Kiva is very excited to share a new and innovative partnership with our community: StoveTeam International! If you’re interested in health, job creation and the environment, we're sure that you’ll understand our enthusiasm for these exciting and impactful loans.
 
StoveTeam International (STI) is a non-profit that seeks to address global health issues through the distribution of safe and affordable cookstoves. The organization itself was founded by Oregon native Nancy Hughes after she took a medical volunteer trip to Guatemala. During her journey, Nancy and the medical team observed and treated many severe burns caused by open fire cooking. The burns however were only part of the problem as women and children across the world also inhale massive amounts of pollutants from these open fires. 

 
Every year, close to 3 billion people are exposed to open fires and leaky stoves, and nearly 2 million people die prematurely from illnesses linked to this type of indoor air pollution. Women are especially vulnerable as people exposed to heavy indoor smoke are three times more likely to suffer from chronic bronchitis than those using cleaner fuels.
 
StoveTeam International’s primary product, the Ecocina cookstove, addresses these health and environmental concerns by reducing 70% of harmful pollutants and using 50% less wood than an open fire. Moreover, STI aims to benefit local communities with employment opportunities by helping to establish locally owned and operated stove factories. 

Kiva borrower Anibal

 
Take Anibal, an entrepreneur who produces and sells Ecocina cookstoves in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. His stove factory employs six people and has sold more than 5,000 stoves in three years, and he’s now seeking a loan to create a new distribution center in Ocotepeque, Honduras. We’re happy to report that STI’s business model for entrepreneurs like Anibal earned them the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Partnership for Clean Indoor Air Award for Developing Local Markets.

 
The organization’s commitment to tackling health and environmental risks associated with open-fire cooking is one that we share at Kiva, and we are very proud to offer our lenders the opportunity to help local factory owners expand into surrounding communities, bringing these safer stoves to those who need them most. 
 
Want to make a loan to one of StoveTeam International’s borrowers? GO HERE!

Photos Courtesy of StoveTeam International.
 
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