Utsil Naj - healthy homes for all in Guatemala



Central America is among one of the world’s most vulnerable regions, suffering from the adverse effects of climate change. Extreme weather events and increasingly unpredictable patterns have significantly disrupted crop yields – this is particularly devastating for those communities who rely on their crops both for their own nutrition and for ensuring their incomes.

Furthermore, Guatemala is located in the "Dry Corridor", the region of the world known to have experienced the most severe droughts during the last 10 years. Many people make their livelihood farming the land and most of the country's rural population (77%) already live in poverty. 

The Utsil Naj programme has been designed as a multi-intervention large-scale programme of activities for Latin America. It disseminates technologies with strong social impacts to poor populations of the continent in order to improve their living conditions in a sustainable way. The project focuses on rural beneficiaries who are often the most vulnerable communities.

Utsil Naj currently operates in Guatemala, Mexico (LINK), and Honduras (LINK), where Microsol teamed up with local partners selected for their experience on the ground and their understanding and relations with the communities benefiting from the programme. To date, the programme has installed more than 22 000 improved cookstoves, benefitting over 100,000 people living in poverty.

It is important to note that, culinary traditions in Central America are different from those celebrated in the Andean communities. In Guatemala, tortillas and beans are a staple of every daily diet but families continue to rely on low efficiency smoke-based stoves. Mircosol had to adapt their technique to be able to cook Guatemala’s traditional food, which was both a great challenge and a fascinating experience.

Microsol is a social business and reinvests 100% of the revenue generated by the sale of carbon credits back into maintaining and expanding its projects. In addition, Microsol is actively involved in discussions with local governments and works with international organisations to define the roadmaps to scale up stove implementation. Microsol believes that the only way to really make a difference is by understanding and working with both communities and the local authorities. 

Project impacts and benefits:

Project impacts include health, social, environmental and economic benefits. The improved cookstoves are great tools for women empowerment, allowing them to cook more quickly, but also to reduce the chore of wood and freeing up time for the education of children. These stoves are also more efficient, therefore reducing CO2 emissions and helping to decrease deforestation thus contributing to the conservation and protection of biodiversity.

  • Goal 1: No Poverty – This project benefits families living in poverty, providing them with access to basic services (related to sanitation, clean water and education)
  • Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being – almost all the beneficiaries experienced less, or no coughing, respiratory diseases and eye burns since receiving the new cookstove.
  • Goal 4: Quality Education - Children have more time to attend school, and the majority of families declare that they have more time to do their homework.
  • Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy – The programme provides access to affordable clean energy, particularly in rural and isolated areas where other sources of energy cannot be used.
  • Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - The programme contributes to the stimulation of local economic activities and creates new employment opportunities for local people.
  • Goal 13: Climate Action – Between 2015-2018, more than 30 000 tCO2e had been saved from being released into the atmosphere.
  • Goal 15: Life on Land - The improved cookstoves save a significant amount of wood; thus, contributing to prevent deforestation, forest degradation and maintain biodiversity

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Microsol>>

Daï-li Chang
Partnerships & Development
Email: dchang@microsol-int.com

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Microsol