The project distributes water filters and stoves that enable access to clean water and improved cooking conditions while increasing fuel efficiency and reducing unhealthy air pollution. Less fuel is needed and filters make it obsolete to boil water before drinking lowering the pressure on forests.
About the project
Given the high prevalence of diarrheal illness and chronic malnutrition, water-borne disease has been deemed a national priority in Guatemala. Over half of the rural population of Guatemala does not have access to water that is free from faecal or chemical contamination. This project, which distributes water filters and cook stoves, enables access to clean water and enhances cooking conditions all the while optimizing fuel efficiency and lowering dangerous indoor air pollution. The demand on national forests is lessened by the improved stove design with less need for fuel used in cooking, and filters that do not require boiling water for drinking. The project was the first Gold Standard certified of its kind in the country.
In addition to reducing emissions (SDG 13), several more sustainable development goals are covered; this aids in taking immediate action to address climate change now, as adaptation rates can be increased.
- Good Health and Well-being (SDG 1): A filter can treat 2 liters of non-potable water per hour by using a gravity-fed ceramic filter comprised of clay, sawdust, colloidal silver, and carbon. It gets rid of 99% of germs, making the water safer for drinking and cooking, which lowers the risk of water-borne illness. It also cuts down the demand for fuel wood: The enhanced dispersed cook stoves burn biomass fuel more cleanly and effectively, lowering the amount of indoor air pollution that families—especially women—are exposed to.
- No Poverty (SDG 1): Ecofiltro and a local NGO called Socorro Maya sell the enhanced cook stoves and water filters to homeowners. With an 18-month payment schedule that gives consumers access to interest-free loans, carbon financing makes them more accessible for low-income households. Families start saving on fuel wood (and associated costs) right away with no upfront costs. With an improved cook stove, a typical household will save around 1,700 kg biomass annually (65% reduction). Given that 49% of households that use biomass needed to purchase wood, an average family makes fuel savings of around USD 35 per year.
- Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7): As less money is spent on expensive fuels, the devices increase the affordability of energy within the project region. Increasing distribution of these water filtration devices and fuel-efficient stoves ensures more people have access to the energy, time- and cost-efficient technology.
- Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6): Each household that purchases a water filter receives assistance with installation, training and technical after sales services. The technicians prepare and disseminate public education materials and raise awareness around the importance of water hygiene which helps expand community access to improved water supplies. Social workers maintain the project's presence in the neighborhood and also offer support.
- Life on Land (SDG 15): Roughly 96% of wood harvested in Guatemala is non-renewable, demonstrating highly unsustainable forest use in the country. Decreasing fuel wood use through this type of initiative eases the burden of overuse on forests and subsequently improves deforestation rates and the corresponding threat to biodiversity. Limiting deforestation can also minimize the risk of landslides and the negative impact on agricultural yields from soil erosion.
- Gender Equality (SDG 5): The project helps households save time from cooking and collecting wood; an estimated 30 minutes per day typically spent for cooking is freed up, which women can allocate to other activities. Additionally, a majority of the social workers, often engaged as part-time employees, are women.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8): Ecofiltro and Socorro Maya create jobs in manufacturing of the products, their installation, training of households, and social work in local communities. The project estimates having 800 staff employed throughout the supply chain in both temporary and permanent roles. The supported technologies are in greater demand throughout the nation, and the sourcing of materials, production, distribution, and maintenance have a favorable effect on economic growth. This is one of only two cook stove projects running in Guatemala, and projected countrywide dissemination of the concept creates opportunities for domestic and international export.
- Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12): Through its school clean water program, the initiative seeks to guarantee increasing awareness of sustainable consumption practices in addition to improving the efficiency of fuel-using technology. The approach involves selling or donating filters to schools in rural and peri-urban areas where the boiling of water is common practice. Before the filters are supplied, all kids are involved in a clean water education program; after the delivery of the filters, parents are invited to the school to learn about the importance of clean water, too.
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