Wikia

Solar Cookers World Network

Changes: Solar cooker dissemination and cultural variables

Edit

Back to page

m (Selected articles)
(added video)
 
(77 intermediate revisions by 4 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
{{GoogleTranslateLinks}}
 
{{GoogleTranslateLinks}}
   
  +
{{Updated|11|13|14}}
  +
Here is a sampling of perspectives that may be of interest to solar cooking promoters and could serve as a reminder to seek local partners when possible. 
   
''[The original text for this article was written by [[Ramon Coyle]] in November, 2006.]''
+
A good information source is [[Solar Cookers International]]’s own manual: [[Media:FieldGuide.pdf|Field Guide: Spreading Solar Cooking]]. These items on the manual’s assessment check list can be affected by cultural variability:
   
==Introduction==
+
*Are there open, sunny spaces near homes, where a solar cooker and food can be safe from theft, tampering, or damage?
A solar cooker promoter asked for comments on ways culture and customs affect the spread of solar cookers. I am not an anthropologist, but I have read hundreds of reports and thousands of letters from solar cooker promoters around the world. So I wrote something up. Then I was asked to re-edit my comments for publication on the internet.
+
*Is cooking already usually done outside?
  +
*When are primary meals served? Around noon and/or around sunset or soon after?
  +
*Do gender roles allow/encourage women to participate in community groups and decision-making in family financial matters?
   
Among all who may read this article, I expect my primary audience to be people considering or already engaged in their first years of promoting solar cooking internationally. Most will probably be from the richer countries of North America and Europe. The cultures of these promoters is something to consider.
+
Food preferences and customs vary by culture and promoters should consider whether high-heat frying consumes a significant portion of household fuel. In cultures where most foods are fried, [[parabolic cooker]]s may be the most suitable, while in cultures where frying is less important, lower-cost [[box|box cookers]] and [[panel cookers]] may be the most practical and economical choice.
   
Having lived mainly in the United States, I perceive that the culture here does not particularly encourage patience or humility. The culture does seem to promote a high level of optimism and an insular rather than planetary outlook. The optimism may tempt US-based solar cooker promoters to launch grand schemes with short time frames and too little research, planning and resources.
+
Here are a few other variables promoters should consider:
  +
*How many people do most women cook for in the community?
  +
*What size or style of cooker suits a particular family's needs?
  +
*What [[pots]] are used? Will they work for solar cooking and will they fit in the chosen cooker(s)?
  +
*What time of day do women buy the day’s food?
  +
*Is there enough time after purchasing the food to solar cook it?
  +
*Will they have time to solar cook both lunch and dinner?
  +
Knowing local food customs can help promoters find niches where solar cookers can have dramatic pay-offs. For example, in Hausa communities in West Africa, there are often a significant number of people involved in small businesses that roast chickens. These chicken roasters could be a great market for solar box cookers.
   
Europeans seem more worldly in their outlook, but I am not sure they are any more patient or humble. Impatient westerners may want to avoid imposing their pace, expectations and timelines when they are visiting another culture.
+
==Gender, culture and cookers==
   
Patience, humility and the ability to listen to new points of view are helpful, but solid knowledge of the local culture is important, too. In the early 1990s, Dr. [[Barbara Carpenter]] of Southern University advised [[Solar Cookers International]] to seek partnerships with organizations with roots in the local community, with knowledge of the local culture, and with the trust of the local people.
+
:[[File:McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers|thumb|350 px]]
  +
:[[File:Kuyper Solar cooking, women’s empowerment, and food and nutrition security|thumb|350 px]]
  +
When introducing solar cooking to a culture, it is critically important to be sensitive to the disparity in decision-making power between men and women. In many cultures, women often do most of the cooking, while men make the financial decisions for the family. As a result of their separation from the cooking, men may be reluctant to spend money to improve the conditions of their cooking facilities.
   
[[Solar Cookers International]] tries to shrink many cultural gaps both by consistently recruiting local women to be the teachers and promoters of solar cooking in [[Solar Cookers International]]’s field projects, and by working with in-country evaluators to assess our projects.
+
Just because solar cooking is introduced to a culture does not necessarily mean it will be immediately accepted and adopted. Cases have been reported where women fear to try a new cooking method because they worry their husbands will beat them if meals do not taste the way the men are used to. A study from [[:Category:Central America|Central America]] by Dr. [[Dulce Cruz]] discussed a project in which women organized into groups to build and learn to use solar cookers. Some men in the community were threatened by the fact that their wives were getting out of the house, meeting with other women, and learning new skills—and they beat their wives to discourage them.
   
Here is a sampling of perspectives that may be of interest to solar cooking promoters and that may serve as a reminder to seek local partners for greater insight.
+
There have been reports in Africa of opposition to solar cookers because men were afraid that the cookers would provide women time to be idle. In those families that rely on gathered [[firewood]] instead of purchased wood or [[charcoal]], women and girls usually do most of the fuel collecting. Under some economic analyses, the time spent gathering the wood would be considered a “cost” of cooking. However, in many places, time spent by women and girls doing work is not assigned a recognized value. Therefore, “saving” their time through solar cooking does not have a recognized value. In many cases, it is not exclusively a gender issue. Work that does not bring cash income may be less valued than work that does produce tangible economic gains.
   
The first place I sample is [[Solar Cookers International]]’s own “Spreading Solar Cooking” manual (available at http://solarcooking.org/advocacy/fieldguide.pdf). Among the items on the manual’s assessment check list, these speak to cultural variables:
+
Another reported reason for rejecting solar cookers is that an indoor cooking fire is effective at reducing the number of insects that live in the roof of the family dwelling. It has been reported that in some places, women have taken to working together in hot, smoky kitchens with a cooking fire because the heat and smoke keep the men away and allow the women a space of their own. For others, the cleanliness, lack of smoke, and image of modern living brought on by using a solar cooker are reasons that are attractive to women in the developing world, even as others cling to the old and traditional ways.
   
*“Are there open, sunny spaces near homes, where a solar cooker and food can be safe from stealing, tampering or damage?
+
On the other hand, there have been instances of male acceptance of solar cooking where men praise their wives’ move to solar cooking because of the lack of smoke and soot. Some men have said that with solar cooking, their wives do not smell like smoke, look better (no red eyes from smoke and soot), feel better (reduced coughing), and have more time for the family.
*“Is cooking already usually done outside?
 
*“Are main meals around noon and/or around sunset or soon after?”
 
*“Do gender roles allow/encourage women to participate in community groups and allow women some decision-making in family financial matters?”
 
   
Food preferences and customs vary by culture, and the manual asks promoters to consider whether high-heat frying consumes a significant portion of household fuel. In cultures where most foods are fried, parabolic cookers may be the most suitable, while in cultures where frying is less important, lower cost box and panel cookers may be the most economical choice.
+
In fact, in some projects, especially in the [[Kakuma refugee camp]] in [[Kenya]], a surprising cultural change was noticed: men began cooking their own meals, citing that solar cooking was a clean and modern alternative to traditional cook stoves. This change in sentiment may have also been partly due to the fact that the circumstances which led people to become refugees also disrupted families, leaving some men with no female relatives available to cook for them. By removing the least desirable aspects of cooking: reduced heat, polution, and reliance on finite fuel sources, solar cookers can lead men and women to share cooking chores more equally, acting as a catalyst of enormous cultural change.
   
Here are a few other variables promoters should consider:
+
==Belief systems and cookers==
How many people do most women cook for in the community?
 
What size or style of cooker suits this family size?
 
What pots are used? Will they work with solar cooking and will they fit in the cookers?
 
What time of day do women buy the day’s food?
 
Is there enough time after purchasing the food to solar cook it?
 
Will they have time to solar cook both lunch and dinner?
 
Knowing local food customs can help promoters find niches where solar cookers can have dramatic pay-offs. For example, I have been told that in Hausa communities in West Africa, there are usually a significant number of people involved in small businesses roasting chickens. These chicken roasters could be a great market for solar box cookers.
 
   
==Gender, culture and cookers==
+
#Anecdotal evidence exists that some cultures reject square solar box cookers because they believe that circular shapes are the symbol of perfection.
  +
#In parts of [[Nepal]], people were reluctant to use solar cookers because they believed the god of the household hearth was an important spirit who would be offended if meals were not cooked on a fire on the hearth.
  +
#There has been some reluctance to accept using solar cookers in [[Madagascar]], as solar cooking is not the tradition, and hence, not sanctified by the Ancients. A new program is planned to invite an Ancient to participate, and to have a sorcerier to sanctify the proceedings.
  +
#It has been reported that during solar cooking demonstrations in [[Haiti]], people grew fearful when the food started to cook, convinced that black magic must have bee involved. There are similar cases in parts of Africa where cooking food without fire is perceived as the work of the devil.
  +
#In the United States, the influential solar cooking leader [[Barbara Kerr]] was visited by an engineering professional who spent much of the day trying to make his point that a cardboard solar box cooker could not possibly cook food. He continued his argument while his lunch was cooking in a box cooker at his feet, and maintained that the cooker could not work even after he had eaten the solar cooked food.
   
One important factor is the disparity in decision-making power between men and women in many cultures. In most cultures, women do most of the cooking, but in many cultures men make the decisions about spending money. Since the men don’t cook, they may be reluctant to spend money to improve the working conditions of the cook. On the other hand, we’ve heard of a man in Kenya who bought his wife a solar cooker, but she refused to use it.
+
In all four of the above cases, solar cookers were outside the experience and belief systems of the people being introduced to it. In such cases, it is normal and understandable for people to attempt to explain solar cooking in such a way that fits with their understanding of the science. 
   
I’ve also been told that in some cases women fear to try a new cooking method because they worry their husbands will beat them if meals do not taste the way the men are used to.
+
There are certain cases where solar cooking can fit well with established belief systems. For example, in the Jewish traditional laws (Hallacha) pertaining to the Sabbath, there are several restrictions such as not lighting a fire, using a fire only under strict restrictions, and not cooking on a fire (with certain exemptions, like continued warming from the previous day) and in modern times these restrictions were extended to electricity. Solar cooking offers a viable alternative to a traditional cooking fire that complies with the Hallacha laws. 80% of Israeli housholds already use solar water heating, in accordance with the local law, so there is precident in the Jewish community for harnessing the sun in functional ways. There are even some ancient discussions written in the Jewish holy scriptures that discuss cooking or baking in the sun, including mentions of solar cooking in the Sinai Desert, during the exodus at biblical times. If taken at face value, these texts state that it is permitted to cook food in the sun on the Sabbath. There is debate surrounding modern interpretations on these texts, especially in Israel where the majority of population keeps to tradition.
   
A study from Central America by Dr. [[Dulce Cruz]] discussed a project in which women organized into groups to build and learn to use cookers. Some men were threatened by the fact that their wives were getting out of the house, meeting with other women, and learning new skills—and they beat their wives to discourage them.
+
Geo-thermal heating and cooking have also been discussed in the Jewish community for use on the Sabbath. While solar heating has received a generally postive repsonse, geo-thermal heating has recieved a negative one, comparing it to man made fire, and declaring it as undesired on the Sabbath. 
   
There have been reports in Africa of opposition to solar cookers because men were afraid that the cookers would provide women time to be idle.
+
When religion must be considered when introducing solar cooking, highlighting its historical uses in the given culture may aid in its acceptance.
   
In those families that rely on gathered firewood instead of purchased wood or charcoal, women and girls usually do most of the fuel collecting. Under some economic analyses, the time spent gathering the wood would be considered a “cost” of cooking. However, in many places, time spent by women and girls doing work is not assigned a recognized value. Therefore, “saving” their time through solar cooking does not have a recognized value. In many cases, it is not exclusively a gender issue. Work that does not bring cash income may be less valued than work that does produce cash.
+
==Culture supports solar cooking==
   
I have heard that one reason for rejecting solar cookers is that an indoor cooking fire is effective at reducing the number of insects that live in the roof of the family dwelling. I have heard that in some places women like working together in hot, smoky kitchens with a cooking fire because the heat and smoke keep the men away and allow the women a space of their own.
+
The religious view of solar cooking is not the only motivator for its acceptance in certain cultures though. For many, its practical benefits and advantages are reason enough to adopt solar cooking. For example, some African farmers celebrate their ability to carry lightweight solar cookers into their distant fields, providing them with the capability to cook food while they work and giving them a hot meal with little extra effort. In East Africa, women's groups make extra money by using solar cooking to meet a important, but niche, cultural aspect that many in Western countries take for granted—baking [[Desserts|birthday cakes]]. Baking cakes is virtually impossible on a three-stone fire, but is relatively simple in a [[solar box cooker]].
   
On the other hand, men’s attitudes can support the acceptance of solar cooking. I’ve seen examples of men praising their wives’ move to solar cooking because of the lack of smoke and soot. Some men have said that with solar cooking their wives smell better (not smoky), look better (no red eyes from smoke), feel better (reduced coughing) and have more time for the family.
+
While it is wonderful that solar cookers can provide convenient lunches and celebratory desserts, the most important benefit of solar cooking lies in its ablility to offer a smoke free alternative to indoor cook stoves. [[Solar Cookers International]] has received hundreds of letters from people around the world who decry the coughing and pneumonia that are linked to indoor cooking smoke. When indoor stoves that rely on finite fuel are the only source of cooking power in a culture, it is often reserved for cooking food and other needs, like water purification, are left ignored. SCI has received many pleas from people in developing countries who describe the suffering, especially among children, from diseases carried in their drinking water and who seek information on [[solar water pasteurization|water pasteurization]].
   
In fact, in some of our projects, especially in [[Kakuma refugee camp]] in [[Kenya]], we found a surprising cultural change. Men began cooking their own meals. This may have been due partly to the fact that the problems that led people to become refugees also disrupted families, so that some men had no female relatives available to cook for them. However, what the men said was that they liked solar cooking because it was clean and modern. By removing the worst negatives of cooking, solar cookers may foster enormous cultural changes if it leads to men and women sharing the cooking chores more equally.
+
Full realization of solar cooking's benefits--economic and health-related--only occurs if people successfully incorporate solar cooking into their lives on a long-term basis. An elder in a [[Somalia|Somali]] community who had been using solar cookers on a regular and widespread basis for several years told a neutral monitor of the project the following:
   
The cleanliness, lack of smoke and image of modern living is one that attracts many women in the developing world to solar cookers, even as others may cling hard to the old and traditional ways.
+
“Forest is rain, forest is fuel energy, forest is crop…livestock…money. Forest, in general, is livelihoods. By reducing their destruction and reclaiming them…most of us have just started witnessing how valuable these solar cookers are.
   
==Belief systems and cookers==
+
==Cookers and changes==
   
The person whose questions stimulated the writing of this article offered an anecdote. She said she heard that some cultures reject square solar box cookers because they believe that circular shapes are the symbol of perfection.
+
Despite the benefits of solar cooking, it is understandable that some cultures would be slow to adopt it. A study comparing several solar cooker projects in Ladakh, [[India]], examined this phenomenon and found that acceptance of solar cooking cooresponded with existing incorporation of modern tecnology and customs. Simply put, a culture that already had moderate exposure to the developed world was more likely to embrace solar cooking and communities that were more remote and less affected by developed countries were less likely to do so. The researchers found that if traditional ways are already changing in a culture, the suggestion to incorporate solar cooking may be met with a more positive response. In many places in the world, the choice to keep using traditional cooking methods is becoming increasingly less viable due to decreasing supply and rising prices of traditional
  +
fuels.
   
I have heard that in parts of [[Nepal]], people were reluctant to use solar cookers because they believed the god of the household hearth was an important spirit who would be offended if meals were not cooked on a fire on the hearth.
+
During a solar cooker project in Central America, promoters introduced wooden box cookers to a group of women. Initially, the women did not like them because the cookers sat on the ground and women had to sit, bend over, or crouch to use them. In response, the promoters started building the box cookers with legs, so that the oven would be at or near waist height, mimicing the experience of using a traditional oven. Acceptance improved greatly, reinforcing the importance of listening to the local people about their needs and preferences. However, in many cultures tables and even chairs are not used or missed.
   
I heard of solar cooking demonstrations in [[Haiti]] in which the people grew fearful when the food started to cook. They thought black magic must be involved, so they ran away. I’ve heard similar cases in Africa where cooking food without fire was perceived as the work of the devil. In the United States, the influential solar cooking leader [[Barbara Kerr]] was visited by an engineering professional. The engineer spent much of the day trying to make his point that a cardboard solar box cooker could not possibly cook food. He continued his argument while his lunch was cooking in a box at his feet, and still maintained that the box could not cook even after he ate the hot, delicious lunch Barbara fed him.
+
==Economics, culture, and cookers==
  +
In a previous project in western [[Kenya]], [[Solar Cookers International]] sold low-cost cookers at subsidized prices to low-income rural women. SCI had been told that the women in that culture do not believe in going into debt so they refused to buy the cookers on credit. This proved to be a challange as many of the women could not afford to pay the full cost as a single payment. To overcome this barrier, the women paid small installments until they paid the full price at which time they took delivery of the cooker. From a western financial perspective, accepting the cooker after the first payment would make more sense as the women could pay the rest of the installments using the money they saved by not needing to purchase firewood anymore. The reluctance to go into debt of any kind makes the purchase of cookers more difficult, which slows down the dissemination process.
   
In all three of the above cases, the fact of solar cooking is outside the experience and belief systems of the people who doubted or feared it. In such cases, it is normal for people to develop an explanation that does lie within their belief system.
+
For people raised in industrialized-consumer cultures, one of the best advantages about solar cookers is that they can pay for themselves in a few months by reducing spending on wood, charcoal, or gas. The idea that an investment now will lead to recurring savings month after month in the future is one of solar cooking greatest benefits. However, in some cultures, ideas about investing and gaining small, but permanently recurring savings are not developed the way they are in the West. Cultures that have limited experience with modern economics are less likely to have the concepts of investing, savings, and return on investment be integral in their society.
   
Another example of belief systems and cookers could be demonstrated in the Jewish traditional laws (Hallacha) pertaining to the Sabbath. On this day, there are several restrictions such as not lighting a fire, using a fire only under strict restrictions, and not cooking on a fire (also with certain exemptions, like continued warming from Friday). In modern times these restrictions were extended to electricity. There are various ancient discussions written in the Jewish holy scriptures, about cooking or baking in the sun, including mentions of solar cooking in the Sinai Desert, during the exodus at biblical times. If taken at face value, these texts state that it is permitted to cook food in the sun on the Sabbath. There have been various debates in modern time about this, especially since in Israel, where the majority of population keeps to tradition, there are more than 80% of the housholds with solar water heating, in accordance with the local law. This was an additional reason for advocating the law of solar heating by the Jewish religious politicians.
+
Some solar cookers are so inexpensive that the cost of the awareness-building and teaching activities is far higher than the cost of the cookers needed to supply a community. But even in these cases, the cost of the cookers--or the supplies to make them--is a factor that challenges low-income organizations even as it challenges low-income individuals.
Under the same discussion, the subject of geo-thermal heating and cooking is brought up. Solar heating receives a positive attitude, while the geo-thermal heating recieves a negative one, comparing it to man made fire, and declaring it as undesired on the Sabbath.
 
   
It may be benefitial for the people of the three Monotheist religions, to be exposed to these ancient texts, promoting solar cooking as an extra spiritually clean and ancient traditional activity.
+
Many of the less expensive cooker types can be made at home or by semi-skilled craftspeople. But in many remote villages--and in many not-so-remote provincial capitals--key supplies such as aluminum foil or glass may be unavailable or prohibitively expensive.
   
==Culture supports solar cooking==
+
==New markets for solar cookers in developed countries==
   
Beliefs help spread solar cooking, too, in various ways. For example, people in Africa and elsewhere have commented that the sun’s power to cook food is more proof of the benevolence of deities.
+
Attention needs to be given to expanding the markets for solar cookers in developed countries. There is no reason to neglect this opportunity, both for direct gains to the environment in promoting use of renewable energy from the sun, and to meet demand from the increasing interest in solar cooking. Households in developed countries can generally afford to invest in solar cooking without the hesitation that might naturally occur in a household in a developing country with only scarce resources. The decision to try solar cooking is relatively a much smaller risk for an affluent family, as a negative outcome will not significantly affect prosperity of the household.
 
Sometimes the motivation is more immediate. I have read letters from African farmers who celebrate their ability to carry light weight solar cookers into their distant fields, so that the food cooks while the people work, and a hot meal can be had with no delay. I have read about women’s groups in eastern Africa that make extra money by using solar cooking to meet a strongly felt local cultural need—for birthday cakes. Baking cakes is virtually impossible on a 3 stone fire, but easy in a solar box cooker. There is a ready demand, so the solar cooker easily fits into its niche.
 
 
But, these and many other individual examples obscure more important attractions of solar cookers across cultures. I have read hundreds of letters from many countries from people who decry the coughing and pneumonia that are linked to indoor cooking smoke, people who desire the smoke free alternative of solar cooking. I have read many pleas from many countries describing the suffering, especially among children, who waste away from diseases carried in their drinking water, and who seek information on solar water pasteurization.
 
 
Full realization of the benefits--economic and health-related--occurs only after people solar cook successfully and regularly for several seasons. An elder in a Somali community that had been using solar cookers on a regular and widespread basis for several years told a neutral monitor of the project the following:
 
 
“Forest is rain, forest is fuel energy, forest is crop…livestock…money. Forest, in general, is livelihoods. By reducing their destruction and reclaiming them…most of us have just started witnessing how valuable these [solar cookers] are.”
 
 
The good news here for promoters trying to reach whole villages, towns or districts seems to be that if you do everything right for the first four years, it will start to get a lot easier.
 
 
==Cookers and changes==
 
   
I know that I am reluctant to make changes and try new technologies without a compelling reason—even though I grew up in a culture that worships change and newness. It does not surprise me that many people are slow to make the changes in habits needed to succeed with solar cooking.
+
As of 2013, homebuyers in the US increasingly value energy efficient features when shopping for a new home. They may be even interested in installing a fairly expensive photovoltaic array for generating their own electricity. The reason often given for doing this is "It is the right thing to do", or it will help out when the power grid system is interrupted by weather damage or supply issues. The US government has offered modest tax relief for home photovoltaic systems, and it has made the difference for many wanting to install a system. This group of consumers would seem to make good customers for solar cookers. Tax credits for energy efficient appliances should extend to solar cookers.
   
A study comparing several solar cooker projects in Ladakh, [[India]], looked at this issue. Their study indicated that acceptance of solar cooking was greater in communities that were more exposed to encroachments of the modern world. Communities that were more remote and less affected by modern changes were less likely to adopt solar cooking. Apparently, if traditional ways are intact, people are more likely to continue their traditional cooking mode. If tradition is already crumbling, it may be easier to get people to make voluntary changes in cooking habits when they have good reasons to do so.
+
Focus on design, beauty, luxury and convenience. Solar cooking can easily be re-imagined with these parameters in mind, and the resulting revised technologies, supported by modern consumer marketing methods, would likely win a much much greater market share. The perception must be that this is an appliance of value and desirability, which is often based on aesthetics. Consumers will be a blend of users happy to build their own modest cardboard cookers, and others will want the latest, best reviewed, and visually exciting high quality cooker. This later group may be tempted to stray from over-represented traditional market of slick stainless backyard barbecues.
   
In many places in the world, traditional cooking methods are harder to maintain because of spreading shortages and rising prices of traditional fuels. These shortages may drive people to embrace alternatives like solar cooking.
+
Solar cookers designed for the North American and European markets will need to better accommodate lower sun angles as well. A number of the current available cookers were designed for the overhead sun conditions closer to the equator.
   
==Economics, culture and cookers==
+
Unbiased uniform information on the performance aspects of solar cookers also needs to be established. It is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers and project organizers to evaluate the differences in performance, quality, and ease-of-use of solar cookers, as more products are being introduced to the world market all the time. It is unclear how this might happen on a global level at this point.
   
In our project in western Kenya, we sell very low-cost cookers at slightly subsidized prices to low-income rural women. We have been told that the women in that culture do not believe in going into debt. Therefore, they refuse to buy the cookers on credit. Instead, they pay small installments until they have paid the full price and then accept the cooker. From a western perspective, the women would seem to be better off if they would accept the cooker after the first payment. Then they could pay the rest of the installments by using the money the cooker saved them on firewood expenses. The reluctance to go into debt of any kind makes the purchase of cookers more difficult, slowing down the dissemination process.
+
As [[Barbara Knudson]] concluded in her definitive paper, [[Media:sam.pdf|State of the Art of Solar Cooking]] written in 2004, "Participation of market forces is needed, as partner to the many voluntary organizations and individuals who are currently seeking ways to spread solar cooking more widely around the globe and at a faster pace." The cultures of developed countries will spread, and there will be a somewhat of a coming together at the middle with less developed nations. Hopefully this will help create new untapped markets.
   
One can easily imagine problems arising from an opposite attitude. If it fit the culture to make a down payment, take a cooker, and then postpone making the rest of the payments, solar cooking promoters would face serious problems.
+
==Audio and video==
  +
*'''July 2014'''
  +
::[[File:Bauer- Evaluation of usage and fuel savings of solar ovens in Nicaragua|thumb|none|400px]]
   
For people raised in industrialized-consumer cultures, one of the best points about solar cookers is that they can pay for themselves in a few months by reducing spending on wood, charcoal or gas. The idea that an investment now will lead to recurring savings month after month in the future seems to make solar cooking obviously beneficial. However, in some cultures, ideas about investing and gaining small but permanently recurring savings are not developed the way they are in the West. Cultures that have little experience with money in general are not likely to have developed sophisticated traditions of thinking about “investing” “savings” and “return on investment.”
+
*'''July 2014'''
  +
::[[File:McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers|thumb|none|400 px]]
   
Still it is hard to find the city people who adopt solar cooking as a major activity. In order for solar cooking to become adopted and widespread in western cities culture, the "packaging" of the solar cookers needs to look more "standard" and have a strong appeal. It is yet to be seen what new types of products will be developed enabling solar cooking in city homes, and in city kitchens in particular.
+
*'''July 2014'''
  +
::[[File:Kuyper Solar cooking, women’s empowerment, and food and nutrition security|thumb|none|400 px]]
   
One last item. A solar cooker project in Central America worked with wooden cookers of the box type. Women didn’t like them, because the cookers sat on the ground and women had to sit, stoop or crouch to put food in and out. In response, the promoters started building the box cookers with legs, so that the oven would be near waist height like the ovens the women were used to. Acceptance improved greatly. Again, listening to local people about their needs and preferences is vital.
+
*'''July 2014'''
  +
::[[File:Otte Relevant factors for the successful adoption of institutional solar cookers|none|400px]]
   
When one thinks about the variability of human cultures, one will easily conclude that someone sitting at a desk in California probably has some cultural blind spots. Others who read this article may wish to add their insights. If you have a contribution to make, please send me an email at ramon@solarcookers.org I hope to update this article in 3 to 6 months with additional comments from others.
+
*'''May 2013'''
  +
::[[File:What I learned from cooking with the sun Pia Otte at TEDxTrondheimSalon-0|none|400px]]
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Obstacles to solar cooking]]
+
*[[Hard-won lessons]]
 
*[[Promoting solar cooking]]
 
*[[Promoting solar cooking]]
  +
*[[What can one person or a small group do to promote solar cooking?]]
   
 
==Selected articles==
 
==Selected articles==
  +
*'''August 2014:''' [http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/8/8228/htm Factors Influencing Household Uptake of Improved Solid Fuel Stoves in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Qualitative Systematic Review] - ''International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health''. SCI newsletter editor, [[Patricia McArdle]] has responded with several observations and questions in the [http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Factors-Influencing-Household-Uptake-Improved-6628820%2ES%2E5907541920653025281?view=&item=5907541920653025281&type=member&gid=6628820&trk=eml-b2_anet_digest-hero-1-hero-disc-disc-0&midToken=AQGBz9FnZTZ2RA&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=3ypAILyYXxK6o1 Discussion Section].
  +
*'''June 2014:''' [[Media:A_new_turn_toward_solar_cooking.pdf| A (new) cultural turn toward solar cooking—Evidence from six case studies across India and Burkina Faso]] - ''[[Pia Otte]]''
  +
*'''October2013: '''[http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/pdf/outputs/SystematicReviews/Household_technologies_2013_Puzzolo_report.pdf Factors influencing the large-scale uptake by households of cleaner and more efficient household energy technologies] - ''Elisa Puzzolo, Debbi Stanistreet, Daniel Pope, Nigel Bruce, Eva Rehfuess''
  +
*'''November 2012:''' [[Media:An_Analysis_of_Solar_Cooker_Usage,_Bashir_Ahmad,_11-12.pdf|An Analysis of Solar Cooker Usage - ''Bashir Ahmad'']]
 
*'''May 2012:''' [[Media:Identifying_the_Barriers_to_the_Deployment_of_Solar_Cookers_in_the_Energy-Poor_Households_of_Sub-Saharan_Africa.pdf|Identifying the barriers to the deployment of solar cookers in the energy-poor households of sub-Saharan Africa]] - ''Sarah Cochetel''
 
*'''May 2012:''' [[Media:Identifying_the_Barriers_to_the_Deployment_of_Solar_Cookers_in_the_Energy-Poor_Households_of_Sub-Saharan_Africa.pdf|Identifying the barriers to the deployment of solar cookers in the energy-poor households of sub-Saharan Africa]] - ''Sarah Cochetel''
*'''December 2011:''' [[Media:Solar_In_Asia_Curtis_2012.pdf|Some Big Solar Cooking Project in Asia]] - ''[[Dar Curtis]], [[Solar Household Energy]]''
 
 
*'''October 2009:''' [http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/22678/WP_89,_Slaski_Thurber,_Tech_adoption_framework_for_poor,_16Oct09.pdf Cookstove and Obstacles to Technology Adoption by the Poor] - ''Xander Slaski and Mark Thurber''
 
*'''October 2009:''' [http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/22678/WP_89,_Slaski_Thurber,_Tech_adoption_framework_for_poor,_16Oct09.pdf Cookstove and Obstacles to Technology Adoption by the Poor] - ''Xander Slaski and Mark Thurber''
 
*'''August 2010:''' [[Media:Solar_cooker_acceptance_-_Dar_Curtis_-_June_2010.pdf|New research reconfirms acceptance of solar cooking]] - ''Solar Household Energy''
 
*'''August 2010:''' [[Media:Solar_cooker_acceptance_-_Dar_Curtis_-_June_2010.pdf|New research reconfirms acceptance of solar cooking]] - ''Solar Household Energy''
  +
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_agnes_klingshirn.pdf|Chances and Limitations of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Agnes Klingshirn]]''
 
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_Mahnaz_Saremi.pdf|Integration of Local Culture and Perception in Marketing of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Mahnaz Saremi]]''
 
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_Mahnaz_Saremi.pdf|Integration of Local Culture and Perception in Marketing of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Mahnaz Saremi]]''
  +
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_mamata_dutta.pdf|Dissemination of Solar Cooker Information]] - ''[[Mamata Dutta]]''
  +
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_Paul_Kramer.pdf|Why are Solar Cookers Still Unpopular Among Development Experts?]] - ''[[Paul Krämer]]''
  +
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_Sathyavathi_Muthu.pdf|Integrated Approach for Promoting Solar Cookers in Rural Areas of Tamil Nadu]] - ''Dr. [[Sathyavathi Muthu]] and Ms. [[G. Anuradha]]''
 
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_heike_hoedt1.pdf|An Example of an Informal Strategy for Dissemination of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Heike Hoedt]]''
 
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_heike_hoedt1.pdf|An Example of an Informal Strategy for Dissemination of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Heike Hoedt]]''
 
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_pascale_dennery.pdf|Destination New Partnership - A Map For Accelarated Spread of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Pascale Dennery]]''
 
*'''July 2006:''' [[Media:Granada06_pascale_dennery.pdf|Destination New Partnership - A Map For Accelarated Spread of Solar Cookers]] - ''[[Pascale Dennery]]''
  +
*[[Enhancing the acceptance of solar cooking in India]]
 
*[http://perso.orange.fr/synopsis/gtz.pdf Moving ahead with solar cookers] by GTZ. This is an interesting article in general, but pages 11 and 12 are most closely related to culture issues
 
*[http://perso.orange.fr/synopsis/gtz.pdf Moving ahead with solar cookers] by GTZ. This is an interesting article in general, but pages 11 and 12 are most closely related to culture issues
*[http://solarcooking.org/ladakh1.htm Solar Box Cookers in Ladakh] is based on an interview with a solar cooker promoter active in Ladakh in the 1980s and includes some comments on culture.
+
*[http://solarcooking.org/ladakh1.htm Solar Box Cookers in Ladakh] - An interview with a solar cooker promoter active in Ladakh in the 1980s and includes some comments on culture.
*[http://solarcooking.org/sbcdes2.htm#cultural Here is a short section on cultural factors] that is part of a larger article by [[Marc Aalfs]] about adapting solar box cooker designs.
+
*[http://solarcooking.org/sbcdes2.htm#cultural A short section on cultural factors] - A part of a larger article by [[Marc Aalfs]] about adapting solar box cooker designs.
*[http://www.solarcooking.org/zimb-the.htm Solar Box Cookers in Zimbabwe] by [[Patrice Rodgers]] is an in-depth examination of one solar cooking introduction project, with insights on cultural issues interwoven with economic and technical issues.
+
*[http://www.solarcooking.org/zimb-the.htm Solar Box Cookers in Zimbabwe] by [[Patrice Rodgers]] - An in-depth examination of one solar cooking introduction project, with insights on cultural issues interwoven with economic and technical issues.
*[http://www.solarcooking.org/research/specialchallenges4solarcooking.pdf The special challenges of solar cooking] by [[Charles Onyango-Oloo]] is short and discusses a variety of issues from a [[Kenya]]n point of view, including to some extent the culture and attitudes of solar cooking promoters.
+
*[http://www.solarcooking.org/research/specialchallenges4solarcooking.pdf The special challenges of solar cooking] by [[Charles Onyango-Oloo]] - A article discussing a variety of issues from a [[Kenya]]n point of view, including to some extent the culture and attitudes of solar cooking promoters.
*[http://solarcooking.org/Crisis.htm The Fuel Wood Crisis in Burkina Faso]--Solar Cookers As An Alternative” by [[Paul Krämer]] is a long study which includes comments on [[Burkina Faso |Burkinabe culture]] related to solar cooking.
+
*[http://solarcooking.org/Crisis.htm The Fuel Wood Crisis in Burkina Faso: Solar Cookers As An Alternative] by [[Paul Krämer]] - A study which includes comments on [[Burkina Faso |Burkinabe culture]] related to solar cooking.
*[http://solarcooking.org/research/KeyanSolarOvenMarket.pdf A Market-Based Strategy for Introducing Passive Solar Ovens in Kenya] is a marketing study performed by graduate students from the Michigan School of Business. Among many considerations discussed, some cultural factors are included.
+
*[http://solarcooking.org/research/KeyanSolarOvenMarket.pdf A Market-Based Strategy for Introducing Passive Solar Ovens in Kenya] - A marketing study performed by graduate students from the Michigan School of Business. Among many considerations discussed, some cultural factors are included.
*[http://solarcooking.org/safrica1.htm Solar Cookers and Social Classes in Southern Africa] by [[William Noble Grundy]] reports culture-related observations of an individual.
+
*[http://noble.gs.washington.edu/~wnoble/safrica1.htm Solar Cookers and Social Classes in Southern Africa] by [[William Noble Grundy]] - Reports culture-related observations of an individual.
*[http://solarcooking.org/social-acceptance-rsa.htm Social Acceptance of Solar Stoves in South Africa] reviews results of a comparative test of solar cookers and includes comments on culture.
+
*[http://solarcooking.org/social-acceptance-rsa.htm Social Acceptance of Solar Stoves in South Africa] - Reviews results of a comparative test of solar cookers and includes comments on culture.
  +
*[[:Category:Foods|Guidelines for specific foods]] (rice, ''ugali'', ''injera'', etc.)
  +
*[http://solarcooking.org/research/specialchallenges4solarcooking.pdf The Special Challenges of Solar Cooking] by [[Charles Onyango-Oloo]] - A review of the technological, cognitive, and institutional challages facing solar cooking.
  +
*[http://solarcooking.org/story1.htm A Story Illustrating the Application of Solar Cooker Design Principles in a Field Project] by Mark Aalfs - A short story about the introduction of solar cooking to a small town in Central America.
  +
*[http://she-inc.org/cooking-2.php State of the Art of Solar Cooking: A Global Survey of Practices & Promotion Programs] - by Barbara Knudson - An extensive article on the history of solar cooking.
  +
*[http://solarcooking.org/Ligt-report1.htm Solar Cooking Dissemination Approaches and Experiences in Nepal, Mongolia, and Peru] - by ''[[Allart Ligtenberg]] - ''An overview of introduding solar cooking to three countries with experiences, observations, conclusions, and advice.
  +
* [[Media:Donaldson-Wary-of-design_for_DCs-1.pdf|Why to be Wary of "Design for Developing Countries"]] - ''Krista Donaldson''
 
[[Category:Solar cooking promotion]]
 
[[Category:Solar cooking promotion]]

Latest revision as of 01:41, November 14, 2014

We invite you to take a short survey to help us improve this website.
Last updated: November 13, 2014      

Here is a sampling of perspectives that may be of interest to solar cooking promoters and could serve as a reminder to seek local partners when possible. 

A good information source is Solar Cookers International’s own manual: Field Guide: Spreading Solar Cooking. These items on the manual’s assessment check list can be affected by cultural variability:

  • Are there open, sunny spaces near homes, where a solar cooker and food can be safe from theft, tampering, or damage?
  • Is cooking already usually done outside?
  • When are primary meals served? Around noon and/or around sunset or soon after?
  • Do gender roles allow/encourage women to participate in community groups and decision-making in family financial matters?

Food preferences and customs vary by culture and promoters should consider whether high-heat frying consumes a significant portion of household fuel. In cultures where most foods are fried, parabolic cookers may be the most suitable, while in cultures where frying is less important, lower-cost box cookers and panel cookers may be the most practical and economical choice.

Here are a few other variables promoters should consider:

  • How many people do most women cook for in the community?
  • What size or style of cooker suits a particular family's needs?
  • What pots are used? Will they work for solar cooking and will they fit in the chosen cooker(s)?
  • What time of day do women buy the day’s food?
  • Is there enough time after purchasing the food to solar cook it?
  • Will they have time to solar cook both lunch and dinner?

Knowing local food customs can help promoters find niches where solar cookers can have dramatic pay-offs. For example, in Hausa communities in West Africa, there are often a significant number of people involved in small businesses that roast chickens. These chicken roasters could be a great market for solar box cookers.

Gender, culture and cookersEdit

McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers09:28

McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers

Kuyper Solar cooking, women’s empowerment, and food and nutrition security10:02

Kuyper Solar cooking, women’s empowerment, and food and nutrition security

When introducing solar cooking to a culture, it is critically important to be sensitive to the disparity in decision-making power between men and women. In many cultures, women often do most of the cooking, while men make the financial decisions for the family. As a result of their separation from the cooking, men may be reluctant to spend money to improve the conditions of their cooking facilities.

Just because solar cooking is introduced to a culture does not necessarily mean it will be immediately accepted and adopted. Cases have been reported where women fear to try a new cooking method because they worry their husbands will beat them if meals do not taste the way the men are used to. A study from Central America by Dr. Dulce Cruz discussed a project in which women organized into groups to build and learn to use solar cookers. Some men in the community were threatened by the fact that their wives were getting out of the house, meeting with other women, and learning new skills—and they beat their wives to discourage them.

There have been reports in Africa of opposition to solar cookers because men were afraid that the cookers would provide women time to be idle. In those families that rely on gathered firewood instead of purchased wood or charcoal, women and girls usually do most of the fuel collecting. Under some economic analyses, the time spent gathering the wood would be considered a “cost” of cooking. However, in many places, time spent by women and girls doing work is not assigned a recognized value. Therefore, “saving” their time through solar cooking does not have a recognized value. In many cases, it is not exclusively a gender issue. Work that does not bring cash income may be less valued than work that does produce tangible economic gains.

Another reported reason for rejecting solar cookers is that an indoor cooking fire is effective at reducing the number of insects that live in the roof of the family dwelling. It has been reported that in some places, women have taken to working together in hot, smoky kitchens with a cooking fire because the heat and smoke keep the men away and allow the women a space of their own. For others, the cleanliness, lack of smoke, and image of modern living brought on by using a solar cooker are reasons that are attractive to women in the developing world, even as others cling to the old and traditional ways.

On the other hand, there have been instances of male acceptance of solar cooking where men praise their wives’ move to solar cooking because of the lack of smoke and soot. Some men have said that with solar cooking, their wives do not smell like smoke, look better (no red eyes from smoke and soot), feel better (reduced coughing), and have more time for the family.

In fact, in some projects, especially in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, a surprising cultural change was noticed: men began cooking their own meals, citing that solar cooking was a clean and modern alternative to traditional cook stoves. This change in sentiment may have also been partly due to the fact that the circumstances which led people to become refugees also disrupted families, leaving some men with no female relatives available to cook for them. By removing the least desirable aspects of cooking: reduced heat, polution, and reliance on finite fuel sources, solar cookers can lead men and women to share cooking chores more equally, acting as a catalyst of enormous cultural change.

Belief systems and cookersEdit

  1. Anecdotal evidence exists that some cultures reject square solar box cookers because they believe that circular shapes are the symbol of perfection.
  2. In parts of Nepal, people were reluctant to use solar cookers because they believed the god of the household hearth was an important spirit who would be offended if meals were not cooked on a fire on the hearth.
  3. There has been some reluctance to accept using solar cookers in Madagascar, as solar cooking is not the tradition, and hence, not sanctified by the Ancients. A new program is planned to invite an Ancient to participate, and to have a sorcerier to sanctify the proceedings.
  4. It has been reported that during solar cooking demonstrations in Haiti, people grew fearful when the food started to cook, convinced that black magic must have bee involved. There are similar cases in parts of Africa where cooking food without fire is perceived as the work of the devil.
  5. In the United States, the influential solar cooking leader Barbara Kerr was visited by an engineering professional who spent much of the day trying to make his point that a cardboard solar box cooker could not possibly cook food. He continued his argument while his lunch was cooking in a box cooker at his feet, and maintained that the cooker could not work even after he had eaten the solar cooked food.

In all four of the above cases, solar cookers were outside the experience and belief systems of the people being introduced to it. In such cases, it is normal and understandable for people to attempt to explain solar cooking in such a way that fits with their understanding of the science. 

There are certain cases where solar cooking can fit well with established belief systems. For example, in the Jewish traditional laws (Hallacha) pertaining to the Sabbath, there are several restrictions such as not lighting a fire, using a fire only under strict restrictions, and not cooking on a fire (with certain exemptions, like continued warming from the previous day) and in modern times these restrictions were extended to electricity. Solar cooking offers a viable alternative to a traditional cooking fire that complies with the Hallacha laws. 80% of Israeli housholds already use solar water heating, in accordance with the local law, so there is precident in the Jewish community for harnessing the sun in functional ways. There are even some ancient discussions written in the Jewish holy scriptures that discuss cooking or baking in the sun, including mentions of solar cooking in the Sinai Desert, during the exodus at biblical times. If taken at face value, these texts state that it is permitted to cook food in the sun on the Sabbath. There is debate surrounding modern interpretations on these texts, especially in Israel where the majority of population keeps to tradition.

Geo-thermal heating and cooking have also been discussed in the Jewish community for use on the Sabbath. While solar heating has received a generally postive repsonse, geo-thermal heating has recieved a negative one, comparing it to man made fire, and declaring it as undesired on the Sabbath. 

When religion must be considered when introducing solar cooking, highlighting its historical uses in the given culture may aid in its acceptance.

Culture supports solar cookingEdit

The religious view of solar cooking is not the only motivator for its acceptance in certain cultures though. For many, its practical benefits and advantages are reason enough to adopt solar cooking. For example, some African farmers celebrate their ability to carry lightweight solar cookers into their distant fields, providing them with the capability to cook food while they work and giving them a hot meal with little extra effort. In East Africa, women's groups make extra money by using solar cooking to meet a important, but niche, cultural aspect that many in Western countries take for granted—baking birthday cakes. Baking cakes is virtually impossible on a three-stone fire, but is relatively simple in a solar box cooker.

While it is wonderful that solar cookers can provide convenient lunches and celebratory desserts, the most important benefit of solar cooking lies in its ablility to offer a smoke free alternative to indoor cook stoves. Solar Cookers International has received hundreds of letters from people around the world who decry the coughing and pneumonia that are linked to indoor cooking smoke. When indoor stoves that rely on finite fuel are the only source of cooking power in a culture, it is often reserved for cooking food and other needs, like water purification, are left ignored. SCI has received many pleas from people in developing countries who describe the suffering, especially among children, from diseases carried in their drinking water and who seek information on water pasteurization.

Full realization of solar cooking's benefits--economic and health-related--only occurs if people successfully incorporate solar cooking into their lives on a long-term basis. An elder in a Somali community who had been using solar cookers on a regular and widespread basis for several years told a neutral monitor of the project the following:

“Forest is rain, forest is fuel energy, forest is crop…livestock…money. Forest, in general, is livelihoods. By reducing their destruction and reclaiming them…most of us have just started witnessing how valuable these solar cookers are.”

Cookers and changesEdit

Despite the benefits of solar cooking, it is understandable that some cultures would be slow to adopt it. A study comparing several solar cooker projects in Ladakh, India, examined this phenomenon and found that acceptance of solar cooking cooresponded with existing incorporation of modern tecnology and customs. Simply put, a culture that already had moderate exposure to the developed world was more likely to embrace solar cooking and communities that were more remote and less affected by developed countries were less likely to do so. The researchers found that if traditional ways are already changing in a culture, the suggestion to incorporate solar cooking may be met with a more positive response. In many places in the world, the choice to keep using traditional cooking methods is becoming increasingly less viable due to decreasing supply and rising prices of traditional fuels.

During a solar cooker project in Central America, promoters introduced wooden box cookers to a group of women. Initially, the women did not like them because the cookers sat on the ground and women had to sit, bend over, or crouch to use them. In response, the promoters started building the box cookers with legs, so that the oven would be at or near waist height, mimicing the experience of using a traditional oven. Acceptance improved greatly, reinforcing the importance of listening to the local people about their needs and preferences. However, in many cultures tables and even chairs are not used or missed.

Economics, culture, and cookersEdit

In a previous project in western Kenya, Solar Cookers International sold low-cost cookers at subsidized prices to low-income rural women. SCI had been told that the women in that culture do not believe in going into debt so they refused to buy the cookers on credit. This proved to be a challange as many of the women could not afford to pay the full cost as a single payment. To overcome this barrier, the women paid small installments until they paid the full price at which time they took delivery of the cooker. From a western financial perspective, accepting the cooker after the first payment would make more sense as the women could pay the rest of the installments using the money they saved by not needing to purchase firewood anymore. The reluctance to go into debt of any kind makes the purchase of cookers more difficult, which slows down the dissemination process.

For people raised in industrialized-consumer cultures, one of the best advantages about solar cookers is that they can pay for themselves in a few months by reducing spending on wood, charcoal, or gas. The idea that an investment now will lead to recurring savings month after month in the future is one of solar cooking greatest benefits. However, in some cultures, ideas about investing and gaining small, but permanently recurring savings are not developed the way they are in the West. Cultures that have limited experience with modern economics are less likely to have the concepts of investing, savings, and return on investment be integral in their society.

Some solar cookers are so inexpensive that the cost of the awareness-building and teaching activities is far higher than the cost of the cookers needed to supply a community. But even in these cases, the cost of the cookers--or the supplies to make them--is a factor that challenges low-income organizations even as it challenges low-income individuals.

Many of the less expensive cooker types can be made at home or by semi-skilled craftspeople. But in many remote villages--and in many not-so-remote provincial capitals--key supplies such as aluminum foil or glass may be unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

New markets for solar cookers in developed countriesEdit

Attention needs to be given to expanding the markets for solar cookers in developed countries. There is no reason to neglect this opportunity, both for direct gains to the environment in promoting use of renewable energy from the sun, and to meet demand from the increasing interest in solar cooking. Households in developed countries can generally afford to invest in solar cooking without the hesitation that might naturally occur in a household in a developing country with only scarce resources. The decision to try solar cooking is relatively a much smaller risk for an affluent family, as a negative outcome will not significantly affect prosperity of the household.

As of 2013, homebuyers in the US increasingly value energy efficient features when shopping for a new home. They may be even interested in installing a fairly expensive photovoltaic array for generating their own electricity. The reason often given for doing this is "It is the right thing to do", or it will help out when the power grid system is interrupted by weather damage or supply issues. The US government has offered modest tax relief for home photovoltaic systems, and it has made the difference for many wanting to install a system. This group of consumers would seem to make good customers for solar cookers. Tax credits for energy efficient appliances should extend to solar cookers.

Focus on design, beauty, luxury and convenience. Solar cooking can easily be re-imagined with these parameters in mind, and the resulting revised technologies, supported by modern consumer marketing methods, would likely win a much much greater market share. The perception must be that this is an appliance of value and desirability, which is often based on aesthetics. Consumers will be a blend of users happy to build their own modest cardboard cookers, and others will want the latest, best reviewed, and visually exciting high quality cooker. This later group may be tempted to stray from over-represented traditional market of slick stainless backyard barbecues.

Solar cookers designed for the North American and European markets will need to better accommodate lower sun angles as well. A number of the current available cookers were designed for the overhead sun conditions closer to the equator.

Unbiased uniform information on the performance aspects of solar cookers also needs to be established. It is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers and project organizers to evaluate the differences in performance, quality, and ease-of-use of solar cookers, as more products are being introduced to the world market all the time. It is unclear how this might happen on a global level at this point.

As Barbara Knudson concluded in her definitive paper, State of the Art of Solar Cooking written in 2004, "Participation of market forces is needed, as partner to the many voluntary organizations and individuals who are currently seeking ways to spread solar cooking more widely around the globe and at a faster pace." The cultures of developed countries will spread, and there will be a somewhat of a coming together at the middle with less developed nations. Hopefully this will help create new untapped markets.

Audio and videoEdit

  • July 2014
Bauer- Evaluation of usage and fuel savings of solar ovens in Nicaragua10:30

Bauer- Evaluation of usage and fuel savings of solar ovens in Nicaragua

  • July 2014
McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers09:28

McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers

  • July 2014
Kuyper Solar cooking, women’s empowerment, and food and nutrition security10:02

Kuyper Solar cooking, women’s empowerment, and food and nutrition security

  • July 2014
Otte Relevant factors for the successful adoption of institutional solar cookers06:49

Otte Relevant factors for the successful adoption of institutional solar cookers

  • May 2013
What I learned from cooking with the sun Pia Otte at TEDxTrondheimSalon-017:03

What I learned from cooking with the sun Pia Otte at TEDxTrondheimSalon-0

See alsoEdit

Selected articlesEdit

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki