The Environmental Resources Management Foundation’s Low Carbon Enterprise Fund
2011: Guatemalan Ministry of Economy Business Plan Competition Grant2013: Invited to Attend Latin American Forum for Impact Investing2014: Travel scholarship from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to speak at the Latin American Clean Cookstoves Workshop in Lima, Peru
Estufa Doña Dora is an enterprise based in Guatemala that sells improved cookstoves to Guatemalan families who rely heavily on firewood. They provide a high quality product as well as installation, training, and follow-up visits to ensure that each family is able to benefit fully from the new stove.
Estufa Doña Dora’s product is an improved wood-fired cookstove that utilizes a high-efficiency “rocket” type combustion chamber that can reduce fuelwood consumption by up to 50% compared to traditional cookstoves and 67% compared to open fire cooking.
The internal airflow assures that all of the smoke leaves the chimney, even during startup, significantly reducing indoor air pollution and thus risk for related respiratory illnesses.
No parts of the stove easily touched by accident can burn the user.
Estufa Doña Dora is committed to ensuring that customers benefit from the product as much as possible, providing training and follow-ups after the initial sale and installation of the product.
Estufa Doña Dora targets low-income Guatemalan families in both urban and rural areas that buy firewood.
Estufa Doña Dora
Estufa Doña Dora receives money both from sales and investment, loans, and grants.
The first seed capital came from a grant from the Guatemalan Ministry of the Economy.
Estufa Doña Dora also received support from Alterna and is receiving debt financing and investment from The Environmental Resources Management Foundation’s Low Carbon Enterprise Fund.
We see efficient cook-stoves as a consumer durables product rather than a humanitarian intervention. The people who use our stove are customers, not beneficiaries. Not only must the stove work (save wood, get the smoke out of the house, and not burn anyone) but people need to want it in their home. Our lifeblood is satisfied customers who love their stove enough to tell their trusting neighbors about it. The high-touch service we offer, personally delivering each stove to the customer and then following up with them to make sure they are realizing the benefits of the product ensures good word of mouth buzz in each community.
In Guatemala, many families burn firewood for cooking and heating, which is often purchased from a local wood seller rather than gathered by family members. Thus, fuelwood gathering is an actual monetary expense. Many families spend up to 20% of their income on firewood.
Families often use open fires or inefficient traditional cookstoves for cooking that consume large amounts of wood.
2.1 million families in Guatemala use wood for cooking and heating, contributing to deforestation. More efficient cookstoves like the Estufa Doña Dora reduce wood usage and therefore environmental impact.
Where They Are Now
Impact to Date
Estufa Doña Dora has sold over 1,000 stoves to date, impacting the lives of around 4,900 people.
Families save $10-15 monthly on wood expenses and reduce wood usage by 30-50%.
The specially designed chimney and combustion chamber funnels all smoke up and out of the house, mitigating respiratory illnesses caused by exposure to indoor air pollution.
Less firewood usage equals less deforestation and less carbon emissions.
2011: Estufa Doña Dora established.
2013: 500 stoves sold in 2013 alone.
2014: 1,000th cookstove sold.
2014: Break-even expected.
Estufa Doña Dora seeks to sell units to families who have used microfinance before, as they have experience and trust in existing microfinance networks.
They hope to use these families as a platform to launch themselves into individual communities to reach community-level penetration. The idea is that once these families express their satisfaction with the cookstove to their friends and neighbors, the word will spread throughout the community, creating demand at the end of the last mile.
How They Deliver
The product itself was designed specifically by the enterprise from the ground up for usability, safety, convenience, and efficiency.
Stoves are manufactured locally in Guatemala.
Estufa Doña Dora is currently experimenting with a few distribution models, including sale through agents and achieving community-level penetration and word-of-mouth spread through families that receive aid from microfinance institutions.
Estufa Doña Dora also seeks to have replacement parts be provided by sales agents in communities.
Estufa Doña Dora partners with local microfinance institutions to provide a payment plan that involves putting fuelwood savings towards paying for the stove.
Monthly payments can be as low as $13 a month, and monthly savings from the are around $11 a month minimum; the net payment rate is easily manageable for most families.
Estufa Doña Dora seeks to scale to more customers throughout Guatemala.
Their current scaling goal is to serve 10,000 customers a year within Guatemala.
In the future, they seek to create a micro-franchise model to help them achieve this sort of scale.
Estufa Doña Dora wants to target a large number of customers rather than attempt to have a huge impact on a small number of customers.
They seek to focus on getting cleaner, more efficient cookstoves to enough families to create social change rather than helping a few families move higher up the energy ladder onto sources of power like gas and electricity, which would have a more holistic impact. They see improved cookstoves as a more feasible option right now.
The Estufa Doña Dora Clean Cookstove, which features a high efficiency rocket-style combustion chamber, an area for wood storage, and a smokestack that directs harmful smoke up and outside of the house.