Friday, December 28, 2012

A Bright Future in Uganda

By Ephraim Payne

Right now, InStove has only a half dozen stoves in use throughout Uganda. But we expect to be doing a lot of work in the country in the near future.

Fred Colgan, our hardworking, world traveling executive director, spent the last weekend of November in Uganda with his wife Lise, who serves on our board, meeting with Ugandan officials and demonstrating our stoves for local humanitarian and faith-based groups. Board Member Virgil Ricks and his wife Joy went as well. The trip resulted in a surge of interest in InStove’s products and an agreement with a Ugandan non profit development agency to facilitate new projects in the country.

After witnessing demonstrations of our 60 liter/15 gallon stove, representatives of eight NGOs and about a dozen faith-based groups took a poll and signaled their willingness to buy our stoves for projects spread throughout Uganda. Our team also met with the Chief Whip of the Ugandan Parliament, the Hon Kasule Lumumba Justine, and then with Oswan V.K, the Chief Administrative Officer of Eastern Uganda’s Tororo District. Both officials agreed to support our efforts to expand in the country and bring in a Stove-Factory-In-A-Box.

The leadership of the Center for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), an NGO based at Makerere University in Kampala, also signed to support our efforts in Uganda, including the Stove-Factory-In-A-Box project. As a result of the trip, we have created an InStove Uganda working group, with representatives from the Ugandan government, CREEC, GIZ’s Ugandan office, several faith-based groups and local business development experts. We expect to ship at least one container of stoves to the country this spring, if not more, and bring a Stove-Factory-In-A-Box to Uganda in late 2013.

“The trip was wonderful; it exceeded our expectation,” says Fred of the visit. “InStove has a bright future in Uganda helping Ugandans solving some intractable problems.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Put InStove on Your Gift List and Help World’s Most Vulnerable People

Ephraim Payne Reporting

As you make your donations before year's end, we hope you will consider contributing to Instove. As a humanitarian, Oregon nonprofit organization, InStove relies on the support of donors who are as committed as we are to making a difference. We develop highly sustainable and efficient cooking technologies for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, such as people in refugee camps and school feeding programs. 

Our technologies reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, protect cooks and their families from smoke inhalation related illnesses, fight deforestation and reduce the risks of violence women and children in conflict regions face while searching for scarce cooking fuel. 
Our cook stoves reduce harmful emissions by 90 percent, use 75 to 90 percent less fuel than traditional cooking methods and have a huge impact on those who rely on institutional settings for a meal every day. Our technologies provide clean water, sterile medical equipment and access to alternative biomass fuel to replace scarce firewood. Today we have 450 stoves around the world cooking for over 150,000 people!

Our business model is to distribute our technologies “at cost” in order to serve as many people and organizations as possible. Accordingly, we rely on donations from individuals as well as funding agencies to help us achieve our mission. Our donors enable us to continue our research and development, and start pilot projects in areas without our stoves.

Your tax-deductible donation of $10, $100, $1,000 or more can help assure that we continue to deliver our innovative, sustainable technologies. Please consider us as you make your end-of-the-year charitable gifts. To donate, you can either mail a check to Institutional Stove Solutions, PO Box 368, Cottage Grove, OR 97424 or click here.

-- From the whole InStove team, wishing you a peaceful holiday season and a richly rewarding new year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Fun at Instove

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

This past weekend supporters and staff, family and friends, engineers and interns packed into our new Cottage Grove factory – all in celebration of the holiday season. We came together for two events: a holiday party for members of our board and staff and an open house for donors and interested members of the public. 

On Friday, after the work day ended and we shut down the office, everyone made their way to the factory, which was now filled with flickering lights, casseroles, cookies, and music. We all had a lot of fun! InStove’s Executive Director Fred Colgan unveiled for the guests stacks of hundreds of stove parts piled high to the ceiling. We will be shipping these stove parts to Nigeria in just a few weeks as part of our first Stove-Factory-In-A-Box project.

Saturday was our open house event. Staff members were available for the afternoon and talked to interested guests, donors, and journalists while enjoying hot chocolate made on one of our 60 liter/15 gallon institutional stoves.

Thank you to everyone for your involvement and donations this year. We are looking forward to a lot of new advancements in 2013, including shipping more stoves in Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal! We can only continue to do good work with your help – again, thank you!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Intern Spotlight

Olya Surits, a senior at the University of Oregon, says she didn't know exactly where to direct her energy and focus until taking a course titled, "Be the Change". The career development course focusing on social action, helped Olya realize her true passion for everything green and sustainable.

Olya is involved in many organizations geared toward sustainability, but says working with InStove brings her the most inspiration. She joined us as a PR intern this summer and has helped with the development of our media and community outreach. Olya has helped us with graphic design of marketing materials while also contributing to our blog. She's interested in everything from writing to film editing, and will be applying these creative skills on future projects at InStove. Olya will be taking over much of our social media in the upcoming year, as well as helping with the design and function of our new website. 

Olya is pictured second to left at the U of O Career Fair.
"In November, I was representing InStove at the Career Fair at the University of Oregon, "says Intern Coordinator Stella Strother-Blood, "Olya not only helped move a stove to the second floor of the building, but also talked with her fellow students about InStove. She has been a flexible member of the team, and is willing to fit into any role I ask of her. She is a lot of fun to have around and is an energetic force to be reckoned with!"

Olya also acts as a bridge between our organization and the U of O campus. Through her involvement with Net Impact, a student run sustainable business group, she is working on establishing an InStove student advocacy group that will bring more awareness to the issues we are helping to alleviate through work abroad., as well as helping with fundraising. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fruitful and Rewarding

Note from Haiti part 3

Dennis Hartley reporting from the field

The final leg of my trip, to Les Cayes in the south, was every bit as fruitful and rewarding as the northern leg. A large part of the region is flat, and floods during the rainy season. Sandy dumped 20 inches of rain there in 24 hours. Fortunately, the flood waters had receded by the time I arrived, so I was able to reach schools that had been inaccessible only a few weeks earlier.

The first day I visited an orphanage run by an American priest. They cook on about 15 coal burners (the cooking needs are much more for an orphanage than a school), and are very interested in not only our stoves, but fueling them only with briquettes. 

The next day we visited a school which uses one of our stoves purchased and donated by Susan Meeder, our Kansas City friend. I interviewed the cook, and shot video of the kids eating lunch in their classrooms. Afterwards, we visited three more schools, and talked to the principals, all of whom are very interested in our stoves.

The following day, we visited a medical facility run by Catholic nuns in the urban area. The head nun took us around and showed us the kitchen. They cook on about 8 propane stoves, spending a lot of money in the process. The nun is interested in a stove for boiling water near the wards, one that the children can touch without getting burned.

The last day before returning to Port au Prince, we visited our Haitian friend and supporter Carlot Delicat's school, located in a remote area where he grew up. Carlot attended Aprovecho's stove camp a year ago, and learned about efficient stove technology, spending time in the shop learning how to assemble our stove. 

To reach his school, we had to ford a couple rivers in his 4 x 4, and drive through fields of boulders and deep gullies. SUV marketers should film their commercials there! Our friend and supporter Ellen Aisenbrey donated the school’s InStove. Besides the stove, they cook on two three stone fires too. Of course they need to replace those fires with our stoves; a fundraising effort is underway. Carlot is serious about spearheading a Stove-Factory-in-a-Box in Les Cayes, supported by the many churches in this region, as well as producing briquettes.

I've found the Haitian people, in spite of the hardships they endure on a daily basis, happy and well dressed (BTW, the top three uses of firewood are: cooking, baking and DRY CLEANING!). The children especially are always well dressed in clean uniforms. You just want to help them get a foothold to create a better world for themselves. They are resourceful, resilient, and hardworking.  

I hope to return this spring to build on the accomplishments of this trip. Our technology is a piece of the puzzle that will enable the Haitians to eventually create a stable and prosperous future. I returned to Oregon Saturday night, glad to be home and elated by what the trip accomplished toward our goals in Haiti.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To Pignon, in Northern Haiti

Note from Haiti part 2

Dennis Hartley reporting from the field

I've been in Pignon the last couple days, traveling on roads that gave our SUV a beating. My advance planning has paid off in ways I couldn't have anticipated, but there are a few things I'll do differently next time. I've been traveling this first leg with Bob Fairchild, an independent engineer with a wide range of knowledge in appropriate technologies and much experience in Haiti. He speaks some Creole too.

I've been driven and hosted everywhere. I've visited two of our stoves here so far, installed one and shared rice cooked on the stove for students (on Thanksgiving no less).

I taped an interview with a cook who has been using our stove for a couple months now and loves it. A couple days later, at the same location, I gave a presentation to 32 cooks representing about 10 schools in the area. I wish you could have seen their faces when they saw the stove, and how the resident cook gushed about how it has made life easier for her. I'm expecting orders.

Tomorrow I'm back at Port au Prince for a couple days, another presentation to the dynamic Rea Dol, who runs a girl's school and directs the Society of Providence United for the Economic Development of Petion-Ville (SOPUDEP), a Haitian grassroots organization specializing in child and adult education and a micro-credit program for women. Then it’s off to the southern region of Les Cayes for three days for more of the same.

My new travel computer died a couple days ago. So I'm on Bob's right now. A godsend.

It's difficult to express how I'm feeling. I do know I'm grateful and proud to be able to represent InStove here, and I'm humbled and deeply affected by meeting these people and seeing how they live under such challenging conditions. Most of all, I've been privileged to see firsthand how our team is improving lives and creating a better future. I'm more than ever convinced of the great value of our work together.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving in Haiti

Notes from Haiti
InStove's Dennis Hartley is in Haiti for two weeks--our first trip there--in order to further our goal of establishing a Haitian Stove-Factory-In-A-Box in 2013. He will be blogging about the trip as time and technology allow.

Part 1: “Thanksgiving in Haiti

"Two days ago I arrived in Port au Prince for meetings with several organizations, including the UN World Food Programme, to further our efforts to bring more stoves to Haiti. On the 22nd, I traveled to the northern plateau region of Pignon to install a stove we recently shipped to a K-8 school with 350 children.Normally, the children at the school receive a complete meal at lunch. But on this particular day there was only enough money to provide some rice for the students.

I unpacked the stove from the box and set it up next to a three-stone fire pit in a small room with walls blackened by smoke. I talked with the cooks, my guide translating. It was an exciting moment for me – my first in-country installation and training. Before long, the rice was ready, and students who had been peering through the open windows were invited in and receive a plate of rice. We ate there together in the kitchen, everyone talking excitedly about the stove and how fast and clean it was.

Without doubt, this was my best Thanksgiving ever!

- Dennis Hartley

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

InStove Visits the Green Festival

Stella Strother-Blood reporting
At the beginning of November, InStove sent a small team to the San Francisco Green Festival in California. We joined hundreds of other exhibitors who valued sustainable solutions in all areas: from architecture to vegan recipes. For-profit businesses, activist groups, and non-profit organizations all came together in one space to celebrate being green!

We were able to use our new roadshow material at the event including flyers, banners, and a tapestry. Of course, our main “eye-catcher” was the 60-liter/15 gallon InStove we displayed in the booth! We also had a few briquettes, a 100-liter/26 gallon pot, and a medical autoclave for tens of thousands of attendees to take a close look at.

The Green Festival was a great opportunity to spread the word about InStove in the San Francisco Bay Area. There were a lot of interested people who wanted to know what they could do to help our mission. Our answer? Spread the word and donate! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Haiti Initiative

This month we are making significant progress in our mission to bring more of our stoves to institutional settings in Haiti. InStove began working in the country after the disastrous 2010 earthquake, which displaced millions of people.

The LaCoste orphanage in Pignon has been using one of our stoves since July, and we’ve received some encouraging feedback about its use in comparison to their traditional three-stone fire method of cooking. Catherine Allechin, from Bay Pointe Community Church in Michigan, conducted a side-by-side comparison of the two cooking techniques and reported the results of the test to us.

The orphanage’s cook prepared equal amounts of rice and beans with the stove and the three-stone fire and Catherine documented the highly contrasting cook times for each method. The fire for the three-stone technique took twenty minutes to stoke, followed by another hour and a half of cook time for a dinner that was finished after the sun had already set. The 60-liter/15-gallon InStove took less than an hour to cook the meal.

And unlike the three-stone fire, Catherine noted, the InStove emitted barely any smoke, was cool to the touch, and used considerably less fuel. In addition to these benefits, the InStove left practically no waste because the small amount of hot coals left behind after cooking was reused for ironing right away.

Catherine asked the residents of LaCoste if they liked using the InStove, and they answered with an enthusiastic “yes!”

This kind of response is incredibly uplifting and the timing couldn’t be better. InStove’s Haiti Initiative Coordinator Dennis Hartley is off to Haiti and will visit major cities, including Les Cayes and Pignon. In addition to meeting with potential partners interested in bringing a container of 60 stoves to Haiti next year, Dennis is promoting our Stove-Factory-In-A-Box program.

We’ve no doubt that institutions like the LaCoste orphanage will benefit greatly from abandoning the traditional three-stone fire method. With the help of many gracious guides and hosts, Dennis is in store for an invigorating trip. We wish him a hearty ‘Bon Voyage!’, and look forward to reporting more about how InStove is changing lives for the better. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're Heating Up!

Olya Surits reporting

What an exciting time we're having here at InStove. We have just hired a new development director, Tim Armstrong, who will be a key player in our ongoing growth. Tim's credentials include over 20 years of experience working with non-profit organizations. Most recently, Tim was the director of a sustainable funding program for the Habitat of Humanity in Eugene, Oregon.

Tim's experience living and working in Turkey and Indonesia is quite applicable for an organization like InStove that works with many different cultures abroad. Tim also teaches non-profit business management courses at the Non-Profit Management Institute at Lane County Community College's Small Business Development Center. This knowledge will be instrumental in the work that our team has ahead of us. We're fortunate to be building a team of such well-rounded professionals and are only expecting more growth from here on out.

In another big move, after months of decisions and developments, we have chosen a logo that we believe incorporates our stove's core design principles (symbolized by the fuel shelf), vibrancy, and holistic approach to business  We really like the sleekness and simplicity of the design, and hopefully our followers do too! Our logo was donated by Cawood in Eugene, OR. Liz Cawood, President, and Cari Ingrassia, the art director, graciously donated their time and expertise. Our sincerest thanks go out to them and the rest of the Cawood Team. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

University Outreach

One of our main goals this year was to reach out to university students and get them involved in spreading the word about the issues abroad that InStove is working to solve. On Thursday, three of our members ventured north to connect with students in the hopes of building advocacy groups on college campuses around Oregon.

Interns Garrett and Olya, presented to Net Impact, a student group at the University of Oregon that works with organizations such as ours to create connections between local sustainable businesses and the university. Many students stayed after the presentation to ask questions and offer to help build an InStove student advocacy group on the U of O campus.

Many students were not aware of the heath and environmental hazards caused by age-old cooking methods such as three-stone fires that millions of people in developing countries use to cook food. And they were shocked by the contrast of the institutional cook stove's small carbon footprint and efficiency. The members of Net Impact were eager to learn more about our organization and the work that we are doing. With their help, we are on our way to begin creating an advocacy group in Eugene.

Meanwhile, Stella visited Western Oregon University in Monmouth for two days. She started off the tour with an information table at the heart of the campus in the university center. With a stove on display, Stella spoke to interested students, professors, and community members about internship opportunities and explained InStove's mission.

On Friday, Stella spoke to three different classes about InStove's impact – globally and locally. The classes were studying public relations, comparative politics and immigration politics. Each of the class's topics corresponded well with information about InStove. Following this campus tour we are hoping to have continuing events at the WOU campus.

InStove values educating the next generation of leaders in global events and advocacy. InStove representatives are available for presentations at all education levels.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More Growth!

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

As we continue to grown and expand to meet the ever-increasing demand for institutional stoves throughout the world, InStove would like to introduce two more team members: Laura Panella and Laurie Strother. Laura Panella, our new finance director, graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Managerial Economics. Laura has been working in the nonprofit realm for many years and has a heart for the cause.

Laurie Strother, our operations director, graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Political Science. She has owned her own business with multiple Oregon branches and has volunteered her time as a child advocate. Laurie has been involved in nonprofits and with the University of Oregon community for years. We are excited to welcome both directors to the organization!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our Work in Darfur

Olya Surits reporting

News of the troubling conditions in Sudan's region of Darfur have not been commanding news headlines as they once did in 2004, but the decrease of their presence in the media is certainly not a signal of recovery. Darfur is still facing a crisis of extreme political instability, and hardship has become the daily reality for hundreds. The number of displaced people now makes up a third of Darfur's population, and this week we wanted to highlight our organization's effort in alleviating at least one hardship in these people's lives.

Since the first delivery of 200 stoves to IDP (internally displaced people) camps, InStove has helped feed 80,000 children daily in school feeding programs. In the following video our co-founder and executive director, Fred Colgan, speaks about his trip to Darfur last December and how the presence of InStove has since affected the lives of refugees.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Workshop!

Our organization is looking forward to an exciting move beginning in October. We’ve outgrown our old workshop and have found a larger space about two miles south of our Cottage Grove office that better suits our needs. Our shop manager, Dave Lentz, was the one that found the new space, which is “big enough for material handling, has enough dry areas to house shipping containers for our ‘Factory in a Box’, and most importantly, there is access for large trucks to transport these big containers.” The new shop will host an important addition to our factory- a paint booth for the application of the beautiful green color that coats the Institutional Stoves. This state-of-the-art booth will be environmentally friendly with absolutely no emissions.

We're looking forward to reporting more news of expansion in our near future!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We're Front Page News!

Those living in Eugene, Oregon might have seen the image of our stoves all around town on the cover of last week's Eugene Weekly Newspaper. Ted Shorack visited our site in Cottage Grove and wrote an informative and accurate article about our production, mission and the people involved at InStove.

This coverage of our organization gave us fantastic exposure in our surrounding community and we once again thank Eugene Weekly for bringing our stoves to the front and center of their publication.

Click to read Eugene Weekly's article about InStove!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Briquette Press Development

This summer we set out to refine both the processing and construction of carbon-based briquettes that InStove users can burn as an alternative to wood. Gathering firewood is an increasingly difficult task affecting women’s security and political stability in the developing world. At the same time, our process creates briquettes from material that might otherwise become trash, decreasing deforestation in arid or drought affected regions and protecting the environment. That’s why it is important for us to invest time into alternative fuel research here at InStove.

We searched for people willing to get their hands dirty creating briquettes that can be made from locally available biomass materials such as crop waste, dung and paper. We recently found two interns who are up to the task of experimenting with biomass as well as helping with the development of a press machine that optimizes the pyrolysis process within the combustion chamber.

Meet our new interns!

Breanna is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Her experience in both engineering and scientific processes such as combustion and gasification of biomaterials will be of extraordinary help in improving the briquette-making process.

Amrit Nam is a high school senior who will be applying his interest in finding clean and efficient energy sources through mechanical engineering to his research at InStove. His Senior Project – a graduation requirement at his school that asks students to dedicate work to a field of study of their interest – will be completed with us at InStove.

As our work steadily expands, our team grows to match. This week we hired one of our most dedicated interns, Stella Strother-Blood, as the Executive Assistant at InStove.

Stella graduated from Western Oregon University with a B.S in Community Health Education and a B.S in Humanities. She realized her passion for working toward international health equity during the summer of 2011 while studying wildlife management and public health with the Boston University’s School for Field Studies in Kenya. Her devotion to humanitarian non-profit work also led her to lobbying at Capitol Hill as an advocate for women’s health with the National Breast Cancer Society. This year she was selected as the Outstanding Undergraduate Health Education Major of the Year at her university by the American Association for Health Education.

Stella’s youthful energy and dedicated work ethic has been an essential addition to our office and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with her on our team.

To learn more about our team:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We're Branching Out!

Institutional Stove Solutions- formerly the Institutional Stove Project of Aprovecho Research Center (ARC)- is now established as an independent nonprofit corporation dedicated to bringing sustainable technology to the world's most vulnerable people, particularly displaced populations and school children. While we are still sharing a campus and vision with ARC, our mission of mass-producing stoves and allied technologies is best served by a stand-alone organization.

You can keep track of our growing process as our organization branches out from its former roots. We will be updating you with a blog per week about happenings big and small. Be a part of our campaign as we gain both a national and international presence as providers of advanced technology to the corners of the world that desperately need its aid.

To learn more about our mission, please visit our website!

We also look forward to hearing from you!

Call us…        (541) 515.1330
E-Mail us…
Come Visit… 79099 Highway 99
Write us…      PO Box 368
                       Cottage Grove, OR 97424 USA