The project Énergie Solaire pour Kinshasa (ESK) (Solar Energy for Kinshasa) aims to reduce use and production of charcoal by providing solar cookers to poor households in Kinshasa and its direct vicinity. It will start in Mont N’Gafula a town of 300,000 people with 90% unemployment. It takes 6 kg of wood to produce 1 kg of charcoal, and most if not all of the 30,000 households use charcoal as their primary source of cooking fuel. This of course leads to rapid deforestation and a degradation of the biomass on which the inhabitants depend for a living. Furthermore, the production of charcoal exposes the producers to harmful gases. The NGOs, involved conducted interviews with charcoal producers and most suffer from tuberculosis as a result of exposure to gases.
Here are some of the advantages of the project:
- Use of solar energy will decrease deforestation pressures, and aid environmental restoration through decreased biomass harvesting;
- Wood or dung collection labor will be reduced by 50% or more;
- Due to decrease in wood collection duties, students will be able to spend more time studying;
- Cooking time is reduced, and so is cooking labor;
- Households’ disposable income increases thanks to reduced wood, dung and kerosene purchases;
- The health of people in the household will improve due to the elimination of smoke inhalation, irrespirable particulates, and other toxic emissions during cooking and charcoal production.
- Social equity benefits as the project benefits the poorest sectors of Congolese society.
- The ecosystem will undergo a revival and soil quality will improve as a result of reforestation and biomass no longer being used for charcoal production.
The city of Kinshasa is working hand in hand with the local communities and sees the promtion of solar energy as the best way to put an end to the rampant destruction of the environment in Kinshasa. This webpage will be updated with pictures and accounts from the people profiting from the cookers. If you have any question please do not hesitate to us.