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04 October 2005

Mott MacDonald engineer completes three month voluntary project in Ecuador

Lily Ryan-Collins, a structural engineer at Mott MacDonald, has just completed a three month project in Ecuador working on a smoke-free wood-burning stove project for the NGO Engineers Without Borders UK, a non-profit organisation that promotes engineering knowledge as a tool for people to escape from the cycle of poverty.

As project coordinator for the smoke-free wood-burning stove project, Lily was working alongside three other volunteers. Their work was aimed at introducing the stoves into rural communities who traditionally use open fires for cooking, a method that results in high levels of smoke inhalation and is fuel inefficient. World Bank data shows that smoke inhalation kills two million people in developing countries each year (mostly women and children), while inefficient fuel use results in unnecessary deforestation or high expenditure in areas where firewood must be purchased.

The smoke-free stove that Lily has been helping to develop is based on a traditional design named ‘Lorena’ and is constructed from adobe, a mixture of sand clay and straw which has been used as a building material in Latin America for centuries. The stove has a sheet metal chimney that serves the double function of removing smoke from the home and heating the room.

Commenting on the success of the project Lily said: “The project has gone really well. Myself and the other volunteers built and tested two prototype stoves and carried out two stove-building workshops in rural communities. The workshops were the highpoint, the people were welcoming and enthusiastic and more than happy to join in and get their hands muddy.”

The most significant stage of the project was the outreach programme that included education regarding the health and efficiency advantages of using a Lorena stove. Volunteers worked to put in place a network to ensure the work continues after they all leave.

After a few weeks travelling in the region, Lily will travel to El Salvador to work for six weeks on an earthquake-resistant housing project run by REDES (The Foundation for the Reconstruction and Development of El Salvador), before returning to the UK and her work at Mott MacDonald.

Ends

Visit: www.ewb-uk.org
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