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.