Eco-friendly Stove Sparks Hope For a Better Future in Haiti

Written by on July 31, 2013 in Central America, Entrepreneurship, Green - No comments

stove

By Antonio Pasolini

A new project currently fundraising on IndieGogo aims to rebuild D&E Green Enterprises’ stove factory that was destroyed during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The factory that made the EcoRecho stoves had been set up in 1999 as a way to provide an efficient charcoal-burning alternative since only two percent of the country’s forests remain, largely thanks to excessive the use of wood as fuel. Despite the damage caused by the earthquake, the company’s CEO Duquesne Fednard soldiered on in donated tents until 2012, when Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy shredded the tents. Duquesne nearly gave up then, but his staff convinced him to go on.

Despite the sequence of tragedies that have befallen Haiti and Dusquene’s stove business, he has managed to sell 33,000 EcoRecho stoves over the past three years. Deforestation is the number one issue he tries to tackle with his eco-stove, but there are other problems he tries to solve as well. One of them is unemployment.

Most Haitian families spend around 23 percent of their income on charcoal for cooking. A family that switches from using a traditional stove to EcoRecho saves on average US $150 per year. Re-building the factory will also impact the job force since 80% of Haitians live under the poverty line and unemployment is at 66%.It will create at least 400 jobs through direct employment, distribution chain development and construction work. All this coal burning has consequences on people’s health as well, leading to chronic, sometimes fatal, respiratory diseases. The EchoRecho stove helps reduce indoor smoke and C02 emissions. Of course, reducing indoor emissions is also good for the environment, since C02 is the most prevalent GHG.

D&E is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative and the Clean Stove Alliance. For its work in Haiti it has received several awards, including the National Entrepreneurship Award in the environmental category sponsored by Digicel, the Haiti Green Entrepreneurship Competition sponsored by AIDG Haiti (a nonprofit focused on environmental entrepreneurship) and the Ashden Awards for Small Islands category in 2013.

“A simple device such as a cook stove has the power to truly transform Haiti through empowering households, end users and small businesses. The fact that D&E can achieve this cheaply and safely for the environment is really a win-win situation. D&E’s vision is to break the cycle of energy poverty by specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of low-cost, high-efficiency energy technologies for people living in the developing world,” says Duquesne Fednard.

To support this worthy project, visit its page on IndieGogo.

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