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High-Efficiency Stoves for Mayan Families

Item # 42230

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Would you spend hours a day searching for firewood, stoking a guttering fire, breathing in untold amounts of smoke, and risking burns, just so you could heat your house and cook your family's food? For many women in the ethnically Mayan highlands of Guatemala, there has been no better choice -- until now.

The ONIL Stove was designed by Don O'Neal, an American engineer who visited Guatemala and was appalled at the number and gravity of pulmonary illnesses, and also burns among women and children -- all caused by cooking over open fires.

The ONIL high-efficiency cook stove:

  • Is built in Guatemala by Guatemalans
  • Burns the wood with maximum efficiency using an after-burner effect, vastly reducing the amount of smoke released into the home and the atmosphere
  • Reduces the amount of firewood families need to cook and stay warm by an impressive 70% over open fires and other types of cement stoves
  • Helps the denuded environment of the highlands recover from severe wood overharvesting

The stoves are subsidized by direct donations from individuals, groups, and sales from the nonprofit organization Cojolya, enabling the stoves to be affordable to weavers and other community members. Cojolya's long-term goal is to protect the Lake Atitlan biosphere by installing efficient stoves in all of the lakeshore communities.

You can help. $28 funds half of the donor portion of an ONIL stove; $56 funds the entire donor portion. To ensure that stove recipients will use and value their stove, and not merely re-sell it, families are asked to contribute $44 themselves. Most families are able and very willing to buy this portion of the stove themselves rather than accepting it as a handout.


"In my 32 years of living in Guatemala, I have never seen a more successful project in terms of making a impact on the economic and physical health of families as well as significantly protecting the planet." -- Candis Krummel, Co-Founder and Creative Director for Cojolya


The Cojolya Association of Mayan Women Weavers (Cojolya) is a Guatemalan nonprofit located in the highland Tzutujil town of Santiago Atitlan, on the shores of the world-famous Lake Atitlan. For more than 25 years, Cojolya has provided sustainable, fair-trade work for scores of local women who weave on the backstrap loom. The Cojolya Association also runs a social program aimed at improving the lives of its workers, their families, and the local community.


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