Our United Nations Sustainable Development Goal* of the week is #1: No Poverty. The goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. It is a challenging task that requires extensive research, understanding, and a lot of work. There is no unique solution for poverty, but rather hundreds of thousands of solutions that work in many different areas around the world.
In the department of Sololá, where Santiago Atitlán is located, 45% of the population live in poverty and 30% live in extreme poverty. Considering the large toll climate change is taking on agriculture, the most lucrative economic activity of Santiago, and that Santiago Atitlán has the highest rural poverty rate in Sololá, measures need to be taken to mitigate poverty.
We are proud of the work we do at Tui’k Ruch’ Lew (TRL) to decrease poverty rates. Our Improved Cookstove Project has reached around 8,000 beneficiaries in Santiago Atitlán, substantially improving family economies.
According to our data, ONIL stoves -- the efficient cookstove that we promote in our Improved Cookstove Project -- increase savings by Q186, or $25, per family every month for families who buy their firewood. They save about 8 days of time per month for families who collect their firewood.
This calculation only counts the cost of wood. If we included the educational benefits of our environmental education program, that teaches beneficiaries how to minimize costs while protecting the environment, and reduced healthcare costs resulting from the ONIL stove’s efficient combustion technology, the savings would be much higher.
Between the 1,800 stoves that we know are functioning well, Q334,800 or $44,640 is being saved by our beneficiaries each month. Our Improved Cookstove Project seeks to mitigate climate change and improve the local economy, and we are proud to say that our efforts have been successful thus far.
It takes more than just one NGO to eliminate poverty in their local area, but we know that our work and the work of other NGOs like Pueblo a Pueblo, ADISA, Mayanza, and Aldea Maya are doing their best to improve the local economy. And we are proud that it is working.
*The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the 17 objectives set by the UN in 2015 that address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and more. Each goal is broken down into multiple targets to guide governments, businesses, civil society and the general public to work together to achieve each SDG by 2030. Here, you can read more about each goal, their respective targets, and the ways in which each of us can support progress towards a brighter future for all.