Monday, April 29, 2013

"The stoves are in, the cooks are ecstatic!"

Dennis Hartley Reporting
Children line up in the schoolyard. 

In February 2013, we sent three 60 liter stoves to St. Paul's school in Torbeck, Haiti for their school meal program. Doug McCord of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Mission, Kansas City (the school's sponsor), reports that "the stoves are in, the cooks are ecstatic." Doug says that the school is saving 90% on fuel costs!

When I visited the school in November, 2012, the school was utilizing several three stone fires in an open yard. The principal showed me the new kitchen - then under construction - where the stoves were to be located.

Afterward, the principal showed me to a simple classroom where boys and girls in clean, brightly colored uniforms listened intently to the teacher writing on the blackboard in front of the class. In a small, resource-starved school like this, in a deforested country like Haiti, 90% fuel savings translates directly into more money spent on children.
Cooks now use our 60 Liter Stoves instead of open-stone fires. 

This school is typical of what I saw when visiting schools in other regions; there are literally thousands of schools like St. Paul's in Haiti. Think how much better the country - and education - would be, if they were all using InStove technology!

Monday, April 22, 2013

InStove Interns Celebrate Earth Day

Nicole at the top of a waterfall.
Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

InStove relies on the tech-savy, youthful wisdom of interns. Historically, these wonderful individuals have been either current students or recent graduates from Oregon universities  In honor of Earth Day, our current intern team was asked to submit a picture of themselves in the great outdoors. I introduce to you the spring 2013 intern team!

Nicole Shearer, our winter Social Media Intern, has returned as Head Intern! She is responsible for working on more intricate projects with development and media as needed, while providing guidance for the newer interns. Her work has been essential in developing our Twitter, Pinterest, and blog presence as well as planning events. We are happy to have her back!

Adam and his mom visited Smith Rock.
Joining her will be Adam Durkee, our new Administrative Assistant Intern. Adam will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from UO. Adam enjoys playing the guitar, snowboarding, and skateboarding! Adam is working on proposals as well as grant writing. He has already helped update our newsletter mailing list.

Emily White, our Social Media Intern, is also graduating from the UO this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Spanish. Emily spent the summer of 2011 working with Mercy Corps in Portland, OR, and wants to work in international development after graduation. She will be creating a social media campaign and helping to create a stove manual for non-English speakers. Emily is essential to researching and developing a plan for crowdfunding.
Emily at the bottom of Iguazu, in Brazil.

Finally, Katy Ahlvin, a recent Western Oregon University anthropology graduate, will be assisting our Development Coordinator as Grant Researcher. Katy studied in Ghana during the spring of 2011 and completed a service learning project with a local NGO. She has been working at the office as well as the public library with database research.

Katy in Ghana!
Each intern will be donating about 10 hours per week. In exchange for their time and talent, InStove provides them with a chance for real-world application.

Thank you, once again, to all interns, volunteers, and supporters for helping InStove make a difference worldwide!

If you wish to see what past inters have been up to, follow us on Twitter! We highlight their recent accomplishments during #throwbackthursday. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Welcome to the team, Nick Moses!

Nicole Shearer Reporting

InStove is growing quickly, and we are happy to announce that one of our volunteer engineers, Nick Moses, is now officially part of the InStove staff. Nick has been essential in our development: performing water boiling tests, finishing research on our 100L stove and water pasteurizer, and air quality analyses. Nick started with us this February during our Winter Workshop. 
Nick and Damon Ogle run a water cycle.

Nick graduated from Oregon State University this last June with a degree in mechanical engineering. Last year, he traveled to India to volunteer with Wash United International to work on sanitation education. In 2008 he participated in the Engineers Without Borders organization and went to El Salvador to work on a water project. It was these experiences that influenced Nick to realize that he wanted to use his degree to help others in the world less fortunate than himself.  

After graduating last year, Nick first heard about Instove when learning about the clean cookstove initiative. He emailed Fred Colgan, our executive director, about a potential opportunity to work with InStove and came to visit the Winter Workshop. It was this week that impressed Nick; he found the organization resourceful and our team sincere. This influenced him to stay on with InStove as a volunteer engineer and make the commute from Corvallis on a weekly basis.

Although he continues to live in Corvallis, Nick plans to make the move to Cottage Grove soon. When he's not performing tests on InStove equipment as the Research and Development Engineer, he enjoys traveling, playing guitar, photography, and hiking. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Northwest Youth Corps Visits InStove in Cottage Grove

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

This past week, InStove hosted Northwest Youth Corps’OutDoorHighSchool at our main campus. Established in 1997, this nonprofit, innovative accredited high school includes overnight camping, hands-on learning, and small class sizes led by AmeriCorps leaders.

Fred Colgan welcomes the students.

Fred Colgan introduced the students to the severity of traditional cooking: “about four million will die this year from inhaling the smoke” as well as how time-consuming and risky it is to gather wood in many countries. This led directly to students creating their own biomass briquettes on our briquette press. They learned from Adam Creighton, Development Coordinator, how mixtures of materials, such as grass, dung, hay, and paper, can be used to make fuel that burns just as well as wood gram for gram.  One junior student said, “Can I take mine home?” At the end of the day, he happily boarded the school bus with briquette in tow.

Adam Creighton shows students how to create briquettes.
Students alternated between making briquettes and using two 60-liter stoves to make fries and rice. This activity, led by Nick Moses and Stella Strother-Blood, Apprentice Engineer and Executive Assistant/Intern Coordinator respectively,  allowed the youth to monitor and feed the fuel into the stoves while learning about how the rocketstove model works.  Of course, they enjoyed the fruits of their labor at the end of the day!

Andrea Dorr, a teacher at Northwest Youth Corps OutDoorHighSchool said, “I think it helped them to think outside the box; it tapped into how they do actually feel about the larger world.”

InStove is a community-centered Oregon nonprofit. We are open to, and value collaboration with, other like-minded organizations. For tours and presentations, please email Our next tour date for individuals and small groups is 10:00 am on April 16th. Please call to reserve your spot!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Clean Cooking Forum 2013

Nicole Shearer Reporting

Last week, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves hosted the Clean Cookstove Forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and as a member of the Alliance we sent our Executive Director, Fred Colgan. Upon arrival, the guests listened to the latest studies and statistics by Dr. Kirk Smith on the dangers of traditional cookstoves and the health burdens they cause.The latest studies show that approximately four million people die each year due to household air pollution! This is up from two million, which was the previous known statistic.

The country of Cambodia.

The rest of the week includes trips to the field to see stoves being used in Cambodia as well as numerous presentations by allied organizations focused on producing clean cookstoves, creating change, and fueling adoption in the field.

Fred made many connections and feels very hopeful for the future of InStove. He had productive meetings with a dozen NGO's and aid organizations as well as the Global Alliance itself. Specifically, these talks focused on expanding collaborative partnerships in Cameroon, Mozambique, Kenya, East Timor, and Uganda, Fred said, "We received a pledged purchase of several containers of stoves for new locations." We are excited about the prospect of new collaborations to bring clean cookstoves to those in need.

Back in Cottage Grove, Oregon, our staff was working hard to plan our trip to Nigeria in May to set up the Stove-Factory-In-A-Box. It is a wonderful sight to see everyone working together to clean our air, reduce deforestation, and protect women's health!