// sustainable rural life
Sustainable Rural Life is the new face of the Hot Pot initiative that was launched by the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature in 2003. Delivering Hot Pots and training communities how to use them served as an effective introduction to clean cooking and provided an alternative to burning firewood in indigenous communities around the country. Approximately 20,000 Hot Pots have been distributed in 16 states of the Mexican Republic.
Frequent exposure to the smoke generated by the traditional open-flame stoves causes 1.9 million premature deaths on a global scale every year and principally affects women and children. This smoke inhalation contributes to a series of chronic diseases and serious side effects like pneumonia, emphysema, cataracts, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases and severe burns. The World Health Organization estimates that the noxious smoke from traditional stoves is the 4th highest health risk factor in developing countries. In Mexico, these rural communities suffer from these health effects and since they typically surround priority zones for conservation, members of these communities play an integral role in the preservation of our country’s natural resources.
To promote the sustainable use of our natural resources by gradually introducing the appropriate eco-technologies (mainly Clean Cookstoves and Hot Pots) that improve the health and household economy of rural communities in Mexico while reducing deforestation, the loss of biodiversity and the emission of greenhouse gasses.
FMCN works jointly with 4 local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that have built ties and earned trust from rural communities thereby ensuring their willingness to work with the Sustainable Rural Life project and their adoption of the eco-technologies. The project is currently operated by Niparajá A.C in Southern Baja California; Profauna A.C., en Coahulia; Rural Women of the Southern Border S.C., in Tabasco and U’yo’olché A.C., in Quintana Roo. These organizations distribute the eco-technologies based on local necessities, train the beneficiaries, monitor their use and carry out the follow-up required as part of the adoption process for these eco-technologies.
Sustainable Rural Life is an integral project that offers diverse benefits for Mexican rural communities including improvements in health and household budgets and the environment. In Quintana Roo, the adoption of these eco-technologies resulted in a 60% reduction in the consumption of firewood; a reduction which amounts to approximately 5 tons of firewood annually for a family of 4. Additionally, it has been proven that the adoption of a Clean Cookstove reduces up to 95% of inhalable particles (PM10) and soot generated by traditional open-flame stoves.
The project Sustainable Rural Life also promotes gender equality since indigenous women, one of them most marginalized groups in Mexico, are commonly the ones to receive and utilize the eco-technologies. By adopting these, women benefit by reducing their daily exposure to smoke and strengthen their self-esteem as they become community leaders. The positive results are reflected in the empowerment of these rural communities over their natural resources while maintaining their cultural identity.
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