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In 2007, Nancy Hughes and a team of volunteers from the Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club wrote a Rotary matching grant and invented a small portable stove – the Ecocina, which produced almost no smoke and used less than half the wood of an open fire. The Ecocina reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 68% and particulate matter by over 86%. Aprovecho Research Center has verified that the Ecocina is one of the most efficient “rocket stoves” in the world.
In 2008, StoveTeam International began assisting local entrepreneurs to establish sustainable factories to produce Ecocina stoves. The factories, started by using Rotary matching grants, use all local materials and employ only local men and women, important in developing countries where unemployment sometimes exceeds 50%.
In the first year of operation, the demand for the Ecocina was so great that over 4,500 stoves were produced and sold in El Salvador alone. In response, the factory owner helped StoveTeam start additional factories in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. In five years those factories have produced and sold more than 71,620 stoves, improving the lives of more than 537,150 people..
Nancy Sanford Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Eugene Southtowne, Oregon, helped establish Stove Team International, a program that assists local entrepreneurs in creating factories in five Central American countries that make clean, fuel-efficient cookstoves to replace dangerous open cooking fires. The program is now supported by Rotary clubs throughout the United States, Mexico, and Central America.
Nancy Hughes helps save people in the developing world from catastrophic injury by replacing the traditional open cooking fire with an efficient stove. The need for the technology is global. Nearly 3 billion people worldwide cook over dirty, inefficient traditional cookstoves and open fires. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 2 million premature deaths annually are caused by exposure to smoke from those cooking methods, afflicting women and children the most. Household cooking fires constitute one of the top five overall health risks in poor, developing countries and cause twice as many deaths as malaria.
For nearly half the world's population, building and maintaining a fire is a daily -- and often deadly -- chore. In remote villages and city slums, women tend to fires for hours on end, breathing in smoke that is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, according to the World Health Organization. Many of these women have their children close by or strapped to their chest or back, and the dangerous pollutants from the smoke can result in severe damage to their lungs as well.Donate Start a Factory Join a Trip