In Guatemala, clean stoves have become a very popular item. Many organizations are trying to get non-smoking, safe stoves to families throughout the country. However, there is a problem surfacing that is starting to become more and more apparent; a one-size-fits-all stove usually does not fit all sizes.

This is where the organization “Soluciones Apropriadas” steps in. They have come out with a line of different stoves with the goal of being flexible enough to meet everyone’s needs. Soluciones Apropriadas, co-founded by Malcolm Gribble, Stephen Crowe, Annie Keel, and Collin Eaton aims to supply people with clean and energy efficient stoves that meet their specific needs. Families below the poverty line in Guatemala now are estimated to spend anywhere from one to two hours a day gathering firewood and fuel, leading to back problems and the depletion of wood in forests. If a family is buying fuel, too, this puts even more economic stress on their shoulders. This is why matching stoves to specific needs is so helpful.

What does this mean, though? Well, stoves come in three basic templates. The first, the Chispa-Hogar, is meant to be a stove that families can use at home. It comes with all the benefits as well, it is smoke-free, hides flame, and conserves firewood. The second type of stove, the Chispa, is meant for micro-entrepreneurial businesses or schools who prepare large quantities of food at the same time. The stove can boil a 100L pot of water in forty five minutes, and uses 60% less firewood to do so. The third stove, the Chispa-Tortillera, is meant specifically for tortilla vendors to conserve materials, and reduce smoke on the street and in restaurants, where many people could inhale it.

According to Malcolm Gribble, a single Chispa Hogar costs only about 1,250 quetzals, which ensures that many people below the poverty line can afford one. With these three different options, this also means that people will no longer have to make do with something that is cleaner, but doesn’t help them in their specific situation.

Soluciones Apropriadas has also gone on to offer combos where a person can receive an Ecofiltro water filter with their stoves. This is a very big boon, obviously, because a person below the poverty line needing a stove would probably be facing the need for clean drinking water as well.

All in all, Soluciones Apropriadas is doing a great thing. They are looking at a market where the consumer has to adapt to the product, and they are successfully turning that rule around. Now a product has to meet the needs of a consumer, and indeed it can at Soluciones Apropriadas.

Mathias Jacobson

Mathias is a high school student from Seattle, Washington who has lived in Panama and Guatemala. He's interested in entrepreneurship, and social impact.. He loves to write and seeks to learn from people following their passions and living exciting lives.