Project Lead(s): Lisa Thompson
Household air pollution remains a very significant problem globally, with nearly half of the world’s population relying on solid fuels (such as wood) for their everyday household energy needs.
Household air pollution causes nearly three million premature deaths annually, and most interventions fail because the efficient stoves are too expensive and/or not available to those who need them the most.
The aim of the project – named GenteGas – was to launch a market-based business model to deliver LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) stoves to families cooking with wood, while promoting household air pollution awareness and behaviour change.
One of the specific objectives of the study was to train women entrepreneurs to distribute stoves and LPG tanks, and to educate households about gas stove use and safety, while providing health education about household air pollution.
Community educational sessions about hazardous air pollutants were designed and conducted by an anthropologist from Universidad Del Valle and two field workers recruited from the local community; 369 women from Alotenango participated in at least one of the educational sessions.
A total of 25 eligible households that purchased gas stoves from GenteGas were part of an air pollution monitoring study.
The project enabled a new, women-owned small business in Guatemala to explore different sales and financing models for an LPG stove business. While GenteGas was not able to recruit and retain women entrepreneurs as anticipated in the proposal, it is striving to grow the model.
Four months after the conclusion of the educational sessions, a study was conducted with a random selection of 38 women who participated in the program and 38 “control” women who were invited to complete the questionnaire but did not attend the educational sessions. Attendees were more likely to recognize that pneumonia was associated with smoke inhalation, compared to controls (68.4% vs. 47.4%; p< 0.05). One of the key achievements of the community educational training sessions was that they have been replicated in different departments in Guatemala.
In terms of household air pollution reduction, the gas stoves that were installed by GenteGas (in a different room from the wood stove) resulted in a 50% reduction in kitchen concentrations of particulate matter and an even greater reduction in carbon monoxide exposure.
Although the sample was small, these preliminary data point to the fact that six months of gas stove use reduced household air pollution in an urban area of Guatemala. A follow-up study in 80 households that use the gas stoves is intended to expand the evidence for cleaner household air from consistent gas stove use.
GenteGas is in the process of launching two large-scale adoption programs for the LPG stoves through local businesses, and these programs will require further validation in order to apply them on a larger scale in Guatemala.
GenteGas intends to apply for Phase II Transition To Scale funding at a later date.