Solar Cooker Projects
Lift Up Africa (LUA) has been very lucky to work with several communities and organizations on solar cooking. Each project had its own challenges and success stories but they all made a sustainable difference in the lives of many communities.
Why is solar an important alternative cooking method? In many areas, women’s traditional roles include cooking,
gathering firewood and hauling water. Due to climate change and population growth, many areas in Africa exhibit continued depletion of biomass resources from burning wood for cooking or making charcoal to supply the cities, and many areas are both depleted of plant cover and lack water resources. In these areas, women and girl children spend up to six hours a day hauling water or searching for wood for cooking—a search that is sometimes fraught with physical danger including rape and murder. And indoor air pollution from cooking in manyattas—traditional housing made of sticks bonded by cow dung that lack both windows and vents—causes many respiratory infections and diseases.
In SubSaharan Africa, indoor air pollution kills more people each year than malaria. In these areas, the sun is a viable alternative cooking method. It offers one solution to the many problems faced by women and girl children in particular. It is also a reliable, cheap method to pasteurize water to make it safe for drinking and cooking.
Ereter Womens Group
In conjunction with Solar Cookers International (EA), in 2007 LUA provided CooKits, a portable type of solar cooker, to 19 members of the Ereter Women’s Group. These are poor, mostly illiterate Maasai women who live in the arid, deforested Kajiado District of southern Kenya.
With the time and money they will save by using solar cookers – not to mention the health and environmental benefits – these women plan to work at craft-making and sales to enhance family incomes. At least 150 people benefited.
Solar Cooking For Kenyan Schools: Hamomi Children’s Centre. Two young men, one eleven and one seventeen, together provided $200 to help kids in Kenya. Thanks to their generosity, LUA was able to help the Hamomi Children’s Centre, a support group for the orphans of Nairobi’s Kangemi Slum, purchase solar cooking equipment for their critical feeding program.
This equipment will significantly reduce Hamomi’s expense for purchasing charcoal to support its feeding program. The equipment has been purchased and will be put to use once the feeding program, which had been temporarily suspended due to lack of funds, resumes. 100 children will benefit.
Loki Solar Ovens Project: Women’s Group and St John’s School (Lokichoggio)
Lokichoggio is a small, underdeveloped village in Northern Kenya near the boarder with Sudan. The environment is arid, hot, agriculturally non-productive, and bereft of trees. Living conditions are harsh and women and children spend up to 6 hours daily in search of wood for cooking or making charcoal.
Solar cooking is a viable alternative cooking method. Lift Up Africa’s support helped train 20 Turkana women how to make and use Cookits (a type of solar cooker) and Water Purification Indicators (WAPIs).
Lift Up Africa has also partnered with Solar Cookers International (EA) to provide Cookits (small portable solar cookers) to the Ereter Women’s Group whose 19 members are poor Maasai women living in the Kajiado District of Southern Kenya. Kajiado is a sparsely populated area depleted of plant cover and lacking water resources. In 2007, LUA funded the fabrication and installation of 3 commercial solar cookers for St. John’s.
New Massai Solar Cooking Projects
Solar Cookers International (EA), our partner organization, has been working with three women’s groups in Kenya’s Kajiado District to promote solar cooking as a means to help them save their meager resources for other pressing needs.
To date, many of these women have been able to purchase some equipment; however, this system is slow. An LUA grant will help these enterprising women purchase the solar cooking equipment they still need.
St. John’s Primary School (Loki Solar Cooking Projects)
Lift Up Africa partnered with Solar Cookers International (EA) to provide Cookits (small portable solar cookers) to the Ereter Women’s Group whose 19 members are poor Maasai women living in the Kajiado District of Southern Kenya. Kajiado is a sparsely populated area depleted of plant cover and lacking water resources.
Women and girls must walk for hours each day to search for firewood and water. Solar cooking offers a viable solution to many problems faced by families in Kajiado.
In 2007, LUA funded the fabrication and installation of 3 commercial solar cookers for St. John’s.
HEART Solar Cooking Partnership
Up Africa is a strong believer that partnering and sharing resources is a key to successful implementation and sustainability.
This project was designed to introduce solar cooking and related technologies to communities in the 10 Kenyan districts in which Africa Heart has established offices and community development programs.
The partnership relied on Africa HEART, a Kenyan-based NGO recently visited by Vice President Biden’s wife Dr. Jill Biden, to identify three community groups in each district, the 50 trainees in each community, and training venues. Africa Heart covered expenses and handling logistics related to transport for the solar cooking equipment, distribution venues, and follow up on usage and other needs.
Solar Cookers International (SCI-EA) provided the trainers and supplies, conducted the training and provided written reports. We, Lift Up Africa had the privilege of providing a grant to cover direct expenses related to equipment purchase and SCI-EA’s travel, partnership connections, and worked with Africa Heart on follow-up and project evaluation.
This project was a success and 150 families, approximately 1,200 people have benefited from their new training and solar cooking equipment.