It's World Environment Day all month: A video on how to go smokeless

It's World Environment Day all month: A video on how to go smokeless
By Peace Corps
June 10, 2014

After visiting Colorado State University’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory in the summer of 2009, Charles Hunt immediately thought of his host country, Vanuatu. 

The RPCVs of Colorado sponsored the trip to look at research on smokeless cook stove technology, and another returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Vanuatu commented to Charles that families in Vanuatu would make great use of the stoves, which didn’t produce a large amount of smoke.

In 2010 Charles found out that David Stein, an RPCV who still lived in Vanuatu, was selling smokeless cook stoves as part of his promotion of green technology there. So he tapped into the Denver LoDo Rotary Club, where he serves as International Service Chair, and proposed donating 20 stoves to Volunteers serving as community health Volunteers in Vanuatu. 

David agreed to sell the club the stoves, and Sara Lightner of Peace Corps Vanuatu distributed them to the Volunteers, but there were inconclusive response from the Volunteers.

Everything started coming together when RPCV Dennis Mello became Charles's intern as he was working on his master’s degree at UC San Diego. One of his projects involved better understanding how communities adopted and used cook stoves. He sent out intake surveys to two villages, and there were also two control villages that took part in the surveys, all administered by Volunteers living in Vanuatu. The stoves were delivered to the two villages late 2013 with support from the Port Vila Vanuatu Rotary Club. At about six months into the project, Dennis and Charles are starting to plan the village exit surveys, which will be conducted by Volunteers.  Dennis will then analyze the data, and the control villages will receive stoves as a thank you for their participation.

Charles and David got the inspiration for the music video from a similar effort in India to introduce smokeless cook stoves, where a Bollywood music video was made to drum up interest.  Vanuatu Volunteer Matt Hardwick organized local musicians and a production team to create the video.

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