Improved Cook Stoves


Approximately 2.4 billion people, one third of the human population, burn some form of biomass (wood, charcoal, and dung) for cooking and heating in traditional cook stoves.  The smoke from solid fuel, commonly referred to as indoor air pollution (IAP), has been linked to a number of adverse respiratory health consequences.  Indeed, it kills 1.6 million people per year – primarily women and children.  La Ceibs initiated this program in partnership with Students Helping Honduras (SHH) in Siete de Abril – a squatter community on the outskirts of El Progreso, Honduras.  Improved cook stoves can generate income through two channels: (a) the associated health benefits of introducing improved stoves decrease an individual’s medical expenditures and can possibly increase an individual’s productivity and (b) improved stoves can decrease a household’s fuel needs.


Our IAP Initiave had three phases.

  • Phase 1 (winter 2008): We conducted in-depth health survey and peak flow meter readings, met with AHDESA (a Honduran NGO that builds improved cook-stoves) and participated in a town hall meeting with community members to gauge their interest in participating in Phase 2.
  • Phase 2 (spring 2008): Our goal was to demonstrate the effectiveness of improved cook-stoves by measuring IAP in a sample of homes before and after their introduction.  Phase 2 evolved into a partnership between La Ceiba, AHDESA, ENASA (a Honduran NGO that monitors IAP), and the University of California Berkeley’s Air Monitoring Group. ENASA and the UC Berkeley team measured IAP in 25 households using traditional cook stoves, introduced improved stoves in those same households, and re-measured IAP after the installation of the stoves.  The results of Phase 2 have been submitted to the Journal of Environmental Monitoring
  • Phase 3 (Winter 2009): We returned to Siete de Abril in in order to conduct self-rated health surveys of community members who chose to adopt and not adopt an improved cook stove. We also conducted uptake surveys to determine whether or not those who chose to adopt a stove in Phase 2 were still using them. Our results are still pending.


  • Indoor Air Pollution: A Life Threatening Disease in Siete de Abril (powertpoint)
  • Improved Cookstove Initiative – Flyer (pdf)
  • Audio Slideshow of the ICS project created for the radio show “With Good Reason” (click here to view)