2012-11 November Newsletter

Ecocina Stove Field Testing Results

This November, two volunteer teams completed Kitchen Performance Testing of Ecocina stoves in San Jose de las Lagrimas, Honduras and El Tigre, Mexico. 

Fifty seven families in San Jose de las Lagrimas, a town located on the border of Guatemala and Honduras, received Ecocina stoves last November.  Upon return, StoveTeam found that every family who had received an Ecocina a year ago still has it in use, and is using 50% less wood. 

StoveTeam believes in continuous testing to improve the stove, and as some of the metal parts are beginning to deteriorate from continuous use, we have asked a local hardware store to search for a source of metal with higher carbon content.  StoveTeam's ultimate goal is to have every part of the stove or cooking surface last for a minimum of five years.

It is important to StoveTeam that the health effects of the stove are monitored, so this year there were a larger number of volunteers with us on our trip to Copan Ruinas.  Additional volunteers included a group from Colorado State University who will be doing a study on the effects of smoke on the human heart. StoveTeam helped them identify two target communities for testing, a bilingual assistant, and supervisory staff. They will be staying in Copan Ruinas for six weeks at a time at six month intervals until the study is complete.  

Other volunteers who joined us were the factory owners from Guatemala (Marco Tulio Guerra) and El Salvador (Gustavo Peña), a representative from the carbon credit company Microsol (Louise Hagler), and two volunteer attorneys (Sam Roberts and Brad Litchfield).   This group was working toward an agreement to receive carbon credits for the Ecocina stoves.

Once the team departed, Nancy took the bus to Guatemala to meet with representatives from Planeterra who are interested in developing a pilot project with Eco-Comal, Marco Tulio's stove factory. This project would provide stoves to homes where Planeterra's adventure tourists stay. If it is successful, it could spread around the world to the 100 countries where the company has a presence.

Nancy then flew from Guatemala to Mexico City where she met with with members of Metepec Rotary to explore the possibility of a stove factory in the State of Mexico.  She then hopped on a bus to San Miguel de Allende to meet the second volunteer team. That group was testing stoves in El Tigre where Ecocina stoves had been introduced in March.  Nearly all of those families have completely stopped using open fires, and are now using small sticks of wood. 

Give the Gift of Stoves This Holiday Season

Each year more than two million people die from diseases caused from smoky indoor cooking fires. A fuel-efficient Ecocina stove eliminates the smoke families breathe when they cook. It reduces harmful emissions by 70% and saves the family at least half the amount of wood used in an open fire. 

By donating a stove in someone's honor, you are giving the gift of health to a family in Mexico and Central America. StoveTeam will send an acknowledgment card on your behalf as your generous gift. Your gift will save the life of a child. Donate today.

Volunteer Spotlight: Bob Way

In the spring of 2008, Bob signed up for the first StoveTeam volunteer trip to Guatemala. Little did Bob know how much it would change his life. Since that time Bob has participated in every StoveTeam trip except one, and he has been the leader of a construction group on every trip. His extensive knowledge of woodworking and construction has been instrumental in the many projects to help the factory owners improve their factories. 

Bob is well-loved and highly valued not only for his skills and experience but for his positive demeanor, quiet leadership, and giving spirit. He now serves on the StoveTeam Advisory Board and has taught many volunteers how to make stoves, in addition to teaching them skills like welding. Volunteers like Bob are the reason we all enjoy our work.

Meet Veronica

Veronica Sanchez, a young woman who lives with her five-year-old daughter Alejandra in El Tigre, Mexico, received an Ecocina in March while her husband was working in the U.S.  This past summer she went to visit her mother who lives some distance away and took the portable Ecocina stove with her.  While visiting, she cooked with her mother on the Ecocina to show her how it worked.  Her Mom liked it so much she asked her to please leave the stove there, but Veronica said, "No, this is my stove, and you'll just need to buy your own!  I can't do without it."

The Ecocina factory Herreria Lupita, located in La Cieneguita (just outside San Miguel de Allende), has set up distribution centers throughout the state of Guanajuato and stoves are now readily available.  To contact factory owners Eric Ramirez and his wife Deyanira, give them a call (in Spanish) at 415-153-9470 or send them an e-mail (in English) to John Doherty at  More information about the factory can be found here.

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