Considering that today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, this week we’re focusing on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10, Reduced Inequalities. We believe that following UN's SDG guidelines is the best way for NGOs, corporations, and individuals to work across the world toward the same economic, environmental, and social goals using the same standards. Throughout the world, Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately affected by poverty. While indigenous people make up less than half of the population of Guatemala, 52% of impoverished people in the country are indigenous. According to the World Bank, Guatemala has “some of the worst poverty, malnutrition and maternal-child mortality rates in the region, especially in rural and indigenous areas.” As we have said, we at TRL are not able to single-handedly solve this complex and massive issue, but our efforts go a long way in the Lake Atitlán basin, where the poverty rate hovers around 75% among the almost entirely indigenous villages.
The UN states the following: “There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufﬁcient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.” At TRL we understand the truth of that statement and our mission is to involve the three dimensions of sustainable development in our work. Regarding economic development, the statistics speak for themselves: ONIL stoves increase yearly savings by $300 USD for families who buy their wood, or 48 days of time per year for families who collect their wood, leading to poverty reduction over time. Social development is the commitment that development processes need to benefit people, not systems or nature alone. Without the people with whom we work, we would have nothing. We work one-one-one with stove owners by helping them increase savings, improve respiratory health, and learn how they’re playing a part and mitigating climate change. This brings us to the last of the three dimensions -- environmental development. Each stove installed saves one tree per family per month, which positively affects the local environment. Not only that, but on each visit we teach beneficiaries about the link between ONIL stove use, decreased wood consumption, local ecological threats, and global climate change. The team discusses increasing deforestation rates on the volcanoes and the ecological consequences for Lake Atitlán, such as air pollution and agricultural runoff.
We believe that economic, social, and environmental development are helping us reduce inequality in the Lake Atitlán basin. Sometimes the task of Goal 10 seems daunting, but we know that thousands of other NGOs, governmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations exist all over the world with a mission similar to ours, and that together we will make a global impact.