Solar Cookers International Network (Home)


a glimmer of hope for all the world

2004 annual report
solar cookers international

this past year board members and staff of solar cookers international (sci) explored ways to accelerate the spread of solar cooking worldwide to address urgent cooking fuel scarcities now affecting one-sixth of humanity. after numerous brainstorming sessions, committee meetings and board discussions, sci developed a new strategic plan for the next six years (to 2010) that defines its role in this process, along with six major new initiatives.

sci's first priority will be the achievement of self-sustaining spread of solar cooking and solar water pasteurization, first in western kenya, then across kenya and beyond its borders to other sun-rich countries. to accomplish this, sci's dedicated eastern africa staff will create public awareness, promote local business ventures and other income-generating opportunities for women, and encourage governments to create fair energy policies that don't favor the use of fossil fuels over solar. sci will also work to engage educational institutions and health agencies to further hasten the spread.

another high priority will be the mobilization of solar cooking leaders worldwide to advocate together for greater public awareness and support of solar cooking. one-half billion people today live in sun-rich areas and need access to this simple, sustainable solution.

during the past year, sci not only created this exciting new strategic plan, but also completed many of the goals from its previous strategic plan.

highlights 2003-2004

eastern africa operations

sunny solutions community project
important accomplishments included the official "sunny solutions" project launch in nyakach, kenya with partner agency nyakach community development association (nyacoda). this followed an extensive baseline study, feedback from pilot families, and training of 15 new solar cooks to teach their neighbors and earn income by selling cookers. the sunny solutions project aims to spread solar cookers through local entrepreneurs. early results show that the low cost "cookit" solar cooker pays for itself in one to two months of fuel savings. solar water pasteurization is popular too.

kakuma evaluation
sci commissioned a major, independent evaluation of its project in kakuma refugee camp in northwestern kenya. this was eight years after beginning the project and two years after free cooker distribution ended and local trainers started selling cookers. during sci's eight-year presence, the camp population tripled in size and there was considerable refugee turnover. in the end, sci served about one-third of the camp's 86,000 residents. at the time of the study, over 20 percent of the refugee households reported using solar cookers half of them nearly every day � and about 90 percent of them were aware of solar cooking. refugee-defined solar cooking benefits included money savings, improved lifestyle, and increased safety for children (compared to dangerous cooking fires). in fact, households that solar cooked whenever possible could cut their monthly fuel expenditure in half. orphans, elderly, and the disabled especially benefited from solar cooking, as did over 25 refugees who earned income as trainers and helpers. sci helped to build a refugee owned and operated solar cooker cooperative (sococo) that continues to make solar cooking supplies available in the camp.


sci's volunteer united nations (un) representatives continued to lobby in new york and geneva for inclusion of solar cooking in un policies and programs, such as the commission on sustainable development. many other volunteers provided presentations, demonstrations, posters and handouts at numerous events and conferences such as sustainable resources 2003 in colorado, usa thereby raising awareness and bringing recent solar cooking advances to thousands of influential individuals.

education resources

new web site
sci launched a new, second web site at this site provides basic information about solar cooking and detailed information about sci as an organization, including its mission, programs, people and history. solar cookers, cookbooks, literature and supplies can now be ordered, and donations can be made, through a secure on-line server. visits to sci's original web site the highly successful solar cooking archive, maintained by volunteer tom sponheim since 1996 grew by over 400,000 this year to top one million total visits.

sci updated and expanded its most popular publication, how to make, use and enjoy solar cookers, with more detailed instructions and improved graphics. additionally, a field project guide and an operations manual were developed. in eastern africa, english- and dholuo-language cookit instructions were developed and distributed.

information exchange

last year, sci responded to over 1,000 inquiries from over 100 countries. information shared by sci helped these inquirers to make solar cooker know-how available to tens of thousands around the world. a sample comment: "thanks for a well thought-out response to my inquiry on solar cookers. i appreciate your insightful suggestions on how to pursue and get more knowledge on solar technology."

sci's us office produced two solar cooker review issues, each with a worldwide circulation over 11,000. sci's kenya office produced three sunews issues, with a regional circulation of over 3,000.

survey of independent promoters
sci surveyed several hundred solar cooking promoters from around the world many of whom have benefited from sci's expertise over the years to learn about their solar cooking activities, informational needs and use of educational resources. with their responses sci updated its international directory of solar cooking promoters (on the internet at approximately 350 surveys from nearly 100 countries have been submitted thus far. there have been direct, significant achievements because of the outstanding efforts of those surveyed:

  • 247,801 solar cookers have been produced
  • 4,045 solar cooking trainers have been trained

technical assistance

consultation services
volunteer barbara knudson conducted a baseline study for a solar water pasteurization project in tanzania. sci also provided on-site assistance to the following organizations:

  • rotary club of fresno and the aprovecho research center, for joint training in rwanda
  • trans world radio, for assessment of their projects in kenya
  • adventist development and relief agency, for training in somaliland

people who make it possible

tom sponheim was inducted into the sci order of excellence for his extensive volunteer work both as founder of solar box cookers northwest and it's excellent newsletter solar box journal, and as founder and webmaster since 1996 of sci's solar cooking archive web site (

faustine odaba was recognized for 10 years of service to sci as an outstanding solar cooking trainer in numerous african countries.

the legacy of doug augustine an early solar cooking promoter in tanzania, as well as a creative inventor and generous philanthropist continued with a most generous gift of stock from his wife, shirley augustine. this gift nearly doubled in value after we received it, providing over $35,000 for sci's work in eastern africa. sci is humbled and deeply grateful for this inspiring gift.

board of directors 2003-2004

david anderson
k.c. bishop, phd
beverlee bruce, phd
ann bennett
dick cochran
john collentine, jd
joyce hightower, md
gary hursh, jd
barbara knudson, phd
joseph mccabe, pe
robert metcalf, phd
virginie mitchem
christine nyanda-chacha, llb
millicent obaso
robert parkins, pe
judith ricci, scd
meredith richardson
carolyn a. ristau, phd
john roche
gabriele simbriger-williams
bruce stahlberg
jim uhl
elvira williams

advocates* 2003-2004

mark aalfs
dale andreatta
harry arnold
k. c. bishop
beverlee bruce
don coan
sherry cole
mark cotham
cheri & jeff douglas
mary frank
paul funk
christopher gronbeck
terry grumley
hal hammond
linda hayward
linda helm krapf
sonia heptonstall
patt & tupper hull
gary & gayle hursh
norge jerome
joyce jett-ali
barbara jodry
cristal johnson
barbara kerr
heidi kolbe
matt kuzins
al ligtenberg
mary makaus
dave martin
lorrie mccurdy
louise meyer
mimi miller
virginie mitchem
virginia moose
leslie parks
ed pejack
dave piper
penny redman
anne rudin
jean runyon
dave ruppe
shahrzad saderi
clark & eleanor shimeall
tom sponheim
claude thau
del & alta tura
elvira williams

* advocates actively support sci by serving on committees, cultivating major donors, advocating at the united nations and elsewhere, helping in the office, sharing expertise, and/or demonstrating at conferences and special events.


financial summary








other 3,510




africa programs


education resources


other programs 90,256

fund development









inventory & equipment






grants receivable 80,000







net assets 06/30/04



grants and foundation gifts $2,000 and above

  • good works institute
  • greenville foundation
  • richard and rhoda goldman fund
  • greater kansas city community foundation
  • jkw foundation
  • salisbury community foundation
  • dora freedman levit fund
  • compton foundation
  • sacramento area earth day network
  • grace jones richardson trust

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