Lamin Sawo is a 28 year old Gambian who studied engineering and leadership. He works for Malcolm Gee, Gambia Program Director of AHEAD, one of the oldest African-American-led organizations partnering on a grassroots level through community-led development in rural Tanzania and the Gambia, AHEAD continues to help the communities that we work with to experience a reversal in disease and deprivation by implementing sustainable systems that are cost efficient, replicable, and ecologically resourceful. The AHEAD project is composed of three groups and has been active in The Gambia for 4 ½ years.
One of Lamin’s tasks is building panel cookers and box ovens out of cardboard. Plastic bags are shipped from the U. S. 900 have been sold at AHEAD’s branches throughout The Gambia. Training is provided. Business is good. Some people bake bread in the box ovens. Foraging for fuel wood has been reduced.
The government’s imposition of strict regulations to preserve forest has increased interest in solar cooking. By now, most people in The Gambia know about solar cooking. Lamin said that AHEAD has an MOU with the Gambian Government but does not receive support from it. However, The President's International Award gave an award to AHEAD whic was presented by The Vice President of the republic of the Gambia Her Excellence Aja Isatou Njie Saidy .
Lamin was in Baltimore looking for funding. With more funds, AHEAD would expand into other communities and into surrounding countries including Nigeria. AHEAD has already received inquiries about solar cooking form Nigeria.
The weather in The Gambia permits solar cooking nine months of the year. July, August and September are overcast. Most foods in the Gambian diet are solar cookable: rice, bread, soups, beans. Cookers are also used to pasteurize water. The Water Pasteurization Indicator is distributed by AHEAD and widely used. People have started using hay baskets this year. Although a few people use gas to cook, 99% of Gambians use firewood for cooking. Gas can be dangerous.
Lamin has written a 7 page booklet about the activities of AHEAD in solar cooking project.
News and recent developments
- December 2009: Audio interview with Lamin Sawo