Ingelore Kahrens has solar cooked at home since 1991 and teaches others how to solar cook.
News and recent developments
- April 2010: I went to Kenya again. In the meantime, Mugo had established contacts with several groups in the region and made arrangements for visits with them. In community centres, churches and schools and at the homes of women´s group members we met representatives of different types of groups. Mugo had recruited members of the Gaketha group as promoters. They explained to the listeners the advantages of the new technologies. A male member of the group gave information on the use of the neem tree for medical purposes as a natural insecticide. In every place we visited we left the participants with a solar cooker set and/or a clay liner for building an energy-efficient stove. The interest of the participants and the requests for further information were very high. In the future, Mugo was to act as contact person and a coordinator of the work of the promoters. Follow-up visits to new groups were planned in order to monitor their work and progress and to support them.
- July 2009: I travelled to Kenya to visit some of my friends. Margaret Owino had made arrangements with the SCI office in Kisumu; so I had a chance to see a demonstration of women building a fuel-efficient mud stove with clay liners. Since the Agricultural Show was on at the same time, John Amayo took me to SCI´s display stall. I was particularly impressed by the fireless cookers – well-crafted baskets lined with cotton fabric and insulated with cotton waste. They looked very attractive. Back in Nairobi I decided to take a basket and a CooKit along for my friends. My last visit to their place was 9 years ago. But Mugo was my colleague when I taught in Garba Tula (1983-87) and I have been a family friend ever since. The cooking- basket and the CooKit raised interest not only among the household members but also some women in the neighbourhood. Mugo liked the new technologies so much he decided to convince more people of their benefits. He contacted the village elder and we got an appointment with the chief of the area. The chief was in favour of promoting energy-efficient technologies. So he instructed the village elder to inform women groups and tell them to send representatives to a demonstration at Mugo´ s place. In the meantime we had found out that fuel-efficient cookers and clay liners for mud stoves were readily available at Chuka. So we got some for our demonstration. Mugo also called a carpenter who built a chimney on their kitchen house to make it smoke-free. On the day of our demonstration, about 40 women came to Mugo´ s place: members of different women groups, neighbours and friends. Mugo demonstrated the CooKit even though the sun was not in our favour that day. He gave a short lesson on nutrition, introduced the fuel-efficient stove and the cooking-basket and talked about the manifold benefits of those devices. With some of the women I started to build a mud stove in the kitchen house. As they were quite familiar with using mud for construction the women became quite enthusiastic and took over after a short time. Small groups of women were scattered all over the compound collecting stones, preparing mud, testing the fuel-efficient stove and cooking rice in the cooking-basket. Mugo and I walked around watching and ready to answer questions. The day was a great success. The following days we got some positive feedback. The carpenter´ s wife had turned one of her baskets into a fireless cooker and her husband was very happy with the tasty results. One woman from Gaketha had made a “bucket cooker” and invited us to sample her “bucket-cooked” bananas. She was very excited that it worked so well. To her it was of even greater importance because she was to sick to collect firewood herself. She had to pay someone to do it for her. Back in Germany, I have received reports on the progress of the new energy project. The women are about to officially register their group -- Gaketha Laura Energy Saving Group. They meet regularly and try out the CooKit and the cooking-basket. They have also started making baskets and want to manufacture the CooKit as well. I am looking forward to meeting them again!