The Guatemala Cookstove Project: Fighting Disease and Improving Living Conditions

November 20th, 2007 |
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In many countries in the developing world, cooking is a role assigned to women who tend open fires, sometimes inside their homes. In Guatemala, the respiratory illnesses, eye infections and severe burns that come from this reality seemed eminently avoidable to Donald O’Neal. With the intent of finding a safer way to cook, O’Neal developed the ONIL stove, using strong, inexpensive ceramic lining and a steel chimney, it is designed to suit the needs of traditional Guatemalan cooking, and for its impressive results — it saves 70 percent of the wood usually used for cooking, emits only 1/20th of the carbon monoxide and protects families from burns and other maladies associated with open fires and smoke — O’Neal was recognized as a 2007 Health Award Laureate at The Tech Museum Awards.

O’Neal is vice president of HELPS International, a nonprofit organization that works with individuals and governments to improve drinking water quality, medical care, education, housing, agricultural and economic development in what they call an integrated poverty reduction program.

He spoke with PodTech for this video podcast at The Tech Museum, where he was on hand to acknowledge HELPS International’s selection as one of five Swanson Foundation Health laureates.

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