Traditional stoves common throughout Honduras are non-vented, inefficient, and unsafe.
They are used throughout the day, resulting in homes constantly filled with smoke and walls and ceilings layered with toxic creosote. Because these traditional stoves burn inefficiently, they use large amounts of wood and require family members – usually women and children – to sacrifice time away from school and other activities in order to harvest firewood from a source that is being rapidly depleted.
Our EcoStove Project is changing that for families across many Southern Honduran communities. This vented stove is more efficient, cleaner, and safer than the traditional open fire, non-vented stoves. Because they are a simple design with few components, they can be built by local laborers and installed on site in a relatively short amount of time.
The primary components of the EcoStove are the fire box, the chimney flue, and the cooking surface (planchea). The fire box is made of bricks that are tightly sealed allowing the wood to burn efficiently while the chimney safely channels the smoke through the ceiling to the outside. The planchea is a large metal cooking surface that allows entire meals, including many tortillas, to be prepared at once thereby reducing the overall time spent cooking.
Because these stoves burn more efficiently, they require less firewood. Family members therefore spend less time harvesting firewood and less money when it has to be purchased. The time once spent cooking and gathering firewood can now be spent to pursue other income-producing activities. The owners of the new EcoStoves take great pride in keeping the stoves clean and properly functioning. Many, such as Carolina, have affixed decorative tiles to brighten their cooking area.