Cooking on stove tops with heavy exposure to smoke has always made preparing school meals uncomfortable and unhealthy for mothers in Chuquisaca schools. The smoke irritated their eyes and throats, and not only consumed a lot of firewood but also time. With the financial support of TRUVIA, the Association of Municipalities Supporting School Feeding in Chuquisaca (MAECH) and WFP, schools built ecological stoves nicknamed LOLA. “We are free of the smoke”, said one mother.
LA PAZ. –According to the School Principal of Pisili, located in Tarabuco in the southern Department of Chuquisaca, the environmentally friendly stoves have radically changed the way that food is prepared for some 180 students.
“We cooked outdoors with a fire surrounded by rocks. It was difficult, and did not only consume a lot of firewood but also time. Many of the cooks, who are mothers of the schoolchildren, would finish cooking with red eyes and irritated throats from smoke inhalation. With the new more ecological stoves we are able to eliminate the smoke,” said the School Principal.
Less Wood, Less Smoke
Families contribute to the school feeding programme by making monthly donations of firewood to the schools. “Sometimes it was difficult to get the necessary amount of wood,” reported Eulogio Alvarado, Angola School Board Director, in the Municipality of Tarabuco.
“Women and children have to walk long distances to gather firewood. With the new stoves there is less firewood consumption and no smoke”, he said.
Bringing the Eco-Technology Home
The eco-friendly stoves, called LOLA’s because they are made from mud and bricks (lodo and ladrillo in Spanish), have been so successful that parents have decided to build them using the same technique in their homes in order to save wood, reduce smoke, and provide a healthier environment for their families.
Dionisia Quito, Vice President of the Waca Huasi School Board in the Municipality of Zudáñez, relayed that when construction of the stoves was first completed at the school, the mothers were extremely pleased because they noticed that their eyes were no longer burning them as it had before. This was mainly due to the stoves not emitting as much smoke. They decided to build similar stoves in their homes.
A Healthier Environment
Norma Aguilar, a teacher at the Tholapampa School in the municipality of Poroma, said that in her school they have been able to reduce the firewood consumption by 50 percent with the implementation of LOLA eco-stoves.
“Our cooks, who are the mothers of the students, take turns in preparing the food. They now cook more comfortably, mothers with younger children are now even able to carry them on their backs because there is no smoke.”
In addition to supporting the installation of LOLA stoves, the Association of Municipalities Supporting School Feeding in Chuquisaca (MAECH acronym in Spanish) and the World Food Programme (WFP):
1. Provide nutritious foods to schools.
2. Assist in the construction of school gardens to complement school feeding rations.
3. Strengthen food production and processing of smallholder farmers to link their products to the school feeding programme.
All of the activities have been financially supported by TRUVIA. Some 15.000 schoolchildren in six municipalities of Chuquisaca are benefiting from this programme during 2014: Poroma, Tarabuco, Icla, Zudáñez, Mojocoya and Sopachuy.