Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Hundred, 100 Liter Stoves in Senegal

Stella Strother-Blood reporting 
100 stoves loaded up for Senegal.

InStove is deepening our program in Senegal: this time with one hundred, 100 Liter Stoves that left our loading dock this morning and will arrive in time for the Magal Touba holiday this December.

In January 2013, Executive Director Fred Colgan traveled to Senegal for a consultation with the German Foreign Development Organization, GIZ. At the Gamou celebration, tens of thousands of Senegalese take to the streets and feast on local cuisine. Last January, six of our stoves fed hundreds of people at the event.

“People were walking in the streets through the smoke of hundreds of cookstoves,” said Fred. “In between these massive piles of firewood, you could see our stoves cooking smoke-free!”

Like the Gamou celebration, feeding the hundreds of thousands who attend the Magal Touba event creates logistical challenges. InStove is excited to collaborate again with GIZ to help event organizers overcome these challenges by increasing their capacity to sustainably and affordably meet the needs of the Senegalese people, while reducing the environmental costs of doing so.

A passerby examined our stoves at Gamou last year
“Cooking time was dramatically reduced on InStove’s stoves,” Fred said in his last report. “Food that normally requires four hours was ready in two. Cooks remarked that in the future, they would have to do more forward planning and preparation to keep ahead of the fast cooking times on InStove’s stoves!”

After the ten day Touba event, the stoves will remain in Senegal, providing an ongoing institutional-scale cooking solutions. InStove is now in discussions with government groups, aid agencies, and religious organizations to establish a factory partnership in Senegal in the near future.

“Obviously, economical, clean, fast, and safe cooking is appreciated by cooks and administrators alike,” concluded Fred. 

A big "thank you" to our factory crew for loading every container with care!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Serving Thousands in Dadaab

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

"Homes" are made of found material and tarps
Dadaab, Kenya: it’s the largest refugee camp in the world, and most people don’t know it exists. Dadaab is composed of multiple distinct camps, most constructed in the early 1990s for a population less than 100,000. Together, they now hold approximately 500,000 refugees – and the count increases each day. It’s a settlement over 50 miles wide, packed by countless flimsy shelters made of tarps, scraps and whatever material families could find. 

Dadaab hosts a population of families from various countries and conflicts; most are Somalis escaping drought, famine, and civil war. The settlement is plagued by overcrowding, lack of infrastructure, and not enough supplies. To newcomers, this is not the salvation they had hoped for. For some young people who have lived in Dadaab for decades: this is the only life they have ever known.

Arial view of part of the camp
Deforestation around Dadaab is a major concern. The land is treeless, devastated by over-harvesting of firewood, and frequent floods made worse by a lack of vegetation. Such floods destroy roads, and add a heavy burden to the lives of those in Dadaab.

“InStove sees the problem and we want to help,” said Executive Assistant Stella Strother-Blood, “When I was in Kenya, I saw the toll droughts and floods have on communities. There is no firewood! We have a solution that can make a life-changing impact for thousands of people.”

On Monday, September 16th, InStove shipped 45 stoves to UNHCR for use in Dadaab. Executive Director Fred Colgan will be consulting in Dadaab in the coming months, working with cooks and UNHCR representatives to establish a viable and sustainable method to feed thousands of people.

“This delivery to Dadaab is a goal we’ve had since our inception,” said Colgan, “This is why InStove exists. Refugees in Dadaab are exactly the people we wish to serve and help.”

Forty-five stoves were packed up and left for Dadaab on Monday!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Senator De La Cruz Visits the Headquarters

Adam Creighton and Stella Strother-Blood reporting

The InStove Headquarters has always been a hub for international visitors of all kinds - scientists, benefactors, and now, politicians. Senator Francisco De La Cruz, a physician from Lospalis, Central Plateau, Haiti is in Cottage Grove, Oregon this week visiting our team of staff, consultants, and volunteers. They are discussing collaboration between Haiti and InStove and exploring the possibility of starting a water-pasteurization pilot project in 2014.

Senator De La Cruz is an outspoken opponent of ineffective nongovernmental organizations and corruption in Haiti. He founded an NGO, Organization for Coordination of Sanitary Action and Development in Haiti, which works to improve health through access to agriculture and health education. It also offers classes that empower women and men to start micro-businesses with micro-loans.

Today, the Senator met with Fred Colgan, InStove's executive director, to talk about plans to bring a water pasteurizer and several stoves and autoclaves to his district for demonstrations this year. This could be the seed, or as he puts it, "the grain of sand" that leads to an increased presence and eventually to a factory in Haiti.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Internship with InStove

Kevin Rhodes reporting
Kevin at his college's football game.
I came into contact with InStove through the University of Oregon. I was taking an international marketing class and Stella and Nick came in to give a presentation about marketing a non-profit business and provided an introduction to this great company. I was immediately impressed with the presentation and the many ways InStove counteracts pollution and hunger and aids those in desperate need. At the end of their presentation, Stella and Nick mentioned their involvement with the university and their internship program, and I emailed Stella that afternoon to find out more.

The entire team here is very welcoming, genuine and passionate about what they are doing. Everyone is constantly trying to improve InStove and people’s lives around the world. On a normal day I drive to the Cottage Grove office where I am greeted by many busy, smiling people and of course Bridey, the affectionate dog, always looking for a little attention. I mainly work with Adam Creighton, the development coordinator. Adam has taught me countless lessons, mainly focused on grant research, databases, grant writing, excel capabilities, and various computer programs.
Much of Kevin's grant research has been for our water pasteurizer.

I am coming up on my senior year at the University of Oregon, closing in on an International Business major and both a computer informational technologies and communication minor. Adam listened to my interests of international business and marketing (with an emphasis on technology) and specifically created my internship experience to what I wanted to do. This I believe is very rare for internships, rather than fetching coffee for the employees, I’m doing hands-on research and personally contributing to InStove’s mission and international involvement. With the many new experiences I’ve had and lessons I have learned this summer, I am going back to school with a fresh idea of what marketing and passionate people

can achieve and how much of an impact one non-profit can have. I am beyond grateful for the time I have had at InStove and the great, humbling work this company is doing for at risk people throughout the developing world.

If you are interested in an internship with InStove, please contact the Intern Coordinator