Haiti, April 17 (2012) IICA. Thanks to a project being implemented by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Lauritas Sisters religious order, more than 800 families in the Haitian community of Arregui-Jacmel will benefit from the installation of energy-saving stoves and the operation of a nursery that produces rapid-growth fruit-bearing and timber-yielding trees.
The project got underway in late 2011 under the terms of a donation agreement signed by IICA and CARITAS-Spain. It provides beneficiaries with a viable alternative for making more efficient and sustainable use of biomass, through the use of energy-saving stoves that require less firewood than traditional three-stone cooking stoves and make cooking safer.
According to Alfredo Mena, IICA Representative in Haiti, “Given the deforestation of the country and the fact that firewood is the main source of energy, both of which increase pressure on forest resources, the stoves provide an opportunity to switch from the three-stone open fire to a small unit that has been modified and adapted to the local culture and needs.”
The stove used in this project, known as Isleña, has an easy-to-handle and efficient oven. It operates by enclosing the fire in an L-shaped combustion chamber with a short chimney or duct that transfers the heat from the combustion chamber to the cooking surface, thus reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and ensuring the delivery of maximum heat to the cooking surface.
This simple device can burn small pieces of firewood, crop residue or dried twigs, which slows deforestation and, therefore, benefits the ecosystems of the area.
The nursery in which local fruit-bearing and timber-yielding trees are grown was established with the participation of the beneficiaries, who are members of the community of Arregui. This nursery not only provides trees for planting, but is also used by the Lauritas Sisters to instill in the students of the school they run an interest in planting trees and protecting the environment.
The partnership with the Lauritas Sisters began in 2002 with the establishment of a school, attended today by some 400 students from Arregui and environs, and with the purchase of school supplies following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The International Women’s Association of IICA and Staff Association of the Institute have contributed to both initiatives.
IICA’s work with the nuns has also involved the implementation of projects related to agriculture, health, education, loans for women, food security, potable water, home and road repairs, etc.
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