Saturday, October 31, 2015

More access to clean water leads to better stoves ...

to planting trees ... and to happier women. Here's the logic:

In rural Nicaragua, "cooking" implies at a woman standing over and stoking something very like an open fire. In fact, this stove, on a semi-enclosed porch on a relatively cool day, looks quite pleasant, though it still demands her constant attention.

Sometimes the stove smokes along in an enclosed corner. Women and children often experience high rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Children may be able to gather some kindling. Household members may cut some wood. But roadside wood sellers make a living asking the equivalent of $2 a bundle for this essential fuel. Families' constant demand for firewood contributes to deforestation which in turn leads to erosion and loss of ground water supplies.

So, as El Porvenir helps Nicaraguan communities to help themselves to acquire clean accessible water, an integrated program has drawn the work into reforestation and beyond.

These tiny trees have grown in a community nursery. They are ready to plant.

Families which put in the labor on El Porvenir reforestation projects can receive one of these improved steel top stoves. These use less wood fuel and distribute heat more evenly while venting the smoke out a simple metal chimney pipe. This woman really likes her stove.
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Full disclosure: These photos from my trip to Nicaragua last weekend came to be taken because the El Porvenir board and I were engaged in mutual discernment. Would I be a helpful addition to their number? We decided I would be. So after several years of supporting the vital commuity organizing project, I have been added to the board.
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