Jewish World Watch, originator of the Solar Cooker Project for Sudanese refugees, reviews their current programs at several of the refugee camps in Chad – As a result of a joint security force between Chad and Sudan, violence against women has declined some since the project began seven years ago. Cord, their partner at the Farchana refugee camp, sees solar cooking as a way to keep girls in school, and not spending hours finding fuelwood for cooking. For others, the project has meant help for the environment and the air quality conditions for women previously using open fires. When the Jewish World Watch contingent first visited the camps many years ago, the refugees had just arrived and the encampment was meant to be temporary. The hope and expectation was that within a few months or a couple of years at most; they would return to their homes. But now, seven years later, it is clear that returning to Darfur is not a reality and the camps are turning into permanent settlements. As a result, the programs for the refugees must begin to move away from survival resources and begin to address ways of achieving self-sufficiency and permanence. In other words, helping to create a life, not an existence. Future larger scale solutions will be needed to address and benefit the surrounding communities, as well as the refugee camps, to help with the integration of the Sudanese residents. Read more...
War weary citizens in Iraq to receive solar cookers - During a recent visit to villages in the Najaf-Karbala region of Iraq, a trustee of the Lady Fatemah Trust (LFT) found that villagers were using two methods for cooking: The majority of families, living in abject poverty, use open fuelwood fires for cooking, heating and lighting, while a slightly more affluent minority uses appliances fueled by kerosene. In the first phase of this project, LFT intends to provide solar cookers to families living in the villages surrounding Karbala Barakat al-Zahra district, Al-Mahdiyeh Village One and Two, the al-Nedhal and al-Wala’ neighborhoods, as well as to families living on isolated desert farms. About 7000 solar panel cookers will be needed to provide every family in the region with a cooker. The cookers to be used are an improved version of the Cookit solar cooker made from plastic fluteboard and manufactured by Matthew Rollins. The cost of each cooker will be £15, including transportation and administrative expenses. Total project cost will therefore amount to £105,000.00. More information...
Regional Solar Food Processing Network to be established in India - Rolf Behringer reports that the German NGO WISIONS has agreed to support the establishment in India of the first regional Solar Food Processing Network. A workshop to inaugurate this effort will take place in early 2013 (date and location to be announced). The aim of the Solar Food Processing Network (SFPN) is to establish a global network of interested parties (NGOs, governments, farmers, and manufacturers) to develop and promote efficient methods of solar food processing and conservation. These are intended to help reduce poverty, improve local economic opportunities and health, and decrease environmental damage. In countries with high solar insolation, effective solar thermal production technologies will contribute to the sustainable development of small rural communities. SFPN is managed by the German NGO Solare Zukunft (Solar Future). It is financially supported by WISIONS, an initiative of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy to foster practical sustainable energy projects.
TanzSolar wins the Green Africa Award for Business - In June of this year the annual Green Africa Award for Business was awarded to TanzSolar for championing environmental change in Africa. TanzSolar received the Award for bringing clean, renewable solar energy and electric lighting to villagers in Tanzania. TanzSolar received the Green Business & Environmental Management Award, one of ten categories. “We are thrilled and this is an enormous honor to receive such an award. It’s nice to be recognized for our hard work in solar energy in Africa,” said Marianne Walpert, Founder and Director of TanzSolar.
South Dakota foundation makes plans to have more solar cookers available in Haiti - Haiti Solar Oven Project board members and partners met the last weekend in October to set goals for 2013. In the next fiscal year, Haiti Solar Oven Partners will provide 2,280 units to families in Haiti participating in training and ownership of a solar oven.
Recent natural disasters show need for emergency cooking and water pasteurization - Bangladesh floods and landslides, June 2012; India floods July, 2012; Haiti floods and mudslides August, 2012; More 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.
Parabolic solar cookers delivered to Afghanistan's remote Wakhan Corridor - The Kirghiz tribe live at the end of this slender finger of land in northeastern Afghanistan. Their primary fuel source for cooking has been dried yak dung, creating smoky conditions in their yurts. The buffalo-like yaks are used for most of their transportation needs. In June, Jeff Waalkes in Kirghizstan and Grace Magney with the Global Hope Network in Kabul were able to deliver ten parabolic solar cookers to the tribe. Grace organized the procurement and had the cookers loaded onto a truck. Jeff's responsibility was to get the truck into the Wakhan Corridor, and where the road petered out, strap everything including the solar cookers to the backs of yaks to deliver them to the Kirghiz. Initially hesitant, members of the tribe were soon cooking food and boiling water. See more of Jeff's photos of the delivery.
Global conservation organization adopts solar cooking resolution sponsored by Solar Household Energy - The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has embraced a strong resolution sponsored by Solar Household Energy calling for increased support for solar cooking efforts worldwide. The measure was adopted in September at IUCN’s quadrennial World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. The organization recognized the health hazards of cooking over biomass fires, and the availability of current solar cooking technologies. Efforts continue to develop solar cookers that offer increased efficiency, are cost-effective to produce and distribute, and are sturdy enough to withstand extended use. Read more...
Students set a world record and bring awareness to the benefits of solar cooking - Students, parents, faculty, staff and friends gathered at Miami Country Day School located in Miami, Florida, USA on Friday, April 20, 2012 and set the Guinness Book of World Records™ for “The Most Cookies Baked in One Hour Using Solar Ovens”. Trays of unbaked cookies were placed in 40 smaller solar ovens, as well as, two Villager solar ovens. After the cookies were baked and 1225 counted....a World Record was set! The event raised over $18,000 USD, which was used to send the 40 solar ovens and a Villager oven to Haiti. The cookies baked in the event were donated to Feeding South Florida. The event was lead by Matthew Cohen, a high school junior who has been actively involved in the solar oven movement for the past nine years. Cohen launched the website Power from the Sun to educate people worldwide on the benefits of solar cooking and help raise money to send solar ovens to needy families in Haiti. Cohen’s latest project is aptly named “The Life Of The Traveling Solar Oven” and encourages students, parents, teachers, and local businesses to sponsor a solar oven. Participants are asked to use the solar oven, document their experience with video or photos and share it on their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PowerFromTheSun. The event will conclude on Earth Day 2013.
Swedish and Lutheran organizations sponsor water pasteurization efforts in Kenya - The Swedish Church and the aid agency Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are launching Solvatten in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The goal of the project is to reduce environmental degradation by enabling people to use alternative sources of energy in the camp and in the host community that surrounds it. Supply of fire wood has been a problem in Kakuma region since the camp was set up in 1992 but it has escalated in the past two years, despite that the refugees are not allowed to harvest firewood directly from the bushes. This is attributed to the continuous massive influx of people into the camp leading to the environmental degradation through the harvesting of sticks from the available vegetation for firewood. Firewood has become very expensive and the UNHCR struggles to purchase and supply fuel to the growing population of refugees in the camp. The Solvatten is a solar water pasteurization device.
Solar cooker project in Chad is in full swing - In the Farchana Refugee Camp, a team of ten volunteers, refugees themselves, are putting together 2350 cookers! The cookers help prevent conflict between the Sudanese population in the camps and the local Chadian community, who are both competing for scarce firewood. Women, who traditionally collect wood to cook with, face violence outside the camps. The solar cookers need only the sun to cook food, one thing Chad has in abundance! Read more...
New video shows Vietnam Solar Serve's extensive solar cooking projects - A team of three French students came to visit Vietnam Solar Serve's center. They had organized Global Universities Social Trip (GUST), a project that aims to raise students' awareness of social entrepreneurship in Asia. For six months they met many social entrepreneurs throughout Asia who worked on problems such as energy, communication, waste, water, and housing. They created videos that presented the entrepreneurs' projects, the social issues they wanted to solve, and the challenges they had to overcome. Click the image on the right to see a video that they made on their visit to our Solar Serve Center in Danang. For more information on the Gust Project, visit the: http://www.gustproject.com or visit their Vimeo Channel.
Solar cooking heads to The Discovery Center - Central Valley Solar Cookers, founded by Carl Peters, is one of the most successful solar cooking clubs in the USA. Located in Fresno, California, the group now has 111 members. They recently had their First Annual Solar Cooking Festival, which was a huge success. They now have enough money to buy materials to build a solar cooker for use at The Discovery Center, a free non-profit science education facility. The park is fully self-funded and situated on six acres. Carl thinks a panel type cooker would be the safest type. It would be a nice addition to ultimately see solar cookers in our parks instead of only charcoal and wood burning BBQs.
New video: The need for a more durable solar cooker for desert refugee camps
Students flood southern Mexico integrated cooking class - Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Fresno, California, led by Wilfred and Marie Pimentel, teamed up with the Rotary Club of Tapachula Centenario, Mexico, to host a five-day integrated cooking workshop in Tapachula. This is the tenth grant project completed in Mexico by the Rotary Club of Fresno. Although only twenty students were expected to attend, ninety-one arrived on opening day to participate—a clear indication of the desperate need for affordable fuel-saving cooking devices in this region. Local instructors and expert solar cooks from Torreon and Oaxaca led the workshop. Participants learned to build three types of rocket stoves: mud and chopped grass, five gallon tin can, and sixteen brick, which were used to make tortillas. Students cut out cardboard sheets and glued them to pieces of aluminum foil to make solar panel CooKits. A variety of meat, vegetable and egg dishes were prepared with the CooKits along with desserts like pineapple upside down cake. Students also learned how to use WAPI’s to pasteurize water with a CooKit. Finally, the instructors showed their ninety-one students how easy it is to make a retained heat cooker with a pillowcases and crumpled newspaper stuffed into a woven basket. Read more...
Alternative energy organization in Vietnam enthusiastically promotes solar cooking - Vietnam Solar Serve has provided a recent video tour of their production facility in Da Nang, Vietnam. The resourceful group has been adapting solar cooker designs from other countries and developing their own solar energy products since 2000. Looking at the larger alternative energy picture, they also promote photovoltaic panels made in Vietnam and are working on designs for water and wind power turbines. They manufacture a variety of parabolic and box solar cookers.
Solar cooking set to help preserve the Golden Temple in Punjab, India - To save the Golden Temple from the ill effects of pollution, the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) is developing a plan to prepare a daily meal of Langar dal with the help of a solar steam cooking system. PEDA is the governmental agency promoting renewable energy within Punjab, India. To prepare Langar dal for 50,000 to 60,000 devotees daily at the Golden Temple requires one ton (909 kg) of dal to be cooked. A recent study has shown cooking dal with the help of steam will save at least 25 LPG cylinders per day and also reduce the effects of air pollution on the Golden Temple. PEDA chairman Manjeet Singh said that PEDA would bear the entire project cost.
South Dakota, USA nonprofit has delivered thousands of solar cookers to Haiti - Haiti Solar Oven Partners passed a milestone this spring by delivering another 1000 solar cookers as part of the relief effort resulting from the 2010 earthquake. This brings the total number of cookers they have taken to Haiti to over 5000. They had begun having solar cooking workshops in the country before the earthquake and have since stepped up their efforts. Currently, they are conducting an evaluation of their Haiti projects.
Global conservation gathering is approached with the solar cooking option - The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development. It will take place from September 6-15, 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and social organizations will discuss, debate and decide solutions for the world’s most pressing environment and development issues. The upcoming Congress has been approached by Solar Household Energy to present the case for solar cooking. Read more of their proposal.
Spanish cooperative finds common ground promoting solar cooking - Sol Solidari was formed in 2008 by environmental and sanitation practitioners in Spain wanting to combine their expertise to help primarily rural countries in Africa. Most of their activity has centered on the promotion of solar cooking. Whenever is possible, the cookers are locally manufactured, and workshops on their use are carried out with the help of local leaders. Initially the cookers are distributed for free to create better exposure among the villagers. In the second phase, the solar cookers are sold, but mostly subsidized by Sol Solidari. Until now, the projects have taken place in Ethiopia and Mali, but future plans include Cameroon and South Africa.