Sebastian Africano Trees Water People Fuel Efficient Cooking Stoves in Honduras

Sebastian Africano, Fuel Efficient Cook Stove Expert

Sebastian Africano is the founder of ENASA, a consulting firm for fuel-efficient cooking stoves. He now works for Trees, Water & People in Colorado as their International Director. Sebastian manages TWP’s clean cookstove, solar energy and reforestation programs in Central America and Haiti. TWP has planted more than 6 million trees and installed 70,000 fuel efficient cook stoves, 6,000 solar lights, and other appropriate technologies throughout the world.

In 2008, Sebastian worked with SHH to replace 30 traditional stoves with 30 fuel-efficient cooking stoves in Honduras.

If you’re deciding whether to become a social entrepreneur or to work for a traditional non-profit organization, this is your episode. Sebastian talks about and compares his work as a social entrepreneur in Central America and in East Africa vs. his non-profit desk job at TWP.

He discusses the lifestyle differences, and the different skills required for the two kinds of work.

Show Notes & Summary for Sebastian Africano

  • Sebastian tested health indicators such as carbon monoxide and particulate matters (smoke and soot) in the kitchens before the fuel-efficient cook stoves were installed
  • The paper white smoke filters turned black with soot within 24 hours
  • His tests showed an 80% reduction in particulate matter and carbon monoxide with fuel-efficient cook stoves
  • According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4 million people are dying from indoor pollution each year
  • Babies are immediately exposed as soon as they’re born.
  • Chronic exposure to indoor air pollution causes vision and respiratory issues
  • The Justa Stove was developed in Tegucigalpa around 1998
  • Appropriate technology is technology that adapts to the local realities
  • It improves conditions without interrupting culture
  • Scaling is difficult due to regional differences
  • Mass production, one-size-fits-all models that aren’t localized
  • Composting latrines
  • Pit latrines during floods can cause a cholera epidemic
  • Sebastian started his journey by volunteering after college, getting to know different organizations in depth.
  • He was paying off parking tickets by volunteering. That’s how he got started.
  • Aprovecho Research Center in Oregon
  • After 3 years of volunteering and interning, Sebastian became a consultant in Central America and East Africa
  • Sebastian discusses the skills it takes to land an internship position in a nonprofit organization in today’s day and age
  • How Sebastian hustled to get his job at Trees, Water & People
  • Why Sebastian decided to take on a more traditional job with Trees, Water & People after seven years of being on the road as a social entrepreneur and independent contractor
  • Sebastian discusses the lifestyle differences between a social entrepreneur versus someone working for a pre-existing non-profit organization
  • The difficult transition that Sebastian went through from being a field guy to an office guy
  • Sebastian’s relationship with his Executive Director
  • Sebastian discusses the kind of communications skills that are required for those looking to work in the nonprofit world, both in the field and in the office–or as he calls it the Barrio and in the Board room.

Sebastian Africano Trees Water People solar energy Honduras

Sebastian Africano with Trees, Water & People