the family money. On average this translates into a savings of around $13.50/month, which may represent up to 20% of a family's monthly income.
Who gets the Justa stove?
We like TWP's approach because the train local people how to build, maintain and use the stove themselves. Word then spreads about how good the improved stove is so that there is often a waiting list.
TWP does not just give the Justa stove away either - they are subsidised instead: around 78% of the cost is covered in Guatemala and 66% in El Salvador. This means that when the people end up with their stove that they value it highly and also does not damage the local economy by releasing lots of free goods into the market.
The minimum criteria for eligibility are that:
- The family be poor, generally subsistence farmers.
- The women demonstrate commitment to the project by attending project meetings and obtaining the materials they are required to donate in kind, e.g. sand, wood ash or pumice rock, and clay.
Priority is given to women that fit any of the following criteria:
- Single mothers (in many cases their husbands have abandoned them).
- Suffer from respiratory problems due to smoke inhalation.
- Cook all day to sell tortillas.
- Live in areas where deforestation is particularly severe.
- Volunteer to plant trees.
Learn more and donate
You can read more about Trees Water People stove projects here and donate to the project or subsidise a stove to offset your CO2 emissions.
Justa stove testimonials
The stove has turned out great for me. It takes patience to learn how to use it, but it's worth it.
It cooks everything. The smoke has disappeared from my kitchen. It has lots of advantages.
I'm thrilled with it."
Yolanda Venegas of El Conacaste, San Lorenzo, Ahuachapan, El Salvador
We would like to thank you for your help with the stoves. We really like them."
Catalina Gil of Pinula, Tiquisate, Escuintla, Guatemala.
The stove works great. I love it because it saves on firewood."
Maria Julia Ramirez of Las Posas, Colonia San Jose, Ahuachapan, El Salvador