Solar Cookers International (SCI), the sponsor of this site, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-governmental organization that spreads solar cooking awareness and skills worldwide, particularly in areas with plentiful sunshine and diminishing sources of cooking fuel. SCI alone has enabled 30,000 families in Africa to cook with the sun's energy, freeing women and children from the burdens of gathering wood and carrying it for miles. Tens of thousands of individuals and organization from all over the world have learned about solar cooking through SCI's international programs, education resources, and information exchange network.
- SCI has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
- SCI sponsors the Solar Cookers International Network website (this site), an internationally recognized Internet resource for solar cooking information.
- SCI publishes Solar Cooker Review, a thrice-yearly newsletter covering solar cooking developments throughout the world.
- SCI is affiliated with the Solar Cookers International Network, a confederation of over 500 international NGOs and 500 individuals involved in promoting solar cooking throughout the world.
- SCI won an Ashden Award in 2002 for their work with solar cookers in Kenya. In August 2006, SCI was the winner of the World Renewable Energy Award.
- SCI 's Worldwide Office is located in Sacramento, California.
Solar Cookers International continues in 2014 to provide grant funding to current partners with solar cooking programs in Kenya. They are Dinah Chienjo, Friends of the Old (FOTO), John Amayo with Sustainable Use of Renewable Energy (SURE), and Faustine Odaba of Natural Resources and Waste Management Alliance (NAREWAMA). The funds allow the distribution of solar cookers, Safe Water Packages, provide training in their use, and a follow-up program to help insure continued use of the new technologies. In August, 2013, SCI began a partnership with the Foundation for Sustainable Tchnologies (FoST), in Nepal. Like SURE and FOTO, FoST benefits stressed families living in environments that are deforested. The FoST program empowers single mothers and orphanages in Kthmandu and Lalitpur with skills to make and use solar cookers, dry foods with solar cookers, retained-heat cooking, and manufacture of fuels briquettes from biomass wastes to use when the sun isn't shining.
If you would like to promote SCI's global work to introduce solar cooking technology to 20% of families around the world to improve health, quality of life, and the environment, please donate and make a difference making a donation on-line or to the postal address below. Interested in buying a solar cooker or cooking accessories? Shop at the SCI marketplace. Your purchase helps fund SCI's programs. The majority of SCI's funding comes from individual donors and environmentally conscious people such as yourself. We will put your contribution to very good use by helping gain a better quality of life for people in communities much less fortunate than yours. Only with your continued support can SCI meet the ever-expanding needs of the worldwide solar cooking community.
See SCI's organizational site for detailed information about SCI.
Most significant solar cooking projects
- A refugee camp in Kenya was the first to receive a large scale solar cooking project - The Kakuma refugee camp was formed in 1972 when Sudanese refugees first arrived in Kakuma, Kenya. Introducing solar cooking to the camp was Solar Cookers International’s first large-scale refugee project, beginning in January 1995. Kakuma had considerable refugee turnover, but by 2004, when Solar Cookers International (SCI) concluded the project, the camp had tripled in size to nearly 90,000 refugees. Though rapid growth posed problems for assisting all those who wanted to solar cook, SCI ultimately served over 15,000 families. This project was one of the earliest to use the CooKit solar panel cooker to introduce solar cooking. The program also extended solar cooker technology to schools, especially primary school, through demonstrations, poems, songs and drama.
- See other Most significant solar cooking projects worldwide.
- July 17-18, 2014: (Sacramento) The SCInet Solar Cooking Convention 2014, sponsored by Solar Cookers International with support from Agua Fund, Inc., is encouraging solar cooking project directors, promoters, designers, researchers, and manufacturers with experience in the transfer of solar cooking technologies to gather in Sacramento, California, USA for an exchange of information convention. The format will include presentations, panel discussions, working groups, and public demonstration of solar cookers. It will be held at the California Automobile Museum, located at 2200 Front Street. The Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival will follow on Saturday. Details and Event registration information...
- Saturday, July 19, 2014: (Sacramento): The Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival, sponsored by Solar Cookers International, is open to the public at no charge. Local solar cooks are encouraged to participate. It will take place from 10am - 3 pm. at Land Park, the corner of Sutterville Road and Freeport Boulevard. Event registration information...
News and recent developments
- April 2014: Afzal Syed wishes to report that he has received Verizon's Employee Environmental Excellence Award, for his volunteer work for starting recycling at Dar Alnoor mosque in Manassas,Virginia, USA, and for voluteering to promote solar cooking. Thanks go out to the congregation at Dar Alnoor, members of Solar Cooking International, Solar Household Energy, STAR TIDES at NDU, and family and friends for their support.
- March 2014: Pat McArdle was interviewed for the feature story in this month's edition of the TIDES (Transformative Innovation for Development & Emergency Support) newsletter. She describes her role, and that of Solar Cookers International, to introduce solar cooking to, as Pat puts it, "people in sun-rich countries in the developing world who were running out of wood to burn." Solar cooking was unknown in this part of the world at the time. Many of the early projects were started in the late eighties. She also explains how solar cooking is a key component of the practical integrated cooking method. Read the interview...
- Darwin Curtis receives SCI Order of Excellence 2013 - In the 1980’s, Dar Curtis made his own solar box cooker from SCI instructions in the Sonoran Desert. Inspired, he began volunteering for Solar Cookers International. Together with SCI volunteer Louise Meyer, they created a new model of solar cooker: the HotPot. Together with Louise, Dar cofounded Solar Household Energy, Inc., (SHE), which is a public charity dedicated to introducing solar cooking where it can add quality to life and alleviate stress on the environment. Today, Dar works with SHE in developing and demonstrating the effectiveness and practicality of solar cooking technology, as well as training thousands of solar cooks.
- February 2014: Read the recently released annual report for Solar Cookers International at: SCI Annual Report July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013
- September 2013: Inspiration from Solar cookers International fosters a CooKit introduction project in Malawi - Claudia Sansone, whose interest in solar cookers began when she met with current Solar Cookers International board member, AJ Lederman, and then SCI board member Pat McArdle, at a UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2011. Sansone says that after she read McArdle’s novel Farishta, she was convinced that solar cooking could be successfully introduced in Malawi. With guidance from SCI executive director Julie Greene in Sacramento, California, USA, Sansone purchased several CooKits. She used these cookers to make templates, and then produced a number of the solar panel cookers to distribute. Traveling with her family to Malawi, she hosted classes and demonstrations on solar cooking with the CooKits. With a friend, she taught the women at Elizabeth Chikoya’s Women’s Development Center and members of the Gogo Grandmothers how to make more solar cookers with locally available materials. Read more at: Malawi and Solar Cookers International
- August 2013: Partnering in Nepal to promote integrated cooking Solar Cookers International began a partnership with the Foundation for Sustainable Tchnologies (FoST), in Nepal in August 2013. Like SURE and FOTO, FoST benefits stressed families living in environments that are deforested. The FoST program empowers single mothers, and children in orphanages, in Kthmandu and Lalitpur with skills to make and use solar cookers, dry foods with solar cookers, retained-heat cooking, and manufacture of fuel briquettes from biomass wastes to use when the sun isn't shining.
- July 2013: Julie Greene, SCI Executive Director, interviewed on The Renewable Energy Hour - Julie Greene discusses Solar Cookers International's mission and the effect of solar cooking in developing countries. Visit the show page or listen to the interview.
- June 2013: A roundtable discussion helps smaller organizations to share ideas - Julie Greene, the Executive Director of Solar Cookers International, took part in a virtual roundtable discussion on May 30th with leaders from three other organizations, to share ideas ranging from communication techniques to fundraising approaches. Even though the groups have different missions they face similar hurdles getting their message out. Julie describes how solar cooking can help solve the mostly unrecognized problem of respiratory illness faced by the three billion people on the planet cooking over open fires. Often their cooking takes place indoors with little or no ventilation. Listen to the roundtable discussion.
- May 2013: Safe water packages helping in Kenya - Solar Cookers International released information on the their latest efforts to offer safe water packages to low-income families in Kenya. The package contains all the necessary components to use the integrated cooking approach, which means using the solar panel cooker to heat water and kill pathegins when it is sunny, and use an efficient fuel stove when it is not. A heat retention basket is included to keep cooked food warm, and to extend cooking times. Working with their partners, who provide the training and follow-up, they have distributed 212 safe water packages from November 2012 through April 2013. These packages have provided over 1,000 people a virtually cost free way to maintain a healthy water supply and prepare their meals. SCI has set a goal to increase the number of packages they fund from 35 per month to 100 per month through the fall of 2013. Please consider donating to SCI to help reach this goal.
- April 2013: Again, SCI wishes to thank the many volunteers that have recently provide support. Read more about upcoming events and requests in the SCI Volunteer Newsletter, April 2013. We are looking for volunteers to demonstrate solar cooking at events in the Sacramento, CA area. There have been requests for solar cooking demonstrations, but not enough trainers to meet the need. email@example.com
- March 2013: SCI wishes to thank the many volunteers that have recently provide support. Read more about upcoming events in the SCI Volunteer Newsletter, March 2013
- February 2013: The March 2013 issue of Solar Cooker Review is now available online - Read the latest issue or see back issues.
- January 2013: SCI Executive Director and SCWNet Administrators attend the 2013 ETHOS Conference - Julie Greene, SCI Executive Director, and Tom Sponheim and Paul Hedrick, SCWNet Administrators, attended the recent ETHOS Conference in Bellevue, Washington, USA. The national conference is held to exchange design technologies and promotion strategies for fuel-efficient wood and biomass cookstoves. It is encouraging that there seems to be more acceptance of solar cooking in this traditionally fuel-burning cookstove community, and that combining various cooking approaches will ultimately help more people and the environment. Julie was asked directly if Solar Cookers International would be interested in preparing a presentation for next year's conference.
- December 2012: SCI Executive Director Julie Greene gives TED Talk on the promise of solar cooking
- November 2012: “Anywhere under the Sun” is a recently released solar cooking eBook featuring recipes from around the world. Heather Stevens, Australian solar enthusiast and editor of the book invited solar chefs from around the world to submit their favorite recipe, photos and comments on solar cooking. The book is a visually stunning and comphrehensive, with recipes from around the world. The book can be downloaded as an eBook for $1.99(AUD) from http://www.thesunskitchen.com. 100% of the sale price is donated to Solar Cookers International to assist with their work encouraging solar cooking in the developing world.
- Former SCI board member Pat McArdle is interviewed on Emerald Planet - During the interview Pat McArdle discusses the history and mission of Solar Cookers International, the importance of increasing access to solar cooking technology, Bob Metcalf's Portable Microbiology Laboratory for testing water in remote locations, the work of Jewish World Watch in Chad, and more.
- October 2012: Recent natural disasters abound: Bangladesh floods and landslides, June 2012; Assam floods July, 2012; Haiti floods and mudslides August, 2012; India floods September, 2012; Vietnam, Philippines, Southern China typhoon, October 2012; Eastern United States hurricane October, 2012. All of these natural events disrupted people's lives, even changing them forever. In the recovery stages after natural disasters, people's basic needs don't change: they still need clean water, food, safety, and shelter. In the bleakest situations, solar thermal power can begin to meet two important needs: a solar oven can pasteurize water and cook food. If you are an experienced solar cook, please contact people in your circle of influence in these affected areas. Share your knowledge of solar cooker construction and use with people who need it most. This YouTube video shows solar cooking done in the snow after power was lost in northern Virginia in a February 2010 storm.
- October 2012: SCI has initiated two new partnerships, one with Friends of the Old (FOTO) (Dinah Chienjo and John Amayo are on the ground in Kenya), and the other with the Natural Resources and Waste Management Alliance (NAREWAMA) (Faustine Odaba is the point person in Kenya). These community-based organizations work to provide solar cookers and safe water packages to elders and grandparents, many of whom are raising orphaned grandchildren. SCI's collaboration will dramatically expand the reach of these programs.
- March 2012: For almost twenty years, Solar Cookers International has supported branch operations in Kenya. Our field projects have served tens of thousands of families in various East African countries. Due to the overwhelming logistical and financial challenges SCI has encountered in its efforts to effectively manage and restructure an operation 9,000 miles away from its home office in California, the Kenya operations have now been suspended. We are confident that SCI’s many years in that country have educated and inspired individuals and organizations in Kenya to continue with the very important work of spreading the use of solar cookers throughout Eastern Africa.
- October 2011: Patricia McArdle, of Solar Cookers International, demonstrated solar cooking with Afzal Syed and volunteers, Sherry and Cecily, at the TIDES exhibit on the campus of the National Defense University. Afzal brought several pots of raw ingredients for Pakistani dishes that were prepared by his wife Samina, including: masoor dall, spiced potatoes, okra, and chawal rice. Patricia baked a loaf of banana bread, which was consumed in less than five minutes. They used the parabolic SK10 (similar to the SK12), purchased from Deepak Gadhia several years ago, to keep a pot of water boiling from 9 a.m. in the morning until the event ended at 5 p.m. There were a number of senior military visitors from other countries. Several have expressed an interest in learning more about solar cooking technology and how it can be used in their countries. The most surprising visit yesterday was from a Vietnamese general, the most senior Vietnamese military officer to visit the U.S. since before the war with Vietnam started in the sixties. Several 'very important people' who came to the demonstration assumed that it would take us 10 to 12 hours to cook food in a panel or box cooker. They were astounded that the food was cooked in less than three hours--in October-- in Washington D.C.--which is 40 degrees north of the equator.
- August 2011: The Spendid Table radio show interviews SCI Board Member Patricia McArdle - Listen to Patricia discussing solar cooking in Afghanistan.
- July 2011: The Solar Cooker Project from Light Gives Heat is moving full-force ahead. Just recently, John and Julius from the Solar Cookers International in Kenya, traveled to Jinja, Uganda to continue the training on the maintenance of the solar cooking products and creating outlets for our Suubi women and Epoh tailors to sell products to their friends and local community.
- July 2011: Solar ovens, renewable energy offer hope for Afghanistan (Reuters) - At first, she noticed Afghan children hauling brush. Then, in Afghan family compounds, she noticed women tending small fires and trying to cook over them. But it wasn't until U.S. diplomat [and Solar Cookers International Board Member] Patricia McArdle realized how often it was sunny in Afghanistan that she put it together with a youthful memory of cooking with solar ovens and realized this was a low-tech option offering long-term hope to the war-torn nation, which is preparing for a draw-down of U.S. troops. At first, she noticed Afghan children hauling brush. Then, in Afghan family compounds, she noticed women tending small fires and trying to cook over them. But it wasn't until U.S. diplomat [and SCI Board Member] Patricia McArdle realized how often it was sunny in Afghanistan that she put it together with a youthful memory of cooking with solar ovens and realized this was a low-tech option offering long-term hope to the war-torn nation, which is preparing for a draw-down of U.S. troops. Read more...
- July 2011: Light Gives Heat on their solar cooking workshop in Uganda: "We have given up any notions that we can bring about health simply by stumbling upon it in the same way that we stumbled upon destruction. There must be changes in the way that we think and live. To bring about these changes we teamed up with Solar Cookers International (SCI). With the help of SCI we are enabling the SUUBI and EPOH artisans to cook their food and boil their water with the free power of the sun. This reduces the emissions of charcoal that the women would normally use, benefiting the women monetarily and environmentally. One artisan reported that she spends $5 a week on charcoal. With the help of LGH, she can make a one-time purchase of a solar cooker for about $5, and save on the weekly expense of charcoal." Read more...
- June 2011: Solar Cookers International is now an official Partner in the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves - SCI works with the Global Alliance on its goal of enabling 100 million households to adopt clean and efficient cooking solutions. The zero emissions solar cooker is an excellent clean cooking solution to alleviate the household air pollution afflicting the nearly three billion people who eat food cooked over open fires.
- June 2011: Solar Cookers International is proud to partner with the Aprovecho Research Center and join their Summer Stove Camp "Fuels of the Future" on the grounds of the Aprovecho Labs in Cottage Grove, Oregon, USA. Those committed to improving the use of fuel for cooking will gather to spend one week learning, innovating, and creating improved designs and prototypes. Event details...
- May 2011: Proceeds from plastic bottles or aluminum cans in Truckee, California will help purchase solar cookers for people in economically disadvantaged countries, thanks to the efforts of Sierra High School seniors. “Sierra High School requires all seniors to participate in a service learning project,” explains principal Jane Loomis. “The school has a long history of service learning that has benefited our community over the years including the Humane Society, Tahoe Forest Hospice, a student clothing bank and literacy awareness.” This year’s service learning project is a community effort that benefits Solar Cookers International (SCI). Seniors are asking local businesses, agencies and schools to participate in the program by placing recycling containers at their site. Proceeds derived from the recycling will go to SCI, which will in turn purchase solar ovens for needy countries such as Haiti, Pakistan, India, Africa. The SCI website explains that refugees and other displaced people frequently lack access to sufficient cooking fuels and safe drinking water. When infrastructures are in ruins and no energy or gas is available, solar cooking utilizes the sun to cook hot food. Additionally, when fuel is scarce, cooking with the sun offers a clean, workable solution. Importantly, solar cookers fight cholera by heating water to pasteurization temperatures. And finally, using a solar cooker requires only the sun, and does not necessitate searching for other forms of fuel. “It’s really convenient for Truckee businesses to participate,” Loomis said. “A senior is assigned to each site. They are responsible for delivering the recycling box to each business, monitoring and collecting the contents.” Sierra High School seniors are actively searching for businesses and public entities that have room for a 32-inch by 18-inch recycling container. Those interested in participating should call Sierra High School at +1 (530) 582-2640.
- March 2011: Light Gives Heat visits Solar Cookers International demonstration in Kisumu, Kenya - Light Gives Heat is a non-profit promoting grass-root economic sustainability and creative endeavors in Africa. Ugandan Director, Amberle Reyes and a staff member recently visited a demonstration of sustainable cooking methods sponsored by Solar Cookers International. It included traditional fixed and portable earthenware stoves, called upesi in Kiswahili, which more efficiently use charcoal or wood as fuel, CooKit solar panel cookers, and Heat-retention cooking baskets. They were most interested in solar cookers and fireless baskets. Locals were initially attracted to solar cooking not because of the possibility of saving money by buying less fuel, or the health benefits of indoor smoke reduction, but because solar cookers can bake cakes. Cake is seen as a "rich person food", and LGH saw an entrepreneurial opportunity: Cakes are sold for weddings and birthdays. Most people cannot make high quality cakes because of the irregular temperatures of charcoal and wood stoves, but solar cookers bake perfect, moist cakes with very little worry of burning or overcooking. At the end of March, SCI staff will bring CookIts and fireless baskets to Jinja and demonstrate first-hand their effectiveness to all their employees. Light Gives Heat has received an 8,000 USD grant to supply their Uganda Artisans with these solar cookers. More Information and photos...
- January 2011: Solar Cookers International exhibition and reception at the United Nations a success! Representatives from non-governmental organizations and interested supporters attended the three-hour, open-house event on January 18th. The concept of solar cooking is so important, that representatives from Nigeria, the Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Somalia made it through freezing, blowing rain to attend the exhibition. A wide variety of solar cookers were on display with informational material accompanying the cookers. Video loops played throughout the evening showing real people around the world cooking with the sun and training others to do so. There was a real urgency at the exhibition that the message of solar cooking be strong, unified, and be present in global discussions of development and progress for people around the world.
- January 2011: Clean Currents Donates 100 Solar Cookers to Primary Schools in Port-au-Prince Joining the movement to train primary school students and provide them a solar cooker is Clean Currents, a Mid-Atlantic green energy provider. Announced on Jan. 12th, it will be purchasing 100 solar cookers to benefit schools in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Solar Cookers International will be distributing the solar cookers and will provide on-site training through its network of staff and volunteers in Haiti. "Reaching students in their classrooms and teaching them a new lifestyle habit like solar cooking is a positive and accessible way to improve lives and the global environment," said AmyJo Mattheis, former Executive Director of Solar Cookers International.
- January 2011: Haiti - One year later: Haiti continues to benefit from solar cooking. Solar Cookers International (SCI) and International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) are working to expand a project in the schools around Port Au Prince to integrate solar cooking into the 5th grade science curriculum. The goal is that each student will receive a CooKit to use each day in preparing and cooking their lunch, all the time learning about science. Training and certification of teachers continues, as do SCI’s efforts to secure funding to provide 2000 more CooKits for this school project. To date, SCI has provided 200 CooKits, pots and Water Pasteurization Indicators (WAPIs) for four schools. With your help, we will achieve our goal of 2000 more! Reaching students in their classrooms, teaching a new lifestyle habit, while at the same time providing environment education is a winning program. Background: SCI, in collaboration with Sun Ovens International and ICCM, distributed over 400 CooKits in Haiti immediately following the devastating earthquake there. Near the community of Pigeon, 135 Haitians were trained in solar cooking by Programme Energie Solaire. Each participant received a CooKit, a pot and a WAPI, giving these earthquake survivors a method to cook their food and pasteurize their water without need of scarce and expensive fuel. Solar cooking is technology that offers relief in disaster situations: 1) When infrastructures are in ruins and no energy or gas is available, solar cooking utilizes the sun to cook hot food; 2) When fuel is scarce, cooking with the sun offers a clean, workable solution; 3) Solar cookers fight cholera by heating water to pasteurization temperatures (65°C or 150°F); and 4) Using a solar cooker requires only the sun, and does not necessitate searching for other forms of fuel. Families can stay together and remain safe. SCI thanks you for your ongoing support for solar cooking in Haiti.
SCI promotes solar cooking and solar water pasteurization worldwide, especially in developing countries where their use can literally save lives. According to the their website, SCI's mission is to assist "communities to use the power of the sun to cook food and pasteurize water for the benefit of people and environments" by focusing in the following areas:
- Influencing others in support of solar cooking and water pasteurization/testing.
- Developing programs, in partnership with others for the purpose of promoting solar cooking, and water pasteurization and testing. In addition, in parts of Kenya, the focus is to achieve independent spread of solar cooking and water pasteurization/testing.
- Facilitating broader access to solar cooking and water pasteurization/testing knowledge, including marketing educational materials and solar products.
- Partnering with other relief agencies to assist refugees and disaster relief with solar cooking and water pasteurization/testing training and support.
SCI is paving the way for mass solar cooker acceptance and use through promotion of such products as the CooKit solar cooker and the WAPI water pasteurization indicator; field projects in communities and refugee camps; development and dissemination of education resources; and advocacy with the United Nations and other governmental and non-governmental institutions.
Why solar cookers?Depending on need and climate, there are many types, sizes and designs of appropriate solar cookers; however, SCI’s simple and effective CooKit is a low-cost cooker that is especially well suited for the developing world since it is made of cardboard and foil which are readily available materials in most communities. Solar cooking is beneficial to anyone who lives where there is an abundance of sunshine, and especially where traditional cooking fuels are progressively being depleted. Women in developing countries often walk many miles to collect wood to cook with, or must purchase cooking fuel with meager incomes and/or trade food or goods for cooking fuels. In addition to this physical and monetary stress, women and children who habitually cook inside are subject to severe upper respiratory problems caused by household air pollution from smoky fires. Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that women and girls living in refugee camps risk injury, rape and even death when forced to forage for wood outside the compound.
In many cases, fuel wood is too scarce to use to boil water as well as cook with, so people drink water from contaminated water sources, causing millions to get sick and/or die every year from preventable waterborne diseases. An estimated 1.5 billion cases of diarrhea occur each year, resulting in the death of nearly 2 million children. Solar cookers provide a practical method of heating water to the point of pasteurization, requiring only time and the sun to kill the most common waterborne pathogens and making water safe to drink.
When there's no sun
SCI promotes the Integrated Cooking Method, whereby solar cookers are used in conjunction with fuel-efficient stoves and heat retention devices (sometimes called hay baskets) to cook food and pasteurize water with a minimum of fuel. By using the sun when possible, and supplementing with fuel-efficient cooking technologies, fuel wood consumption and subsequent deforestation around the world can be drastically reduced.
In addition to the basic fundamentals of solar cooking and water pasteurization that SCI has promoted for years, SCI has developed a revolutionary method of simple scientific water testing that requires no electricity or refrigeration. Most rural areas are unable to adequately test their water because the process of gathering samples and transporting them to a certified laboratory in an urban area is simply too expensive. SCI’s Portable Microbiology Laboratory (PML) contains laboratory materials small enough to fit in a Ziplock bag, and has already been adopted by the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Water Resources Management Authority. We are working closely with these government institutions to bring accurate and reliable water testing to rural areas that previously had no practical resources available with which to test their water sources.
Solar Cookers International: Mission
SCI focuses on four core areas to promote solar cooking globally: projects, partnerships, advocacy, and education.
SCI began the first and largest refugee camp solar cooking project in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. Sunny Solutions began in 2003 to introduce and create a market for solar cookers in the Nyakach district, Nyanza province, Kenya. Partnering with Nyakach Community Development Association (NYACODA), SCI demonstrated solar cooking introducing the CooKit solar cooker and the WAPI water pasteurization indicator. During the 5-year program, 80% of the population (113,000 people) were introduced to solar cooking, with 2,593 households purchasing one or more CooKits. SCI was one of several non-governmental organizations introducing solar cooking to the refugees in the Iridimi and Touloum refugee camps in Darfur, a region in Sudan in 2006. The primary goal was to reduce the neccessity of women and children leaving the camps to collect firewood.
SCI has developed an extensive worldwide network of solar cooking partners and helps create connections for collaborative projects and mentoring. In addition to facilitating working partnerships, SCI partners with community-based organizations in different countries to provide solar cookers and water pasteurization tools to people who live where fuel is scarce and sunshine is plentiful--and free. SCI does not accept unsolicited grant proposals.
SCI builds awareness for solar cooking and solar water pasteurization among policy makers, including closer collaboration with United Nations agencies. SCI was instrumental in the formation of the Solar Cookers International Association later renamed Solar Cookers International Network (SCInet) which is an association of 500+ non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and individuals promoting solar cooking, water pasteurization, and food processing. Promoters in many regions find regionally-specific information and guidance on this SCInet wikia. SCI has hosted regional and international solar cooking conferences, most recently the Solar Cookers International Conference held in Granada Spain in 2006.
SCI's focus on education is evident in the solar cooking and related information available on the Solar Cookers International Network wiki, which SCI sponsors. The wiki includes over 1900 articles categorized by country, manufacturers and vendors, solar cooking basics, and solar cooker designs. The global solar cooking community findsAlso included is information regarding related technologies such as heat-retention cooking; water pasteurizing, solar food processing, solar food drying, solar autoclaving, and solar canning. Classroom resources for teachers are available, free, for teachers around the world.
Also available via the Internet are several key booklets published by SCI to help solar cooking promoters succeed. Our plans booklet, Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use and Enjoy, provides step-by-step construction plans for panel-type and box-type solar cookers. Our field guide, Spreading Solar Cooking, helps promoters plan solar cooking projects. Our trainer’s manual, Teaching Solar Cooking helps solar cooking instructors stay on task and monitor their students’ progress. All three booklets are available for download on the Solar Cookers International Network site, or for sale — along with solar cookers, cookbooks and related supplies on SCI’s web site. Booklets are mailed free of charge to select individuals and groups in developing countries where Internet access is difficult.
SCI’s Solar Cooker Review is another tool aimed at helping independent solar cooking promoters everywhere. In it, promoters exchange stories about solar cooker technology and dissemination, and learn from the successes and challenges of others. Thanks to you, our members and donors, each Solar Cooker Review is mailed free of charge three times per year to over 3,000 promoters and supporters.
SCI also provides personal responses to over 100 inquires each month. Over the years, SCI has helped thousands of people answer important questions, find local experts, and access critical resources needed to successfully achieve their solar cooking goals.
If you are interested in starting a solar cooking and/or water pasteurization project, please see promoting solar cooking. You can also connect with people and programs in your own country by visiting our pages about solar cooking in each country. Basic information on solar cooking, frequently-asked questions and instructions on how to build various solar cooker models are also available. Large sections of the Solar Cookers International Network site have been translated into French, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese, and translations of articles can be found in languages as varied as Farsi, Chinese, Vietnamese, German, Italian, Urdu, and Arabic.
- See Calendar of events.
Solar Cookers International (SCI), originally called Solar Box Cookers International, was founded in 1987 by 17 solar cooks residing in the sunny Central Valley of California. Among the founders were
- Bev Blum: first president and executive director of SCI from 1989-1999 and 2003-2006. She developed a mass-producible, foldable box cooker in 1992, and coordinated the development of the CooKit solar cooker. In 2009 she was the secretariat of the Solar Cookers International Network (now the Solar Cookers International Network, or SCInet).
- Barbara Kerr: co-developer of the Kerr-Cole solar box cooker built from two nested cardboard boxes. She co-founded the Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona, USA. She received the "Women in Solar Energy" award from the American Solar Energy Society in July, 2006.
- Dr. Bob Metcalf: professor of microbiology at California State University at Sacramento and was selected as the 2000-2001 Outstanding Teacher in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He is well known for his work on solar water pasteurization.
SCI produced and distributed manuals describing construction and use of solar box style cookers. SCI advocated for solar cooking to be incorporated into development and relief agency programs. SCI’s role evolved into networking with other solar cooking organizations worldwide, hosting forums for dialogue including co-sponsoring three international solar cooking conferences with the University of the Pacific, USA in 1992; the National University of Costa Rica in 1994; and the Deemed University, Coimbatore, India in 1997.
SCI also administered a series of solar cooking field projects. Since 1995, SCI has managed or co-managed solar cooking projects in the Nyakach district, Kenya; in the Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya; in the Aisha refugee camp, Ethiopia; in various communities, Zimbabwe; and in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya. See Programs & Projects section above for a description of the Sunny Solutions program in Nyakach, Kenya. For information about refugee camp work in Darfur, Sudan, refer to the refugee camp article.
SCI supported the development of the CooKit, a mass-producible, foldable solar cooker in the 1990s. This simple, panel-style solar cooker remains the most recognized solar cooker in the world.
Newsletter: Solar Cooker Review
Solar Cooker Review is published three times a year by Solar Cookers International. Sign up for electronic delivery of this newsletter.
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March 2012 update: For almost twenty years, Solar Cookers International has supported branch operations in Kenya. Our field projects have served tens of thousands of families in various East African countries. Due to the overwhelming logistical and financial challenges SCI has encountered in its efforts to effectively manage and restructure an operation 9,000 miles away from its home office in California, the Kenya operations have now been suspended. We are confident that SCI’s many years in that country have educated and inspired individuals and organizations in Kenya to continue with the very important work of spreading the use of solar cookers throughout Eastern Africa.
suNews was published twice a year by Solar Cookers International East Africa Office:
Educational materials from SCI
- Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy
- Trainers Manual: Teaching Solar Cooking
- Field Guide: Spreading Solar Cooking
- Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy
- Advocacy handouts provided for your use by Solar Cookers International
- Event Kit: Everything you need to promote solar cooking at events. Includes Suncookers DVD (with digital copy of Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy), educational posters, and 30 Solar Cooker Review back issues. Can be ordered online from Solar Cookers International.
- More materials are available here.
- Annual Report for 2013
- Annual Report for 2012
- Annual Report for 2011
- Annual Report for 2010
- Annual Report for 2009
- Annual Report for 2008
- Annual Report for 2007
- Annual Report for 2006
- Annual Report for 2005
- Annual Report for 2004
- November 2009: TchadSolaire Project Evaluation, Touloum Refugee Camp, Chad
- November 2008: International Program Development, Kenya Report Status report of SCI programs including the Safe Water Project and Sunny Solutions by Karyn Ellis, SCI Director of International Development.
- October 2008: Sunny Solutions Independent final evaluation
- September 2008: Sunny Solutions Final Report
- July 2008: East Africa Report: Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya by Karyn Ellis, SCI Director of International Development.
- October 2007: Solar Cooker Project Evaluation, Iridimi Refugee Camp, Chad
- December 2003: Evaluation of Solar Cookit Project in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya - Final Report
- January 2003: Aisha Solar Cooking Project, Evaluation Report to Solar Cookers International, Aisha refugee camp, Ethiopia.
Articles in the media
- December 2011: Solar cooking works, from sunny Brazil to Seattle - Crosscut.com
- June 2011: Sierra High School partners with Solar Cookers International - Sierra Sun
- 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
- September 2010: The Art of Solar Cooking - East Bay Express
- August 2010 Solarcooking for the Rural and Marginalized Communities - Global Action Atlas
- June 2010: Valley club makes solar cooking sizzle - The Fresno Bee
- January 2010: Solar Cookers International to Help Haitian Families - Sacramento Press
- January 2010: Solar Salvation for Haiti? - MSNBC
- November 2009: Youth giving, solar style - Solar Cooker Review
- October 2009: Kenya: Entrepreneurs Cashing in on Green Campaign - Business Daily (Nairobi)
- July 2009: SCI gives demonstrations galore in the Sacramento, California area - Solar Cooker Review
- April 2009: Sri Lanka's Sun in a Box! - Islam Online
- April 2009: VENTURE: Integrated Solar Cooking - genV Campaigns
- April 2009: Paper and Fuel Wood Biggest Stresses on Forests - Lester Brown
- January 2009: The dish on solar cooking: Local group touts the benefits of the sun’s power - Sacramento News & Review
- August 2008: Nuts + Bolts-Cooking with Sunlight - Natural Home Magazine
- July 2008: SCI featured on "Good Day Sacramento" TV show - CBS13.com
- July 2008: Taming harsh sunrays to make cooking easy - The Standard
- June 2008: Be Green: Here comes the sun - The Record
- May 2007: Sacramento’s Solar Cookers International uses the sun to improve quality of life, one village at a time - Sacramento News Review
- March 2007: A life in the Peace Corps: Public health volunteer in Kenya - Savannah Morning News
- February 2007: Rural Kenyan women on vanguard of African solar revolution - Agence France Presse
- January 2006: Cooking With the Sun - Highlights
- February 2009: Sun Worship and Self Reliance Report on SCI's visit to an HIV project in Kenya.
- April 2008: Black Carbon and Solar Cookers
Audio and video
- August 2013:
- August 2013:
- 2013: Monica Woods, SCI Board Member and News 10 Chief Meteorologist, discusses how a basic solar cooker functions, and the social, environmental, and health benefits of cooking with the sun. Listen to the interview...
- July 2013: Mendocino County Public Broadcasting interviews Julie Greene, Executive Director of Solar Cookers International about solar cooking strategies, equipment, and the impact of SCI's work in emerging nations. Listen to the program...
- December 2012:
- April 2011:
- August 2009: Dr. Bob Metcalf gave a very informative interview to Kirk Hamilton PA-C, of http://www.prescription2000.com, an online resource that delivers credible nutrition research to health professionals and to the public. Listen here. There is also a transcript available.
- January 2009: Solar Cookers Head to Haiti (Audio) - Capital Public Radio
- April 2008: World Bank audio interview with SCI's Margaret Owino
- January 2007: A video interview with SCI's Faustine Odaba at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
- September 2006: A video interview with SCI's Margaret Owino (Low bandwidth version here)
- October 2007: Suncookers - A DVD showing the work of Solar Cookers International in Kenya
Become a supporter of SCI
Donors to Solar Cookers International save lives and change lives.
We work to solve the problem of inadequate household energy facing nearly 3 billion people on our planet. Since human health, quality of life, and environments are affected by cooking fuel choices, we offer a solution to the difficult choices nearly half of all families make every day: whether to buy fuel, or to buy food and other family needs. The sun’s free energy is a viable solution for all who live where the sun shines.
Solar cooker technology is a sustainable and environmentally responsible tool which helps families fight poverty and disease, and changes women’s and children’s lives for the better.
What distinguishes Solar Cookers International is our combination of projects, partnerships, advocacy and outreach to the global solar cooker community. We engage and energize the Solar Cookers International Network, supporting more than 500 organizations and individuals around the world to share solar thermal cooker knowledge, particularly with those who have the greatest need.
Early in its history, Solar Cookers International identified an urgent need for refugees and villagers in Africa to cook and pasteurize water, and SCI designed a panel solar cooker, the CooKit, to meet this need. Today, we work with partners globally to address health and energy needs in a variety of sensitive populations and environments. Solar Cookers International provides information and connects you to the partnerships you need to bring simple, effective and appropriate solar thermal cooking technology to people who are interested in changing their lives by changing their cooking tools.
Through our efforts, SCI combats poverty, supports local economies, and preserves human dignity. We are motivated to change and save lives with solar thermal cooking technology.
There are many ways to become involved with SCI. One method is to make a donation to help bring solar cooking to the people who need this technology the most. Another way to help is to become a solar cook and help others learn about the benefits of solar cooking, too. The SCI website lists many ways you can get involved in community and international solar cooking efforts.
Donating to SCI
- Donate online: Donate to Solar Cookers International. All donations are tax-deductible in the United States through Solar Cookers International, a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization.
- Buy from Amazon.com Shop at Amazon.com and .5% of your payment will be donated to SCI. Just use this link and shop as you normally do: support SCI with your Amazon purchase.
- Donate your car - Donate your car using this form or call call toll free (877) 227-7487 extension 2403.
- Good Search / Good Shop- Search the web with GoodSearch.com and each time you do a search, GoodSearch will donate a penny to our cause! Shop online at GoodShop.com and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating including Amazon, Target, Staples, Best Buy and more! Code for inserting a Good Shop banner
- Capital One SCI Credit Card Apply for a SCI credit card through Capital One. SCI earns 25 dollars for each approved application and 1% of your purchases each quarter. To place this banner on your site, insert the code from this document into your site: Code for SCI credit card banner
- Fun(d)-raising - Your group or community can support SCI, be listed in our newsletter as an organizational member, AND have fun too. Creative events people have organized include community Solarbrations, Sol Food pot-lucks and Sun Runs. Please see these ways that schools and young people have raised money for our work.
- Sell items on ebay! SCI is a certified charity on Ebay, which means you can help fundraise for us. Visit our eBay charity page for more information.
- Contact SCI's Sacramento, California office to discuss these or other options.
Tel: +(1) 916-455-4499
Fax: +(1) 916-455-4498
US Tax Exemption ID: 68-0153141
- The Solar Cookers International brochure from 2007
- Safe Water Project
- Brochure showing the benefits for target groups of SCI's work
- The history of Solar Cookers International to the year 1999
- Refugee camps
- Solar Cooker Review newsletter published by Solar Cookers International
- Julie Greene