Exposure to smoke from polluting, open fires and inefficuelt fuels for cooking contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and acute health impacts such as early childhood pneumonia, emphysema, cataracts, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, and low birth weight. Women and young children are the most affected, with 700 children in Guatemala dying annually as a result of acute lower respiratory infections caused by the use of solid fuels. Across Guatemala, household air pollution from cooking and heating contributes to nearly 4,500 deaths every year. 

More than 40% of Guatemala’s population relies on solid fuels for their household cooking and heating needs. Reliance on biomass for cooking and heating leads to environmental degradation from increased pressure on local natural resources and forces women and children to spend many hours each week collecting wood. Inefficient cooking also contributes to climate change through emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and aerosols such as black carbon.

Clean Cooking Can Help

The use of cleaner, more modern cookstoves and fuels can dramatically reduce exposure to harmful cooking smoke, can provide myriad economic opportunities for Guatemalans, and can help reduce forest degradation and slow climate change. More modern stoves and cleaner fuels also reduce the time people—usually women and girls—need to spend collecting fuel, freeing up time for income generating activities or education.



Guatemala has seen steady advancement in transforming the cookstoves and fuels. Highlights include:

  • The National Program for Competitiveness (PRONACOM), the Guatemalan Ministry of Environment and the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Alliance creating a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Activities Facility generate microcredit options for clean cookstoves and fuels, supporting stove testing, and conducting market research.
  • Guatemala’s First Lady Patricia Marroquin became a public advocate for clean cooking, kicking off her work by helping launch a program to equip kitchens in 200 schools with clean cookstoves.
  • The opening of Guatemala’s first stove store. Called “Estufas Mejoradas y Mas” (Improved Stoves and More), the store is run by women entrepreneurs working in the sector and is supported by the Municipal Women’s Office and the Clean Cooking Alliance.
  • The completion of an Alliance-led behavior change communication campaign to reach 350,000 consumers in the state of Sacatepéquez. The campaign included market activations, digital media outreach, and marketing messages distributed via flyers, local cable, and radio.
Country Statistics
Number of people who primarily use fuels such as wood, charcoal, coal, and kerosene for cooking - 9,300,000 (54%) (WHO, 2016)
Number of deaths per year attributable to household air pollution - 4,600 (IHME, 2017)
Percentage of woodfuel harvest that is unsustainable - 32% (Bailis, et at., 2015)
13-5: Pilot Innovation Fund Round 2
Pilot Innovation Fund Round II: Applied Sunshine LLC
Applied Sunshine LLC
2014 - Guatemala
13-6 Women’s Empowerment Fund
WEF Grant: Soluciones Apropiadas, S.A
Soluciones Apropiadas, S.A
2014 - Guatemala
Carbon Finance, Impact Investing and Market Development Grants
Agora Accelerator Guatemala
Agora Partnerships
2014 - Guatemala