Stephen Pearson has been visiting Ghana, West Africa for over 30 years and still goes there three times a year helping an NGO. During his April 2009 visit he helped train rural ladies in the production of CooKit solar panel cookers. They can now make these unassisted. His recent efforts include the formation of SUN-LIFE, an NGO working in the area to introduce and promote solar cooking.
Stephen Pearson reports: "We build CooKits in pieces use eleven small panels of cardboard. Shops even in rural areas have thin cardstock available as scrap. These can be laminated together using local cassava glue (cassava is grown all over Africa) to form stiff panels, thus avoiding the need to import thicker cardboard. Join the eleven panels together with 2" strips of worn out dress or shirt (using the cassava glue). Protect the perimeter of the 11 panels with more 2"strips (1" front and 1" back to stop delamination of the cardboard). Let each panel dry properly. Then turn it over and glue on the aluminum foil to the side that has no cloth hinge strips."
News and Recent Developments
- January 2014: Solar cooking works with solar lighting to help families save money - Stephen Pearson, founder of SUN-LIFE, has been helping residents of Ghana for many years save on cooking fuel expense by learning to use the CooKit solar cooker. His new goal is to help these families further reduce their kerosene usage by offering a low cost portable lamp to replace their fuel-burning lanterns. The new MiniSun12H lamp has an integrated photovoltaic panel to recharge the lamp during the day. The projected retail price for the lamp is $5 USD. His reasoning is; if a family can save on cooking fuel using the CooKit, then they will have enough money to be able to buy the new lamp. Using both approaches, the families should be able to save $50-100 USD on kerosene expense annually. Money is saved, and indoor air pollution is reduced. You can help him with this project by supporting his efforts at Indiegogo fund raising. You can learn more about the new lamp in this short video.
- May 2010: The SUN-LIFE sponsored Oven Festival was recently held in the Dangme East area of Ghana (80 miles east of Accra). Quite well attended, there were about sixty ovens on display, all locally made using the CooKit design. The oven components were salvaged and recycled from local materials. Only the aluminum foil, at a cost of $2/oven, needed to be purchased. The event was held in collaboration with the Community Directed Development Foundation, started by Professor Bosompem. Stephen Pearson was the only European present. Other guests included representatives from several government ministries. The festivities began with a procession of local "oven ladies" led by the local brass band. After introductions and speeches, there were competitions and prizes awarded for best oven, best recipes, best group, etc.