Trees, Water & People and the Justa Cookstove in Honduras

In October of 1998 Honduras suffered from one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history, Hurricane Mitch. In the wake of this tragic storm, many relief efforts began rebuilding and aiding the thousands of affected locals.
Aprovecho engineers Mike Hatfield, Peter Scott, and Dr. Larry Winiarski decided to travel to Honduras in an attempt to offer aid in the field of cookstove research and design. Working closely with Stewart Conway of Trees, Water & People and AHDESA (Asociación Hondureña para el Desarrollo) they developed the “JustaStove” fittingly named after community leader Doña Justa Nuñez who was also directly involved in the design.
The Justa cookstove is made out of mud and brick and built in the user’s home. Utilizing Dr. Winiarski’s rocket stove principles resulted in a more efficient design. The body of the stove is insulated with wood-ash or other locally available material and is topped with a removable metal cooking surface, or plancha. A built-in chimney vents harmful gases and particulate matter emissions from the kitchen. Since the stove was designed, thousands of people throughout Honduras have been trained on how to build and properly maintain the stove.
This was an excellent learning experience for Aprovecho in developing and applying appropriate technology. To truly achieve progress in an area as ambiguous and loosely structured as cookstove design, engineers and stove project developers must dedicate enough time to monitor and evaluate the applicability of cookstoves in communities on a per-family basis sometimes over several years.
Today, Trees, Water & People concentrates their efforts in the Guacerique Watershed outside of the capital city of Tegucigalpa. Staff and partners track and monitor the progress of these stoves, visiting households and testing to ensure that the stoves hold up to daily use. Over 65,000  improved cookstoves have been integrated into households in Honduras with hundreds more added each day.