Lejofonds is a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands founded to help the citizens of poor rural areas in Uganda. Since 2009 they have operated their successful 'Goat to Goat' program, where families with a disabled child in need of special care, can receive a pregnant goat to help provide milk and meat. Recipients will build shelters for their animals and are trained in their care.
In 2012, Lejofonds decided to start a solar cooking program as well. They began with members of their previous project in Seetah Nazigo, located in the Mukono district of Uganda. Forty families were trained in how to use their new cookers, whose distribution was subsidized by the foundation. Based on the success of this program they plan to create a similar solar cooking program for the residents of neighboring Nkonkonjeru.
Recent news and developments
- July 2013: Workshop Solar Cooking in Nkonkonjeru, Uganda Lejofonds organized a Solar Cooking workshop in Nkonkonjeru, led by the coordinator of the Lejofonds for people interested in a new Solar Cooking project. Instructions and demonstrations were given by two experts from the Solar Cooking project in Seeta Nazigo. The coordinator welcomed all the people. The coordinator gave guidelines how the workshop will be conducted and also introduced the instructors to the members who were going to lead the workshop. The coordinator cautioned the members to be careful with the workshop and the coordinator encouraged the members to ask questions where they did not understand.
Preparation of the Solar Materials by the Instructors: The instructors were preparing the CooKits in the sun as the members were looking on. At this stage the instructors demonstrated to the members how to open and fold the CooKits and how they should be placed in the sun, showing that they should face directly toward the sun. Here there was maximum sun light.
Members and Instructors Preparing Food: As the members were preparing food to be cooked on the stoves, the instructors were also showing the members how some food, such as meat and fish, should be cut into small pieces for best results. Many could not believe that with the help of the sun some one can cook food and save fire wood. This was made possible and all the members who attended the workshop believed without doubt that cooking with the sun makes food ready to be eaten with good taste and smell. Nambi Rhona, who is already member from the project SC, confirmed the demonstrations and assured the members to join the project as they will improve their life style at home.
Lunch: After cooking the food which was prepared in the CooKits and the stoves, the members enjoyed the food and they agreed that the cooks’ food was superior for sure and they promised to buy the materials such that they acquire new technology of cooking.
Closing Remarks by the Coordinator: The coordinator thanked the members for attending the workshop and also encouraged the members to be involved in the projects from Lejofonds if they are to change their lives and communities. He also encouraged the members to develop a sprit of team work and also to attend the monthly meeting regularly in order to know what is happening in the projects. The coordinator also cautioned the members to cooperate with Lejofonds.
- March 2013: Solar cooking changes your life The Lejofonds started its Integrated Sustainable Solar Cooking project in 2012 for 45 families in Seeta Nazigo in the Mukono district in Uganda. With financial support from the Lejofonds the members of the project could buy two CooKits, two wood saving stoves and a hay basket . The materials were obtained from Solar Connect Association in Kampala. People had to sign an agreement before they got the materials.
- The members of the project divided into groups. Each group has a group head. When there are problems a member has to contact the group head to find a solution. The project has a coordinator who is responsible for ensuring that the project runs smoothly. He explains through monthly reports accountable to Lejofonds.
- Representatives and the Lejofonds coordinator evaluated the project in February 2013. The members always use the CooKits whenever there is enough sun shine.
- Families with large numbers are not able to prepare enough food for the entire family; instead it is only possible to prepare vegetables like ground nuts, sim sim, cabbages, and also greens. Small families (between 3-5 people) use the CooKits to prepare the food for the family. In this case they prepare food like posho, bananas, potatoes, and also other kind of soft foods
- A very big difference is observed while eating the food prepared in the CooKits. The food prepared in the CooKits has a good smell; the taste is different, compared to others in the kitchen. While participants always put the CooKits back into the cotton bag whenever they finish the cooking, it was discovered that they do not all wash them. So the coordinator advised them to wash the materials whenever they are dirty.
- It was discovered that some members forgot how to fold the CooKit after they have finished cooking food. The way they fold the CooKit is different from how they were taught. Sometimes the members change the saucepans. Instead of using them in the CooKits they put them on the fire which rubs off the paint.
- Some members do not know how to set the stones in the CooKits which leads to the destruction of the polyethelyne since the heat from the pan goes directly to the polyethylene bag. The sauce pans are very small, especially when used for large families: the sauce pans can not cook enough food for large families.
- They should be taught how to cook food in big saucepans using the CooKits. In this case more advice was needed how to prepare enough food in the CooKits for large families. The members use always the stoves whenever there is no enough sun to use the CooKits and when it is rainy season.
- The stoves help members so much since it reduced the risks of going to the bush to look for the fire wood. However the problem with the stoves is that sometimes the top cover always gets spoilt. They frequently get damaged when the cook puts heavy sauce pans containing too much food onto the cover. The hay baskets are used after they have used the stove and also when they used a wood fire the food is put in these hay baskets.
- The WAPIs (WAter Pasteurization Indicators) were given out later and not all the members know how to use it. Members requested instruction.
- A workshop was organized which all identified questions and problems have been discussed
- Information from the members shows that the materials changed their lives in terms of efficiency in time left to do other house hold work and has taught them new technology in cooking the food.
- Finally the point of view from the chairman of the member committee:
- "It is not always possible to get some one who can contribute towards the transformation of your life", he said. "The members in the project are very lucky to see that they have Lejofonds which is largely working hard to see that the members in the project who are in SN can become role models to others in the community using the different materials which are given to members by the Lejofonds".
- Participants speak about the solar cooking project
- Wood saving stove - Sylvia explained to members that the stove is very nice via charcoal saving, you can put food on the stove and then also do other things. The stove can also cook other types including hard food like cassava, potatoes etc. also soft food like rice and others so, she said the stove is so good even does not cause smoke which can affect human health.
- Hay basket - Rachael explained to the members how effective the hay baskets are. She said the baskets are so since she added that you can put food and go with it in the garden since they take long in their gardens. So it can keep the food warm for about a period. Not only food but also it is good for keeping water warm especially those with the school children. They can keep in water the whole night and in the morning the children can use warm water as tea in. The children can take tea when they are going to school.
- CooKit - Zeridha said she had visitors at home and she wanted to use the CooKits to prepare eggs for them. But she was in fear because she has never used the CooKits to cook eggs. So she explained to her visitors that "I am going to prepare you the eggs using this CooKits we got from our project." The visitors could not believe that the sun can cook the eggs. Still Zeridha was in fear that eggs may be half cooked. Zeridha used the experience from Olivia where you cook the eggs without putting water. Indeed the exercise was of great success and the eggs were cooked and was ready to be eaten by the visitors.