Global Impact: Nicaragua

Jan. 7, 2020

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"With a good kitchen my children will no longer get sick”

Mariela makes a living by making tortillas, but the work that gives her livelihood also takes away the health of her loved ones, especially her children. She worries about her sons’ health problems; Jimmy has asthma and is susceptible to bronchitis, and according to a doctor, Jacob has suffered pneumonia due to smoke inhaled through their oven. By partnering with Habitat Nicaragua, Mariela was able to build and purchase a new home where it is safe for her children and does not flood during the rainy season. Since moving into her new home, her children's health has improved tremendously.

Nicaraguan Women, Business and a Healthy Kitchen Project 


In Nicaragua, 90% of the rural population or peri-urban areas use wood for cooking, causing carbon monoxide emissions that are finally inhaled by the families themselves and manifests itself in respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pulmonary emphysema and cancer. Over 100 women will benefit from the construction of an improved stove (Ecofogón), a design that works with very little wood, accelerates the cooking process of tortillas and ensures that the smoke is expelled by a chimney.

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Demonstrated Need

  • Many families have informal work or little work training
  • 90% use firewood as main energy source for cooking, which causes deforestation and health issues

Project Goals

  • Transform kitchens in partnership with 100 local women
  • Adoption of improved stoves for food preparation for family, wood saving with chimney, sell food for income
  • Installing water filtration system to improve sanitation
  • Education for partner families about maintenance of stoves, hygiene and proper use of kitchen area and use of renewable energy


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