According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with dignified homes are healthier, happier, more secure, and less susceptible to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases that are endemic to the poor.
USAID´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project implemented by CRS recently provided essential household services through the installation and training on the use of improved stoves and water filters to 238 families, benefiting over 1,200 people in the communities of Jutacaj and Racana, in Momostenango, Totonicapán.
“We used to cook over stones with an open fire on the floor, but now the stove has uplifted our spirit. Now it is different, we don’t cook on the floor, and it feels good to sit around the stove with my family.” Juana Ajanel Tzun, stove, and filter beneficiary in Jutacaj.
The actions are based on the “healthy housing” strategy promoted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which seeks to improve housing conditions that support physical, mental, and social health of families.
CLD supported families with the construction of “Uk´u´x Ja” type energy-saving and smoke reducing stoves. Complementary to their installation, families were trained not only in the construction, use, and maintenance of the stoves, but also in other topics on healthy homes, such as self-esteem, financial education, disaster risk reduction, and nutrition.
“I am happy because my family has a place to cook, eat and talk. I´ve been married for 14 years and it´s the first time we have a nice place to be together in the kitchen” Estela Baten Sarate, stove, and filter beneficiary in Jutacaj.
For the management of safe water within the home, CLD distributed water filters and provided training on their use and maintenance and addressed rational use of water and water management within the home.
“I like my red stove, it brightens my home, it makes it look happy. And the filter gives us clean water; I use the water to make breakfast and to drink”, Everilda Acabal Baten, stove and filter beneficiary in Racana.
USAID is helping families and communities to achieve a better quality of life with access to clean water, efficient and smoke– reducing stoves, preventing respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, a tangible lift for a better quality of life.
 Source: World Health Organization (WHO), The World Health Report 2005