Safe Water, Clean Cooking

In Guatemala today, 40% of rural people still don’t have safe water to drink! Respiratory disease is Guatemala’s leading cause of death, largely from cooking emissions cooking. The lion’s share of people suffering both from polluted drinking water and killer cooking emissions are poor, rural Guatemalan families, such as those who live in El Area Mám — the heart of Xela AID’s service area. This needs to change.



The World Health Organization reports that when safe drinking water, toilets and hand washing capability are brought to a home, “enteric disease (occurring in the intestines) decreases by 80%.” Since so many of the health issues we treat at Xela AID’s clinic are intestinal, that’s the kind of change we want to see.

To make this a reality, Xela AID is proud to be teaming with the Rotary Club of Avalon, California, Club Rotario de Quetzaltenango, and other Rotary Clubs in Southern California to implement a Rotary International Global Grant to bring clean drinking water, sanitation (toilets) and hand washing stations to nearly 15,000 people in this poverty belt. The project launched in 2017, and will equip 17 schools, two clinics and a number of private households with the clean water and sanitation facilities they need to lead healthier, more productive lives! It has since grown to serve more than 22,000 people.



“Smoke from open cooking fires kills more than eight times as many people as malaria. Daily cooking is the equivalent to mothers and children smoking three packs of cigarettes a day.”

These words of caution come from our friends at Stove Team, which empowers local entrepreneurs in Latin America to produce clean-burning stoves. Xela AID proudly uses Stove Team technology in the kitchen of our Betty Rikalo Welcome Center, displays the technology in the marketplace at our headquarters in Guatemala, and introduces the cooks and influencers in our community to this technology which is catching on. That’s good news.