We live in the sunny Southwest, New Mexico to be exact. And sunny is an understatement. Like much of the west, we have our local mountains, the Organs. They are beautiful, and like all landscapes have a beauty that changes forms throughout the day. On a clear summer evening they are rosy pink fading to purple through the sunset, and on a chilly winter morning the clouds move on to reveal snow dusted caps. Our mountains are but a mirror held up to life, children grow and cities become ancient ruins, each with their own beauty in season.
So Pasqual is no different than life. It has many aspects, and like the wild rivers it’s future shape remains to be seen. But all rivers lead to the sea, and Pasqual has but one mission.
Increase health and financial security throughout Latin America by providing individual access to cost
effective appropriate cooking technology.
There you have it. That is what Pasqual is, and what Pasqual does. There are many ways to accomplish this, and the methods necessary to achieve this will likely take different forms in each region.
In order to help our Cook in the most appropriate way, we have to find ways to get the cost of our partner’s products into an affordable range. This can be done by developing logistics networks that are efficient, by working to reduce import duties, utilizing carbon finance, and by collaborating to achieve economies of scale. Economies of scale take many forms. To illustrate my point, one does not go to the hammer store and then the nail store when working on a home project, you go to the hardware store. The hardware store is one economy that helps the hammer company and the nail company to survive, by uniting to lower distribution costs and keep products affordable.
As we mentioned before, microfinance is another means to help Chef acquire new cooking technology, and this field is growing and developing at a rapid pace. As stated earlier, the finance situation will look different from region to region, and also likely within the regions themselves.
Just to head off a lurking issue, giving away clean cookstoves and solar ovens is not part of our plan, and it is not a good idea. On the face of it, a company cannot afford to simply give away it’s wares. That means that cash has to come from somewhere, and if it isn’t coming from the user at the bottom it is coming from a donor at the top. Donor money and grants dry up and blow away like so much dust, ask anyone who depends on these forms of income. But, deeper than that, if a Cook is not personally invested in her clean cookstove then she is less likely to take care of it. If she fails to take care of it, it will deteriorate more rapidly and will be used less and less until it is consigned to the dustbin of history. Donations can be like a form of imperialism if used in the wrong way, and we want our Cook to be happy, healthy, and independent.
No, economies have to be built. Cooks have to value the product, and they do. This is currently how the most successful projects are undertaken, worldwide. But there are other aspects to be addressed, such as education. A Cook will not simply switch from her beloved yet deadly Three Rocks if shown a solar oven, she has to be educated on how Three Rocks is bad, how the solar oven is good, and how to use it in a culturally appropriate way. Sometimes this is not too hard to do, but other times it takes quite a bit of effort to bridge those chasms. One of Pasqual’s top functions is to develop an educational campaign that will address the issues our cooks face using all of the positive benefits that our partners products have to offer in a synergistic fashion.
So, back to our economy of scale. When one organization of partners works to address all of the aforementioned issues together instead of each one doing their own thing, the result is going to be quicker, more economical, and more effective. This is how Pasqual will help our partners move effectively into Latin America. Latin America has a lower density of solid fuel users than places like Africa and Asia, and this translates into higher per-unit costs, for the same reason that a hammer costs more at a mom and pop hardware store than it does at a big box store. Economy of scale.
But, to put it more plainly, Pasqual is me and my wife Mara. Pasqual is our friends at EcoZoom, InStove, Solavore, and One Earth Designs. Pasqual is the people who follow our project and get involved. Pasqual is the customer in Nicaragua who buys a solar oven, or the cook in Bolivia who buys a new plancha stove. Pasqual is the people who make it happen, from the bottom to the top.
Pasqual’s first mission is to take the ideas we have been discussing and, like a lump of potter’s clay, form them into a working model. This is going to take time, it is going to take experience, and it is going to take exposure. We do not know what the final outcome will be, but we know what our goals are.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more on how we plan to take our ideas and turn them into reality.
To be continued…
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