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Last updated: 6 December 2015
The KoZon Foundation (Stichting KoZon) is a Dutch NGO that is working introducing solar cooking in the Sahel: Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In Holland the foundation called KoZon is a shortcut from the Dutch: “Koken met de Zon als warmtebron” meaning: “cooking with the energy of the sun”. We have a board of 5 persons and a couple of active advisors, we all are volunteers.
As the CooKit is the cheapest solar cooker in Africa at the moment we think that it is the best way to teach women that solar cooking is possible. It is true that it is too small for the way food is cooked for the extended Sahelian families. But in combination with an improved stove and a large haybasket, large enough for the big pots, the CooKit is useful for many dishes which can be prepared when the sun is shining.
In the refugee camps in Chad, where our advisor Derk Rijks is the project manager, small groups of about 5 to 6 people live in the tents and there the women find the CooKit a wonderful tool as it diminishes substantially their need for firewood and as well it does the cooking nicely.
News and recent developments
- December 2015: The KoZon Foundation has merged with Solar Cooking Netherlands to form a new organization called Solar Cooking the Netherlands - KoZon.
- May 2013: Derk Rijks, a volunteer with the KoZon Foundation, recently responded to Jewish World Watch with this note of appreciation. "Last week I was at the Touloum Refugee Camp. The chief of the workshop, Fatimé, told me there were new arrivals. We walked over to the last of the dunes and there was one woman who had just walked in with four kids, sitting in the sand. Her village was bombed one week ago, and she fled to escape the Janjaweed, walking for seven nights. Fatimé looked at me, I nodded " yes", and in the next few hours she had her cooker and started her solar cooker training, even before she had a shelter. No words needed, no paper needed. That is the way your contribution works." He also notes, In the six camps where we work in Chad, and in the villages of the population around the camps, about 29,000 families now do solar cooking, and about 130,000 persons are eating solar cooked meals. In this part of the world it works about 300 days a year. From the empty bags of the food shipped in by the World Food Programme, and the snippets of aluminum foil and cardboard left over from the manufacture of the cookers, the refugees make "thermos baskets" to keep the food, cooked between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., warm until the evening meal at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. They do not have to search for wood so much any more and there are far fewer conflicts for that reason. As one of the elected representatives of the women refugees said: "Solar cooking brings us justice and peace".
- March 2013: First KoZon-SPS solar cooking project in Senegal - Wilma Goppel, project coordinator for the KoZon Foundation, began demonstrating solar cooking technology in December to the women in Ndondol and staff of Caritas using the CooKit solar panel cooker. The local women were excited that now the first KoZon solar cooking project in Senegal is underway. The contracts between the Foundation for Rural Senegal (SPS), the Foundation KoZon and Caritas Senegal have been finalized. KoZon was not previously active in Senegal. At the request of the Foundation for Rural Senegal (SPS) and Caritas Thies in Senegal, Wilma first traveled to Senegal in late November. She wanted to first gauge the interest in the use of solar cooking in the rural municipality Ndondol, and learn about local cooking habits and fuel consumption.
- February 2012: Women engineers promote low-carbon cooking across Mali - AlertNet
- November 2011: KoZon carried out a training in Integrated Cooking for 40 handicapped women in Mopti, Mali.
- December 2010: Offsets for Darfur is an initiative designed by SENSE Foundation to target both environmental issues and support our Solar Cooker Project - an ingenious solar delivery and training program for Sudanese refugees in Chad-based camps delivered and facilitated by Solar Cooker International, Kozon and Jewish World Watch. The benefits of "Offsets for Darfur" are twofold with both environmental and humanitarian aid aspects including the mitigation of: • carbon output in Chad refugee camps, • health issues related to firewood cooking. • women's safety issues related to sourcing firewood outside of camp boundaries • and unemployment in refugee camps - the project offers training and employment opportunities within the camps.
- March 2010: Besides working with their own projects, SCN has developed a relationship with the Cooking with the Sun Foundation, KoZon to intensify their efforts to promote solar cooking in Africa. KoZon has been working since 1997 in French- speaking West and Central African countries. A demonstration of the Cookit oven in Eritrea by KoZon prompted them to begin a program there. Combined with the efforts of SCN, they have established more solar cooking educational possibilities for the English-speaking countries of Uganda, Ethiopia, as well as Eritrea.
- December 2009: Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society is working with KoZon Foundation and Association of Women Engineers (AFIMA) to introduce solar cookers in the Yirimadio neighborhood of Bamako, Mali. In 2009, 30 families paid a small fee (US $3) for two CooKit solar cookers that were made by AFIMA, one cooking pot, one large insulated basket (Nafa Saba) for heat-retention cooking, and a Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI). The cooking kits are subsidized by Kyoto Twist donors. AFIMA women selected project participants based on desire to learn a new method of cooking, enthusiasm for reducing use of charcoal cooking fuel, and willingness to attend meetings. The Women Engineers collected data on the use of charcoal before and during the project, and will follow up after a year to assess overall charcoal use and savings. They receive a wage for their work interviewing and selecting the participants, training, and holding support sessions. KoZon Foundation assisted with project planning and data collection. Kyoto Twist estimates that the project will: reduce charcoal use by 30% (360 kilograms per family per year); save each family about US $80 annually; and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 3.2 tonnes per family per year. The project cost about US $4600 in 2009.
- February 2009: Simple Tool That Saves Women's Lives - Parade Magazine
- March 2008: The Association of Handicapped Women of Mali (AMAFH) continues to arrange solar cooker training for its members in Bamako, with organizational support from the Association of Women Engineers (AFIMA) and financial assistance from Dutch KoZon Foundation. In 2006, AMAFH taught 60 deaf and hard-of-hearing women how to use a CooKit solar cooker during a 2-day training. In a follow-up visit months later, at a school for deaf children, the women cooked a delicious solar feast. Fifty women with leprosy were trained in early 2007. With the loss of nerve sensation caused by the disease, traditional open fire cooking can be dangerous for these women because they can unknowingly get burned. Another benefit is that the women have increased status in the community because they now know something that most don’t: how to cook food with the sun. They said that with the CooKit they can prepare special recipes for their husbands, prepare groundnuts for their children, and even sell solar-cooked meat in the market. One remarkable woman, Mariam Toure, has lost all but one finger. Yet, she already has plans to lead a training early this year for another group of women with the disease. AMAFH also led a 2-day solar cooking workshop for 20 mentally disabled women in late 2007, which was well received. Source: Wietske Jongbloed
- April 2007: The KoZon Foundation began introducing solar CooKits in Gorom-Gorom, Oudalan in 1997. As is often the case, initial acceptance was very high. To measure long-term acceptance and usage, KoZon surveyed more than 50 families multiple times from 2002-2005. During the dry season, lasting from March-June, 30-45% of the families used their CooKits regularly (approximately 3-7 times per week). The month of April had highest usage, followed by May and March respectively. CooKits were used to cook a variety of foods, especially rice and sauces of meat, chicken or legumes. Nearly all families rated food taste as good to very good. CooKits were also used to heat milk for making yoghurt, and to heat water for making tea and coffee, as well as for washing purposes. Several families said that the capacity of one CooKit was not enough for large families, and that two CooKits would be better. Durability of the cooker was also mentioned as a concern, given that the cost of a CooKit and a cooking pot is 5000 to 7500 CFA franc, or about $10 to $15. Even though this is quite expensive for the families of Gorom-Gorom, each solar-cooked meal saved an estimated 50-180 CFA in fuel costs. Over 90% of the families said they planned to buy a replacement CooKit when theirs wears out. KoZon lists several lessons learned during this process, including: 1) One CooKit is best suited for families of less than six members, or for single male households; 2) Complementary technologies, such as fuel-efficient wood stoves and heat-retention cookers, should continue to be taught in addition to solar cookers; and 3) Ongoing guidance, encouragement and follow-up should be provided by trained members of local institutions.
- February 2007: The 2007 "Prize for Humanity" goes to one Dutch and two Africans — Derk Rijks, Marie-Rose Neloum, and Gillhoube Patallet — who, in cooperation with KoZon, aided Darfur refugees by arranging the distribution of thousands of solar cookers.
- November 2006: Wietske Jongbloed reports that she and a team of three others in Tahoua, Niger trained 14 women, all teachers and civil servants, in the complimentary technologies of solar cookers, fuel-efficient wood stoves, and heat-retention cookers. The first two days of the training were cloudy, so the focus was on fuel-efficient stoves ("poêle économe") and heat-retention cookers ("bitatoré"). Heat-retention cookers are insulated enclosures in which is set a pot of food that has been brought to a boil, allowing the food to continue to cook after being removed from the heat source. Rice, meat, and legume dishes were cooked successfully using this method. On days three and four the sun started to shine. Peanuts and sweet potatoes were cooked in solar CooKits and shared with five visiting directors of ministries. The directors praised the solar-cooked food, along with the dishes prepared with the other devices. Jongloed recalled, "They asked where the cooked peanuts were, which I thought were meant for the children, and just ate the peanuts up and praised the CooKit in which the peanuts were cooked and made speeches telling us that they would help in all ways if the women of Tahoua could all be taught to use these complimentary devices." On the final day, several banana cakes were baked in CooKits, as were a couple dozen eggs. After the 14 women gain more experience using the three complimentary devices, several of them will be chosen to lead future trainings. The goal is to train close to 200 women, and to provide them each with a CooKit. Affordable purchase plans for the fuel-efficient stoves and heat-retention cookers are being explored.
- August 2006: Solar Cookers International (SCI) has partnered with KoZon Foundation to assist Darfur refugees living in Chad. In 2004, KoZon volunteer Derk Rijks trained fifteen women in the capital, N'Djamena. He returned in early 2005, after getting approval from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to start a solar cooker demonstration project at Iridimi camp, one of the camps hosting Darfur refugees. Marie-Rose Néloum, one of the previously trained women, took the plight of the refugees to heart and joined Rijks to train refugee women to use solar CooKits and teach others, starting in early 2005. Women responded very enthusiastically and those who learned to solar cook fulfilled their promise to teach others. CooKits were soon assembled on-site by refugee women, who earn an income through this activity. A production workshop was completed in early 2006. The workshop is located in a neutral zone of the camp, close to the offices of the camp administrator, CARE. Refugee women from each of the camp's ten zones take turns training new groups of five to six people. The refugee women at Iridimi Refugee Camp, as well as head trainer Néloum and two other staff, have persevered in promoting solar cooking even as the security situation has grown increasingly unstable since April 2006. (More...)
- February 2012: Women engineers promote low-carbon cooking across Mali - AlertNet
- November 2009: Manuel: How to make a CooKit and a WAPI - Solar Cooking Netherlands and the KoZon Foundation.
- October 2009: Flyer: How to use the Integrated Sustainable Solar Cooking method and a WAPI - Solar Cooking Netherlands and the KoZon Foundation.
- October 2009: Manual: How to use the Integrated Sustainable Solar Cooking method and a WAPI - Solar Cooking Netherlands and the KoZon Foundation.
- May 2007: Report on Iridimi Refugee Camp project
- 2006: A report on the evaluation of the KoZon Foundation Cookit projects in northern Burkina Faso. Written by Jantje Struif Bontkes and Wietske Jongbloed
- July 2006: Use of the CooKit by Handicapped Women in Mali - Wietske Jongbloed
Articles in the media
- May 2011: The Science Channel explains the need for solar cooking in Iridimi refugee camps, and the work of the KoZon Foundation and Solar Cookers International. - The Science Channel