Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



An estimated three billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and nearly two million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution from solid fuel use. According to the World Health Organization, “every year, indoor air pollution is responsible for the death of 1.6 million death every twenty seconds.” Various international groups, government initiatives, and communities have attempted to improve this indoor air pollution problem around the world by implementing various improved cook stove models. In July, 2011, Partners In Health (PIH) and Equipo Técnico de Educación en Salud Comunitaria (ETESC) co-directed the delivery of ONIL stoves to 175 homes in the communities in and around Jacaltenango, Guatemala, a rural area in the Western Highlands of the country. In October, 2011, a team of PIH and ETESC’s community health workers and researchers performed a modified Rapid Assessment and Evaluation (RARE) analysis of the use of the stoves and the broader cultural significance of the project. One hundred and eighteen randomly selected homes of the 175 receiving the stove intervention were interviewed before and after the stove’s installation. Through multiple interviews various perceptions were gleaned regarding the stoves. These perceptions included positive benefits regarding health, social interactions, home environment, dignity, and safety. These were contrasted with negative impacts such as installation barriers, size constraints, seasonal barriers, and isolation. Along with a quantitative assessment, this report identifies areas for further research, particularly for a more thorough ethnographic assessment of a cook stove intervention program.