Solar Cookers World Network

Safe Water Project

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See also SCI's official page on the Safe Water Project.

In 2008, Solar Cookers International (SCI) began the Safe Water Project in Kenya led by SCI founder and board president Dr. Bob Metcalf, a professor of Biological Sciences at California State University, Sacramento. Bob’s development of a Portable Microbiology Laboratory (PML) has allowed rural health workers and community members to test water quality in the field by assessing levels of Escherichia coli contamination. The revolutionary PML can be used anywhere by practically anyone. It has liberated government ministries charged with water analysis who have had difficulties gauging water quality in rural areas due to travel limitations and technical expenses. Anticipated outcomes from the project include significant reductions in the incidence of waterborne diseases in over 20 communities and broader community awareness of simple and effective water testing and water pasteurization techniques. Trainings began in June 2008 with officials and representatives from the Kenya Water Resources Management Authority and the Kenya Ministry of Health. This projects marks the first collaboration of this type between these two agencies. SCI received major funding for this program from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

News and recent developments


  • Recommend expansion of project development to two new countries
  • Completion of Safe Water Workshop in Kenya
  • Provide support to the Solar Cookers International East Africa Office
  • Identify potential collaborators within existing environmental NGO’s and government ministries in East Africa
  • Increased humanitarian liaisons with emergency organizations

Further development of identified potential projects in Tanzania, UgandaBenin, and West Africa

  • Tanzania: TanzSolar is an Auburn, CA based NGO founded by Marianne Walpert. TanzSolar’s main objective is to provide affordable solar panels for lighting and internet power to the villages around Musoma, TZ, where an old colleague of hers owns a well established rural internet company. TanzSolar will also incorporate affordable simple solar powered lanterns to their promotion of solar technology in Tanzania, and is excited to explore the possibility of expanding into solar cooking and water pasteurization. Marianne was able to secure housing for TanzSolar on her last trip to Musoma and has graciously offered to share the facility with SCI, for storage of CooKits and materials and a shared base for project headquarters. 
  • Uganda: Max Ozimek is a passionate young man from Ohio who won his Science Class project with a CooKit and wants to help his priest in Ohio provide solar cookers to his home village of Obia, Uganda. Father Alexander Inke is excited about the possibilities that this project might provide the people of his village, and he is working closely with Max and Max’s mother, Mary Lou, to obtain funding and establish the connections necessary to establish an effective and sustainable project. Karyn Ellis visited the project site in Obia and participated in a five day solar cooking and water pasteurization training with Kawesa Mukasa and his staff, who are long time SCI contacts and solar entrepreneurs in Uganda with the Solar Connect Association.
  • Benin: SCI was recently introduced to Gabriel Kpadonou from Benin who is a Humphrey Fellow at UC Davis and is working for a colleague in the area. He works for the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Benin and is co-founder of the NGO the Environmental Engineering Group involved in health and hygiene education and developing solutions to environmental problems. Gabriel works for the Sanitation and Public Hygiene Department of the MOH, which works closely with the Water Resources Management Authority ~ the two branches of government that Bob Metcalf and SCI are working with in Kenya to get the Safe Water Project underway. Gabriel is enthusiastic and dedicated to bringing solar cooking, water pasteurization, and rural water treatment to the government ministries and affiliated NGO’s in Benin. 
  • West Africa: In addition to the potential project in Benin listed above, Karyn Ellis facilitated a connection with a former colleague who now works in Senegal for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) who might be interested in integrating solar cookers into their disaster relief and preparedness programs. She have been in contact with the Vice President of the NGO Love in Motion/Global who would like to incorporate solar cookers into the sustainable village they are creating in Liberia later this year. She also met with Freedom From Hunger in Davis who expressed an interest in involving SCI in their village-based MicroBusiness for Health program, involving educational and health-oriented self-help projects for women’s groups in Ghana. 

Planning, execution and expansion of Safe Water Project in Kenya and beyond

Karyn Ellis and Bob Metcalf worked together on the development and progression of the Safe Water Project that SCI initiated in Kenya. During a visit to Kenya, Karyn and Bob attended a number of meetings with the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

During their second trip to Kenya, Karyn and Bob worked on the Water Testing Workshop in Nairobi. Their mission was to train 40 individuals, 20 each from the two government ministries (MOH & WRMA) who would then go on to train others in their respective districts, creating a trickle down effect to eventually reach the most rural levels of ministry and health work. It is expected that the result of this project will be a new process of accurately testing water in rural areas that don’t currently have access to expensive and sophisticated laboratory materials. This process will enable rural health workers to identify which water is good to drink and which requires treatment, allowing water treatment processes to progress without a doubt as to it necessity, and hopefully inspiring more environmental health education to those in the bush.

To supplement the water testing workshop, SCI worked with a group of women putting on the African Women and Water Conference at the Greenbelt Training Center in Nairobi. This conference trained a group of 30 women from East, West, and South Africa who took this knowledge back to their countries and the environmental institutions where they work.

Audio and video

Solar Cookers & Safe Water 2013 Goals-104:44

Solar Cookers & Safe Water 2013 Goals-1

Solar Cookers International provides solar cooking and water pasteurization devices in fuel-scarce, sun-rich regions of the world

See also

External links


See Solar Cookers International

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