Online Program

Beyond the volcanoes: A community partnership for improved cookstoves in rural Nicaragua

Monday, November 4, 2013

Amy C. Cory, PhD, RN, CPNP, College of Nursing, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Paige Snyder, BSN Student, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Cathy Wingstrom, BSN Student, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Carly Crave, BSN Student, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Christina Lundy, BSN Student, College of Nursing, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Claire Simonpietri, BSN Student, College of Nursing, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Background: Health inequities related to gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography exist in rural Nicaragua. The purpose of this ongoing project is to improve health equity in rural Nicaragua through social transformation using community-based participatory action research. Bronfenbrenner's ecological model of human development, school health, and primary health care theories provided the framework for this research.

Methods: Community-based participatory action research involves six phases: partnership, assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. In the evaluation phase, the goal was to use the data obtained during the assessment, planning, and implementation phases to evaluate the cookstove intervention in its ability to reach the community's health-related goals. Pre- and post-test surveys were used to assess indoor air pollution including: kitchen layout, stove type, fuel usage, and women and children's health.

Results: Forty-eight community members participated in the cookstove evaluation. Pre-test surveys indicated the community members' used open fire stoves in closed kitchen spaces with wood being the primary fuel source. Women reported suffering from headaches, eye irritation, and chronic coughing. One year following the implementation phase, post-test surveys indicated a sustainable, significant improvement in women's health (p = .05) but no significant change in the amount of wood used for cooking.

Conclusion: Results from the cookstove evaluation were used by community members to guide the re-engineering of the cookstoves' firebox to decrease wood consumption and improve deforestation. Partnership in community health research provides a mechanism to engage community members in social justice through working toward a common goal—sustainable, health for all.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify health risks of cooking over open fire; List health benefits of the improved cookstoves; Describe community-based participatory action research and its benefits in sustainability of community health improvement projects; and Compare the potential, future environmental benefits of cooking with the improved cookstoves to cooking over open fire.

Keyword(s): Environmental Health, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working on the cookstove research project with Dr. Cory for three years as part of her undergraduate research team. This year, as the senior student, I am leading the team.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.