Did you know that 40% of our world’s population cooks over open fire each day? That means that more than a third of the world’s kitchens are unsafe and smoke-filled environments.
I most certainly was not aware of these realities until I started working at StoveTeam International.
This past September, I spent two weeks visiting our factory partners in Guatemala and El Salvador. One especially memorable afternoon was spent in a small community called La Criba, outside of Santa Ana, El Salvador. Upon arrival, the community gathering space was packed with people and at the front of the room, I saw one of our cookstoves poised and ready for action. Gustavo, our Salvadoran factory partner, stepped in front of the crowd and gathered everyone’s attention. For the next 30 minutes, he enthusiastically educated the group on the Ecocina, a safe, affordable and fuel-efficient cookstove that helps families in Central America save money on firewood, ensures clean air in their homes, and protects small children from cooking-related burns. Interest peaked once Gustavo and his wife began to show how perfectly one can make pupusas on this fuel-efficient cookstove, proving to any Salvadoran that the stove is of high value.
Now in our 10thyear, our approach is centered around one word: local. Our four factories, located in El Salvador (est. 2008), Guatemala (est. 2010), Honduras (est. 2010), and Nicaragua (est. 2016), employ local people, utilize local materials, and most importantly provide a local solution to dangerous open cooking fires. At StoveTeam, we envision a world where through education, awareness, and accessibility, no family must sacrifice their health or safety to cook a meal. After 10 years of work, StoveTeam’s partner factories have distributed nearly 70,000 stoves, impacting half-a-million lives.
This holiday season, I encourage you to consider the importance of your kitchen. It is where stories are told, laughter is shared, and meals are enjoyed. With the support of changemakers like YOU, this #GivingTuesday we can provide more families with safe kitchens, just like yours and mine.
Outreach and Development Coordinator