December 2012: A new Solar Cooking Business is started in Awra Amba, Ethiopia an exceptional community north Ethiopia. Together with Solar Cooking Netherlands the action plan is completed and the construction of the production centre is started in the village's distinctive building style: a wooden construction finished with a mixture of available loam and soil. The production of CooKits, hay baskets and wood-saving stoves is to start next spring. Solar box cookers will be introduced and produced as well. After about three years, the project will be financially independent.
Febuary 2012: The first National Project Steering Committee (NPSC) organised by HOAREC/N took place in Addis Ababa. The NPSC has the overall responsibility on quality control, development and - assurance related to the objectives of the European Union RET / EE project for Integrated Solar Cooking in Ethiopia in three areas. The target group is 10,000 households. Solar Cooking Foundation the Netherlands (SCN-KoZon) is Associated Partner in this project and member of the NPSC.
October 2011:HOAREC/N organized an Inception Workshop for all participating partners and a launching meeting as formal kick off of the European Union RET / EE project for Integrated Solar Cooking.
October 2010: Solar Cooking Foundation the Netherlands (SCN-KoZon) restructures and makes a change to business approach. For over 6 years, SCN-KoZon has supported solar cooking projects in East Africa, i.e. Eritrea, Ethiopia (PISDA), Somalia, and Uganda (SCA). Initially, SCN-KoZon projects roughly adhered to the folowing scenario: Local NGO's submitted requests to SCN-KoZon. Upon approval by the Board, SCN-KoZon started the fundraising process. During all these years, Wild Ganzen added a financial support of 70% gross to all donations obtained by SCN-KoZon. The woman in the projects buy CooKits, wood-saving cooking appliances, and hay baskets at subsidised prices. At the monthly cooking meetings, led by locally chosen female instructors, women learn the "new cooking methods". The NGOs handle public promotion so that support is increased in the various regions. Even though the NGOs were enthusiastic about the results of solar cooking as a solution to the consequences of deforestation, SCN-KoZon gradually recognized that in no way did it produce a fully sustainable approach. Indeed, the NGO in the project country remains financial dependent. SCN-KoZon faced the challenge of reaching a business approach together with its local partners. This must lead to a financial independent position. For SCN-KoZon this means a change from a charitable, coordinating and counseling approach to an advisory, supporting role. The solar cooking projects did already have quite a lot of experience with production, marketing, information and education, a sound basis for a business approach. This paved the way to integration into the local economy. Women's central position in all local economy activities grows steadily as well. This enables SCN-KoZon to reduce its financial support over a period of 3 to 5 years! SCN-KoZon's support for all new projects focuses on a business cost-covering developement.
July 2010:Hans Le Noble reports record CooKit sales. For the third year running, Solar Cooking Netherlands (SCN-KoZon) has worked together with Solar Connect Association (SCA) in Uganda. In addition to information delivery about and lobbying for the use of solar energy and wood-saving cooking techniques in Uganda, SCA produces and sells the complete range of related cooking appliances. SCA also takes care of the requisite training for the users, mainly women, in the Mbarara district in southern Uganda, close to the borders with Rwanda and Tanzania. SCA is by now active in 10 rural villages and has a smoothly running shop plus information centre in the town of Mbarara. In the past 2 years, nearly 4,200 households (about 25,000 people) switched to solar energy and wood-saving cooking techniques. It is expected that in the current year another 2,200 households will follow. A household thus saves on average €0.50 per day or €180.- per year, a considerable amount for “low-income” households! Millions of kilos of charcoal and firewood are saved annually! Hence less deforestation! The Mbarara programme is supposed to reach its break-even point by the end of 2010 and will from on then continue to operate as an independent and self-supporting unit. Energy-saving cooking will then become an accepted and sustainable alternative for a large part of the Ugandan population and will reduce its need for development aid. In November 2009, Hans Le Noble paid a working visit as (PUM) Netherlands senior expert to the SCA Mbarara project. Improved or new production and marketing techniques such as direct selling, market expansion, production outsourcing and attention to quality and design were recommended, discussed and implemented. All this has contributed to the record sale of 750 CooKits in the 4th quarter of 2009! Two instructors/marketers work fulltime in Mbarara together with 14 female instructors and 1 instructor (indeed, one man!) on a commission basis, plus another saleswoman/instructor in the shop. Demonstrations and training meetings were organised every day in villages as well as in town. To promote even further ‘integrated solar and fuel-saving cooking’, a sales and distribution centre is to be opened in the Kampala region, hopefully as early as in 2010. This centre will buy the solar CooKits from the Mbarara production centre, which will create a sounder production basis. Financing discussions are under way with other NGOs. The objective is to distribute 2,200 CooKits in the first 12 months of 2010.
March 2010: Besides working with their own projects, SCN-KoZon has developed a relationship with the Cooking with the Sun Foundation, KoZon, to intensify their efforts to promote solar cooking in Africa. KoZon has been working since 1997 in French- speaking West and Central African countries. A demonstration of the Cookit oven in Eritrea by KoZon prompted them to begin a program there. Combined with the efforts of SCN-KoZon, they have established more solar cooking educational possibilities for the English-speaking countries of Uganda, Ethiopia, as well as Eritrea.
2007 - December 2009: In Uganda, the Solar Connect Association (SCA) initiates and implements successful solar cooking projects under leadership of Mr. Kawesa Mukasa, director of the SCA. He works together with his secretary in Kampala and his project team in Mbarara, in the south of Uganada. Solar Cooking Netherlands gives know how and financial support. The project in Mbarara [since 2007] aims to reach a cost-effective and preferably profitable operating account by the end of 2011 at the latest. To succeed it is vital to arrive at a cost-effective Resource and Production Centre in Mbarara where all Integrated Cooking products are made under own control or contracted out or bought on the local market. In this manner the local economy benefits as well. In 2008 more than 4000 CooKits are sold to 3800 families. This means 20,000 people consume solar-cooked food [at a average of 6 persons per household] and a yearly saving of roughly 9000 tons of firewood. Clara Thomas, chairman of SCN-KoZon, introduced a direct selling method, though which groups of women in the villages are invited to information sessions, demonstrations, cooking lessons, meal sharing, and instruction in water pasteurization and the use of the Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI). This has been very successful. To enhance durability of the Cookits, the cardboard side of is coated, the borders are reinforced with adhesive tape and the sun reflecting aluminium sheets can now be glued perfectly smoothly with new techniques. In the Kampala region another project is in preparation. The meaning is to start this project as a for-profit enterprise.
September 2009: The outcome of the conference in March is a large scale Integrated Sustainable Solar Cooking project in 4 countries of the Horn of Africa. It is a three year plan in eight clusters: six in Ethiopia, one in Djibouti-Somalia and one in Sudan. Abiye Ashenafi [HoArec] will manage the project and SCN-KoZon is cooperating partner, trainer and advisor. On this moment SCN-KoZon’s Jacomine Immink and Clara Thomas have designed manuals for instructors and end-users. They contain many visual materials for illiterate people. In cooperation with Wietske Jongbloed [KOZON] , a comprehensive manual for the production of Cookits and Water pasteurization Indicators [WAPis] . The expectation is that the project really start in 2010. On that moment 10.000 Cookits and WAPis will be needed. The manuals will be translated into local languages.
March 2009: In Ethiopia the pilot project of PISDA and SCN-KoZon has been very successful. on this moment 1500 households use wood-saving cookers. At the monthly PISDA meetings, participating women motivate each other to sell CooKit bread and cakes at the local market. A new production- and training centre has been opened and has been visited through representatives of Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre. The success of this project has inspired Janny Poley, the first secretary of the Embassy of the Netherlands. On her initiative a working conference with a department of the University of Addis Ababa has been organised on the 13 the and 14 the of March.
2007: This year Solar Cooking Netherland was active in Ethiopia, Uganda, Puntland/Somalia and Eritrea. There was a fruitful cooperation with lacal NGO's and women. There was a integrated approach, which included how the market works, how to fit in the local market,local production through women and to earn income for women. A save-and credit foundation has been esthablised directed on independence of all the people who are involved.
November 2007: Solar Cooking Netherlands (SCN-KoZon) has teamed up with Partnership for Integrated Sustainable Development Association (PISDA), a local non-governmental organization, to introduce solar cooking in four rural villages around Debre Zeit. PISDA has worked with female heads of households on a number of projects, such as tree planting, fuel-efficient wood stoves, and savings and credit associations. SCN-KoZon’s Clara Thomas, along with PISDA’s Ato Guillilat, left early mornings on a two-wheeled horse wagon to visit the four rural villages. They first introduced solar cookers to village elders, and then spent a week training a group of solar cooking instructors. A year-long initial program was agreed upon to ensure continued follow up in the form of monthly collective solar cooking meetings to share experiences and advice. The project will likely expand next year. A local solar fabricator in Addis Ababa — Bereket Solar — will produce CooKit solar cookers by hand for the project. Towards the end of 2007 he will transfer his experience and knowledge to the women in rural areas so that they can make their own CooKits. Injera, a pancake-like bread, is a local staple that cannot be cooked with simple solar cookers. (It requires a 60-centimeter diameter pan and baking temperature of at least 220°C.) A research program is underway to find a solar method for baking injera. The present cooking culture does not permit introducing collective solar injera baking through a large bakery or otherwise. In the meantime, injera will continue to be baked three times per week on a fuel-efficient wood stove.
March, 2006: The Eritrea solar cooker project organized by the foundation Solar Cooking Netherlands continues to spread solar cooking knowledge in the Anseba region. As of January 2006, women from eight villages in the region, who previously purchased CooKits, attend monthly classes to further their skills and work through any issues. SCN-KoZon hopes to extend these classes to 32 more villages in the region by the end of 2006. Local women are fabricating CooKits in the city of Keren. One hundred CooKits have been made, and more are in the works (pending re-supply of aluminum foil, which must be imported). According to SCN-KoZon representative Janine Pater, local fabrication is important: “This is a major step forward in accomplishing the objective that now, and in the future, everyone in Anseba will be in a position to buy and/or make a CooKit without restriction.”
November 2005: An Eritrea solar cooker project organized by the foundation Solar Cooking Eritrea Netherlands (SCEN) recently edged out 300 nominees to win an award for small-scale development projects. The award, presented by Dutch organizations the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) and the Wild Geese Foundation, carries a monetary value of nearly $6,000. SCEN won based on project quality, thoroughness of the organization, efficient working methods, financial transparency, and the "for women, by women" aspect of the project. This year SCEN hopes to enable 4,500 families to solar cook with simple panel-type solar cookers based on Solar Cookers International's "CooKit." Thus far, 1,500 women have been trained, of which 700 have purchased CooKits for about $3.50 each. A new project coordinator, appointed by the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), will organize future workshops and follow-up activities, and supervise a store where solar cookers are produced and sold. Project beneficiaries include low-income women in the Anseba region, and internally displaced persons in the Gash Barka zone. SCEN chairwoman Clara Thomas is currently organizing follow-up meetings with new solar cooks to collect feedback and discuss challenges and success. According to Ms. Thomas, evaluation and adaptation are essential. "In this way," she says, "a tradition of thousands of years of firewood cooking can be transformed to solar cooking with purely the sun as heat source." At least one woman in the Hagaz village seems already convinced. Of her experiences thus far, she says, "We prepare goat, rice, lentils and shiro in the CooKit and the taste is excellent!"