After 6½ years as Sunny Solutions project officer, Dinah Chienjo left Solar Cookers International (SCI) at the end of June 2009. She will be missed.
Dinah was selected from a strong pool of candidates to fill the position when it was first announced in 2002. Prior to joining SCI, she was a high school teacher for a number of years. She had also been active in a number of community organizations focusing on counseling, HIV/AIDS issues, and women’s rights.
At SCI, Dinah headed up a team of over 20 women who conducted solar cooker demonstrations, taught solar cooking skills, and sold solar cookers through micro-businesses. She was highly involved in project assessments, and was an advocate for solar cooking at numerous events, on radio programs, and was even featured as an SCI representative in a documentary about Africa conservation projects. Her work took her to various parts of Kenya, Ghana, and even the United States, where she participated in the 15th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and demonstrated the practicality of using solar cookers to international diplomats, United Nations visitors, and a CNN reporter.
Upon learning that she had been hired for the position, Dinah recalled being “excited, but also afraid, barely knowing the challenges that lay ahead. My task as project officer was to work with a local community-based organization called NYACODA, and together we were to introduce a new cooking technology in Nyakach.” She continued, “Years down the line, I have no regrets, I am proud to have been involved as facilitator and a beneficiary of the changes I am witnessing in my community.”
News and recent developments
- August 2008: With support from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the long anticipated “training of trainers” water testing and solar pasteurization workshop was held in June at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, Kenya. Participants included 20 top staff members each from the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MPHS). Solar Cookers International (SCI) staff members Margaret Owino, Faustine Odaba, Elijah Achola, Dinah Chienjo, Simon Ogutu, John Amayo and Karyn Ellis were instrumental in the success of this workshop, as was John Rimberia from Embu. Microbiologist and SCI Board President Dr. Bob Metcalf led the workshop. Topics included a review of bacterial properties and growth, pasteurization principles, use of the bacterium Escherichia coli as a contamination indicator, properties of the Colilert® and Petrifilm™ tests for E. coli, and solar pasteurization using the CooKit solar cooker and SCI’s wax-based, reusable Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI).
- July 2007: The power of solar...cooking? Taking a closer look at cooking with the sun - ABC12.com
- July 2007: Video of Dinah Chienjo demonstrating solar cooking in New York - ABC12.com
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