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GIRA, Mexico

Fuel efficient stoves

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Owners of Patsari stoves often add their own improvements, such as ceramic tiles.

About 95% of rural Mexican households cook with wood on open fires. Although this is bad for their health and uses unsustainable wood resources, most cannot afford to change to cleaner LPG, even though the government encourages this. This situation is especially acute among poor indigenous people in the Central Mexican Highlands, where thousands of women scrape a living by selling tortillas, cooked over open fires for long hours each day.

The Grupo Interdisciplinario de Tecnología Rural Apropiada (GIRA) set up a stove programme to improve the health of families, help small businesses, and cut the unsustainable use of wood. By working with stove-users, GIRA developed the Patsari stove, which has a hotplate for cooking tortillas and space for pots as well. It has efficient combustion chamber to cut wood use, a metal chimney to take smoke out of the kitchen, and is built on site by local entrepreneurs. GIRA has shown that respiratory disease decreases by 30% and eye infections by 50% in women who use the Patsari stove rather than an open fire, thanks to a 70% reduction in indoor air pollution. Fuelwood use is approximately halved, and users greatly appreciate their cleaner, smoke-free kitchens.