CEDESOL was incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 2003 with the aim of improving the lives of rural communities through the promotion of renewable energies. The organization was founded on the belief that alternative technology is necessary for improving the quality of life for Bolivians. Bolivia has the highest infant mortality rate in the Western hemisphere, which is largely due to the lack of adequate living conditions. Women and children often have to travel far to find fuel with which to cook and typically use firewood and manure indoors without proper ventilation. This results in severe health problems such as respiratory difficulties, cataracts, lung cancer, malnutrition, and monoxide in the blood stream of pregnant women. The installation of ecological kitchens has shown an 80% savings on fuel. Furthermore, the environmentally friendly kitchens reduce the amount of time spent on cooking, which allows participants the time to establish micro-enterprises or engage in other significant activities.
The main objective of CEDESOL is to promote and implement solar cookers and wood stoves in homes and institutions in order to improve the quality of life of rural inhabitants.
Who does CEDESOL help?
CEDESOL helps some of the poorest citizens of Bolivia, those living in rural communities with little resources.
The main office is located on a quiet street across the river in the northern zone of Cochabamba. Volunteers will spend the majority of their time there, but will also be required to make field trips with the CEDESOL team to rural communities around Cochabamba.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in the following program:
The goal of this program is to eliminate carbon dioxide in rural homes by installing ecological kitchens. Solar energy is a renewable resource with no cost, which permits the processing of food without the loss of nutrients. The development of solar kitchens, therefore, can help combat global problems such hunger, malnutrition, and mortality from causes rooted in contamination.
There are five different types of ecological kitchens, and when implemented, they can help families save up to 80% on fuel costs. The kitchens use a form of energy that is free, unlimited, and non-polluting, thus reducing health risks and also saving the time it takes to collect firewood. It is also important to note that eco-kitchens, and the use of alternative energy, protect rural communities from the threat of deforestation.
There may also be opportunities for volunteers to work on the organization’s publicity and marketing campaigns; assist with fund-raising and grant-writing; help with electronic and print publications; and work at Sobre la Roca, a micro-enterprise supported by CEDESOL, which deals with the construction and distribution of the cookers.
Volunteer/ Internship requirements:
- Intermediate Spanish
- Interest in environmental issues, renewable energy, sustainable development
- Motivated and eager to learn
- Willingness to participate in field trips to rural communities
- Interest in working in a team
- Willingness to be proactive and self-starting
- A minimum commitment period of three months