· Why did you decide to launch the project or what/who inspired you?
According to the WHO, around 3 billion people in the world still cook using solid fuels (such as wood, crop wastes, charcoal, coal and dung) in open fires and inefficient stoves. Most of these people are amongst the most vulnerable populations and live in low- and middle-income countries.
Each year, close to 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth: close to half of the deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 years of age are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
After our accomplishments developing community-based programmes in Peru, we wanted to share and extend our experience to other communities in Latina America.
Mexico and Central America have been experiencing extreme weather events and increasingly unpredictable patterns in the last decades, in particular rising temperatures and excessive rain or drought due in large part to the climate crisis, that threaten the livelihood and well-being of the people who live there, for the most part, subsistence farmers who are completely reliant on what they grow for their survival.
Inspired by the resilience and perseverance of the rural communities in Central America, we started this project in 2012.
· What makes your project different from others?
A territorial approach that takes into account the diversity of the local socio-economic dynamics, understands the root causes of climate change and works closely with local partners to reduce the risk of poor communication and improves the allocation of limited resources.
These projects also help create awareness among local authorities and promote the implementation of community-based projects with adequate monitoring over time. Most initiatives by the government to this day have been focused on short term impacts and failed to ensure the sustainability of the project beyond its first year.
We work closely with local leaders and other international organizations to establish the appropriate timeline for the stoves. We believe it is necessary to involve the public sector and the communities, to generate as much positive impact towards a sustainable world.
· What do you like most about the project?
Each location has a special blend of people and traditions. It is very enjoyable working in so many different countries for the same project. There is a lot to learn and share between us and our partners, and even between the partners who met, for most of them, through the programme. Working with them is extremely important to assure the programme’s success.
· What makes you proud of your project?
We are very proud each time we get feedback from the families who benefit from the technologies. Each testimony motivates us even more in promoting the project’s impacts with new partners
· What are your objectives for the future of the project?
From the larger population that still uses wood for cooking in the countries where the programme is implemented, it currently only services a small proportion. In addition, other countries in the region are also getting more and more affected by the effects of climate change. In this context, the population finding itself in a vulnerable situation that could benefit from our projects is growing. Therefore, we hope to collect enough carbon revenues to be able to expand the projects in that region and be able to help improve the life quality of many new families.
· Do you have any words of wisdom to people entering the market with new environmental projects?
Do everything with Love and Passion, the results will be there in the end. If the going gets rough, try to remember the same burning sensation you had when you began your project.