Kathy Dahl-Bredine and her husband are Maryknoll Lay Missioners working in Oaxaca, Mexico with local organizations on sustainable development among indigenous and marginalized rural communities. Kathy works with the organization Niño a Niño (Child to Child), a group working to empower groups of children living in poverty to work together with their families on projects to improve their over-all health and well being. Kathy has been working on alternative energy, specifically solar cooking projects with the children and their parents for the past two years.
Kathy is also the inventor of the Windshield Shade Solar Cooker, which is probably the simplest solar cooker yet devised.
Kathy reports being a user and teacher of solar cookers since 2001 - teaching 150 people and distributing 100 cookers, empowering 500 people in Mexico.
News and recent developments
- March 2006: Kathy Dahl-Bredine reports that solar cooking is taking hold in the state of Oaxaca. She gave nine workshops in her first year and helped about 150 people learn to make and use solar cookers. In the workshops, new solar cooking students are given homework — to teach others how to make and use a CooKit-style solar panel cooker. Ms. Dahl-Bredine reports that many of her students have done their homework and taught others. She has also taught solar cooking skills to Indian development promoters who are spreading the idea to many other families. She writes, “It sounds like a great many of the cookers are getting used. … One woman I work with said, ‘Now I know that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ve turned the beans off when I leave the house, because if they are in the solar cooker, I know they are fine.’ … One woman I know here in Oaxaca City told me about a certain dish she makes, a particular chicken enchilada, that her 10-year-old son never especially liked, but the first time she made it in her solar cooker … her son said, ‘Wow, this is delicious. What makes it so different?’” Ms. Dahl-Bredine reports that the major motivation for using the solar cookers is that people have little income, and benefit from reduced fuel costs. The CooKit-type solar cooker is practical because it is inexpensive and can be made by the families themselves. She emphasizes follow-up visits with new learners, because people don’t always get everything they need to know from one workshop. When people are learning, she says, “you want all the conditions to be right to succeed at first.” After people have some experience, they can try more challenging cooking problems. She believes that experienced solar cooks can use their solar cookers most days even during Oaxaca’s rainy season, by starting early in the day and planning carefully.
Audio and video
Apartado Postal 1332
68000 Oaxaca * OAX
Tel: 52-951-133-0109 Office: 951-133-2014