Adoption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Stoves in Guatemala: A Mixed-Methods Study
Household air pollution is the sixth leading risk factor for premature mortality in Guatemala. Households in Guatemala are gradually adopting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves, but a strong tradition of woodstove use persists. We conducted a mixed-methods study of LPG stove use in peri-urban Guatemala. We used knowledge, attitudes and practices surveys with 187 LPG stove owners who also used woodstoves to identify perceptions of stove and cooking practices. Barriers to sustained use of LPG stoves were evaluated through focus groups, participant observations with stove users, and key informant interviews with community leaders. Seven themes emerged that explain household decisions to use LPG stoves: (1) The “new technology” should be framed in terms of what the “old technology” lacks, (2) income is not a predictor of gas stove acquisition but may predict sustained use, (3) men are key decision-makers but messages about LPG do not target them, (4) when stoves are viewed as “prize possessions” they may not be used, (5) collective fear about gas stoves is not based on personal experience, but on “stories we hear,” (6) sustained LPG use is hampered by two major factors, seasonally available wood and LPG retailers who are perceived as dishonest, and (7) wood fuel collection is a time to enjoy the company of friends and family and is not “drudgery.” National policies should promote the use of clean cookstove technologies in peri-urban and rapidly urbanizing areas in Guatemala where LPG stoves are in use, but used intermittently, instead of the current plan to install 100,000 “improved” woodstoves by 2032. This could be done by improving dependable cylinder distribution services, targeting gas safety and promoting positive health messages that appeal to men, as well as women.
KeywordsHousehold air pollution Liquefied petroleum gas Knowledge, attitudes and practices surveys Guatemala Mixed-methods
We wish to acknowledge the hard work of the local field team in Guatemala. Without their commitment, this study would not have been achievable. Many thanks to César Vega González, Eduardo Canuz Castro, Paola García López, Elena Jirón Aguilar, Claudia Cojolón, Mirna Betzabé Esqueque and Rutilia Pérez Chicojay. We thank the participating families and community members in San Juan Alotenango for participating in this study. This project was part of a joint funding effort by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public–private partnership hosted by the United Nations Foundation and the USAID Translating Research into Action Project (TRAction).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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