Smoke-free cooking pits for the people of Ometepe (Nicaragua)

Smoke-free cooking pits for the people of Ometepe (Nicaragua)

Our partner organization “Asociacion Sanito Nicaragua” builds innovative and healthy cooking pits for and with poor families on the Ometepe island. The cooking pits are built from local materials, they keep the smoke away from the kitchen, reduce the wood consumption and are constructed under participation of the new owners. By combining simple materials, education about the functionality of the cooking pit and the integration of the beneficiaries in the construction process we support independence and health of the people living on Ometepe in the long term.

The problem:

The people living on Ometepe island are cooking mainly with wood on open cooking pits without extracting the smoke to the outside. Thus it spreads throughout the entire house. The consequences are respiratory diseases, headaches, and eye problems. Plastic is used often to light the fire. Thereby the gases are even more poisoning and the people contract severe respiratory diseases, e.g. lung cancer, more often. For the supply of wood the families need to cut down a large number of trees, which reduces the forest resources.

The solution:

Sanito e.V. supports the construction of sustainable cooking pits, that are built using local resources.

This is innovative, since it is a cooking pit, which

– extracts the smoke out of the house through stovepipes
– wastes less wood, while offering an improved cooking possibility
– by using less wood simultaneously reduces the work load of the families
– uses local materials, like soil and horse droppings (as well as concrete and recyclable materials like glass bottles)

Sustainable, because the beneficiaries

– who have limited resources and an open fireplace are chosen by “Asociacion Sanito Nicaragua”
– participate in multiple workshops that raise awareness for the health risks of open fireplaces and introduce the construction of the new cooking pits
– themselves collaborate in the construction of the new cooking pits
– plant trees to support the reforestation.

Local, because

– the idea of the ovens originated from our partner organization “Asociacion Sanito Nicaragua” on Ometepe
– it cooperates with a small, local women’s organization, the “La innovación S.A.”, who are experts for oven constructions
– it thereby supports the local economy and the self-organization of women, and consequently further local families will benefit.

The costs:

The construction of a cooking pit will cost about 150€. This includes the costs of materials (concrete, stovepipe etc.) and the costs of the women’s organization “La innovación S.A.”.