Utsil Naj (A Healthy Home for all) - Mexico
For the past few decades, climate change has impacted many rural communities in Mexico. Particularly, hurricanes and floods have caused significant damages to many small farming communities. These families are especially vulnerable because their crops represent a source of income and livelihood.
As an added pressure, a significant proportion of these same communities still cook on open stoves with solid fuels, such as firewood.
Relying on firewood as fuel for cooking also puts a tremendous strain on forest and biodiversity. Unsustainable timber harvesting can contribute to mudslides, watershed loss, and desertification, putting new pressures on regional food security and agricultural productivity.
It is estimated that over 5 million people use firewood in Mexico to cook. As a result, families have to cut more trees, use more firewood, and produce more household air pollution every time they need to cook. This has a huge impact on the environment and their health.
- Where and when: Mexico, Central America - 2012
- Technology: Improved Cookstoves
- Project Certification:
The Utsil Naj programme aims at addressing these challenges in an innovative way. Switching to improved cookstoves (ICS) reduces the use of firewood and lowers carbon emissions, all while expelling the toxic fumes outside the users’ homes. This decreases household air pollution dramatically and contributes to forests and biodiversity preservation.
Utsil Naj means “A Healthy Home for All” in Maya, was established in 2012 and covers Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. The particular challenge about having projects in different countries is that each location has its own particular characteristics. For this reason, it was especially important to consider the needs and perceptions of each community, as well as the local context and regulations before setting up any solution.
Utsil Naj – Mexico has generated two carbon credits issuances, corresponding to 622 thousand EUR given to the partners for the sustainability of their projects. The project is currently present in six regions: Sonora, Michoacan, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, Oaxaca, and the State of Mexico.
Having this approach has helped keep Utsil Naj – Mexico sustainable, generating lasting benefits for almost 10 years. In addition to the environmental impacts generated by the project, Utsil Naj is having a profound social and economic impact on each family, lowering the risk of heart and lung diseases and reducing the amount of time spent in cooking-related chores. Utsil Naj also helps create awareness among local authorities and promote the implementation of community-based projects with adequate monitoring over time. Most initiatives by the government have, so far, failed to ensure the sustainability of the project beyond its first year.
With this solution, rural families in Mexico are enjoying a better quality of life while tackling climate change.
Impact since the beginning of the programme
The project is certified by the prestigious Gold Standard. Its impacts on our communities and our planet are carefully measured and reported as contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations (UN).
''This stove lets me cook more food in less time (...) we are very happy because it saves us a lot of firewood and it protects us from developing any lung diseases''
(Turcio Community - State of Mexico, Mexico)
''We use the stove every day. Now there is less smoke in the house, we use less firewood, and the food cooks quicker. We save money buying gas because we hardly need to use it''
(El Fresno Community - Michoacán, Mexico)