Improving women’s finances with
cleaner cooking technologies
Solar Cookers International (SCI) is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce indoor air pollution for women and their families in the community of Kadibo, Kenya. Daily exposure to smoky indoor cooking fire poses a serious health risk, and is the fourth-leading cause of premature death in the developing world. Cleaner cooking technologies — particularly pollution-free solar cookers, augmented with fuel-efficient wood or gas stoves — not only greatly reduce indoor air pollution, but also decrease cooking fuel expenses for families already struggling to get by. These technologies are being promoted and sold through a network of small businesses run by local women who are now able to help their families begin to break out of poverty. SCI has linked with other organizations to provide these women with Village Savings and Loan (VSL) programs that are helping them save their hard-earned income and secure small loans to help them become more productive in their business and other aspects of their lives.
Savings from reduced cooking fuel expenditures
SCI recently worked with several women in Kadibo to help them assess how much money they are saving due to reduced cooking fuel use from this project. Small tin “piggy banks” were purchased and the women were asked to insert money each time they would normally have purchased cooking fuel over a period of time. When the tins were finally opened, the women were amazed and commented that the piggy bank experiment was not at all the child’s play they had expected.
Esther Demba is a 48-year-old widow with five children. Solar cooking not only reduces her indoor air pollution, but also helps her have more time to work on her small farm and have a good harvest. “I must say that part of the success is due to time saved when cooking with the solar cooker, since I have been working hard on the farm I would find my food already cooked,” she says. “In addition, even when I was not on the farm, I was able to make sweaters for school children since I did not need to look for sticks to add to the fire and to watch over the food for it not to burn.”
Demba had previously cooked her meals over an inefficient three-stone fire that required three sticks of firewood. Now she uses a solar cooker and a fuel-efficient stove that requires less fuel. “I almost did not believe it when the Solar Cooker Representatives told us that we make savings by using different technologies to cook. When I was asked to have a piggy bank I did it with lots of doubt,” Demba said. “When the tin was opened, we counted the money, and as the figure moved to 60 [Kenyan] shillings, then 70 shillings and still on until the final count came to 125 shillings. I just screamed with joy! My neighbors too were impressed with the savings and I urged them to join the ‘train’ since apart from the savings, I am no longer a slave to smoke and ill health due to its effects.”
Jane Nyambok is 30-year-old wife and mother of one child. She purchased both a fuel-efficient stove and a solar cooker and is thrilled with the changes she has experienced because of the cleaner cooking technologies. “There is hardly any smoke in the house as before,” Nyambok states. “Due to the smoke my husband never stayed home for long. Now with the fuel-efficient stove [he] spends more time with me, since the house is not smoky.”
Nyambok wanted to prove to herself that the combination of cleaner cooking technologies being promoted by SCI would improve “health and wealth” as advertisements had claimed, so she saved in the piggy bank all the money she would have used to buy charcoal or firewood. “After three months, the tin was opened and all who were present could not believe it. It was poured out on the table and we began to count the coins into different denominations, and then finally added up everything and — what a surprise — I had been able to save 2,060 shillings! Everyone clapped; some had their hands in their mouths with faces of utter marvel!” Nyambok spent a couple of days pondering whether or not to spend the money, and on what. “I used the money to pay my child’s school fees which I have never done before,” she recalled. “I felt very important and valued as my husband approved of the expenditure too. I vowed to make it a habit, to buy my own piggy bank and continue to save for other needs even as I enjoy better health.”
Business income generation
Small businesses are at the core of SCI’s Kadibo project. Eight local women who trained as part of an earlier SCI pilot project in the area now serve as Solar Cooker Representatives (SCOREPs), promoting and selling solar cookers and fuel-efficient stoves. They are also responsible for identifying and training other women, called “installers,” to sell and set up the technologies. In all, 48 women are promoting and providing market access to these cleaner cooking technologies in Kadibo.
Through arrangements made by SCI, these entrepreneurial women can participate in a Village Savings and Loan program. This involves the purchase of shares, resulting in a pool of funds that are available for loans, paid back with interest, boosting the return on investment for the participants. The women have dramatically improved their finances, and have used the savings and loans to purchase a number of useful business and household goods.
Millicent Aduke joined the VSL with 300 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 20,000 shillings. She bought a ewe, and now has a lamb as well. She helped pay school fees for her children, and deposited 13,000 shillings in a traditional bank. She says she has never had control of such funds and she wants to continue with the VSL. Her husband is envious and asks if he too can join!
Leah Achieng joined the VSL with 500 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 20,500 shillings. She borrowed and repaid loans to help grow her business, assisted in paying school fees, and bought clothes for herself and her husband. Achieng’s husband is proud of her and talks about the VSL all the time.
Sellesa Kuogo joined the VSL with 500 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 5,500 shillings. She has a mentally challenged son so most of her money has been going to treatment and caring for two grandchildren abandoned by their mother.
Beatrice Awuor joined the VSL with 100 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 13,500 shillings. She purchased a ewe, various household items, and a suit for herself. She deposited 5,000 shillings in a traditional bank to save for school fees. Her husband is proud of her and now involves her in decisions surrounding family finances.
Margaret Odhiambo joined the VSL with 500 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 8,500 shillings. She paid school fees, bought a nanny goat that has since given birth to twins, and purchased clothes for her family.
Leonida Bodo joined the VSL with 500 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 20,500 shillings. She secured loans to help her chicken business grow. In addition to purchasing more chickens, Bodo acquired a generator to keep the chickens warm. She also treated herself to a new purse.
Maureen Omondi joined the VSL with 500 shillings and by the end of the year had saved 14,500 shillings. She used the money to obtain a ewe, a calf, and some clothes for the family. She is very happy and smiles as she states “Ndo ndo ndo hujaza ndo” — little by little the bucket fills up.These women will never be the same again. They are now more confident, they are proud owners of livestock, they have businesses and a bright future. They are more knowledgeable about indoor air pollution and well-versed in the various technologies that can reduce exposure to dangerous cooking smoke. They all agree they are healthier and happier.
by Bev Blum, SCWNet Secretariat
In September U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the new Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves that hopes to raise more than $250 million to help create “a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions” benefitting 100 million homes by 2020.
In describing the need for such alliance, Clinton noted, “People have cooked over open fires and dirty stoves for all of human history, but the simple fact is they are slowly killing millions of people and polluting the environment. … Today we can finally envision a future in which open fires and dirty stoves are replaced by clean, efficient and affordable stoves and fuels all over the world — stoves that still cost as little as $25. By upgrading these dirty stoves, millions of lives could be saved and improved. Clean stoves could be as transformative as bed nets or vaccines.”
Solar cookers are obviously clean cookstoves, but Alliance documents oddly omit any mention of them. Given that hundreds of millions of very poor people live where the sun provides free energy for cooking and water pasteurizing most months each year, where forests have been decimated, and where the burning of wood, dung and charcoal — even in fuel-efficient stoves — contributes to global warming and air pollution, this calls for network action.
In the coming months, individually and collectively, we must all send loud messages that members of the Solar Cookers World Network (SCWNet) have equally useful and even cleaner solutions as well as very relevant experience introducing new cooking technologies. Solar Cookers International (SCI) and Solar Household Energy (SHE) will coordinate a collective, strategic response and welcome members’ assistance.
As details are released by the Alliance over the coming months, please watch for SCWNet updates with collective action ideas and sample letters to distribute to supporters toward a large groundswell insisting that solar cookers be explicitly included in the Alliance toolbox. SCWNet seeks your ideas and news of your efforts in this regard. Please e-mail to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations to help this enormous challenge/opportunity and other SCWNet initiatives would be most welcome and can be submitted on-line.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation, governments of the USA, Germany, Norway and Peru, and also international development organizations, local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, and private companies such as Morgan Stanley and Shell.
In the four years since SCWNet was created at the international solar cookers conference in Granada, Spain, SCI has served as its Secretariat and has provided members with:
The SCWNet has quietly grown to include about one-half of the world’s experts and active promoters of solar cookers and solar food processors. In addition to the above task, our goal for 2011 is to recruit the other half to double SCWNet’s response capacity for opportunities like the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. If you are willing to share news of your solar cooker activities and haven’t yet joined, please do so by filling out a short form at solarcooking.org/scwnet. Thank you!
[Editor's note: E-mail your news items to email@example.com or via postal mail to Kevin Porter, Solar Cookers International, 1919 21st Street #101, Sacramento, California 95811-6827, USA. We want to hear from you — especially if your program is growing or if your work has not been featured in the Solar Cooker Review before. Please include your contact information. Submissions are subject to editing if printed.]
Periclean Scholars 2010, a group of recent graduates from North Carolina’s Elon University (USA), maintains a development partnership with the rural village of Kpoeta in eastern Ghana. During their undergraduate experience, the students studied international aid and development and learned about Ghana’s culture, history and political structure. In addition, they promoted and raised funds to build a health care center with their community partners in Kpoeta.
Group member Kristin Schulz writes that she became interested in solar cooking after conducting research for a class assignment. She believed that solar cookers would be quite useful to Ghanaians given that much of the country receives plenty of sunlight while struggling with deforestation and lack of firewood for cooking. Schulz pitched the idea to Dr. Brian Digre, an Elon professor and advisor for the institution’s study abroad program in Ghana, as well as an honorary Ghanaian chief. In conjunction with a Ghanaian university, technical school professors, and village chiefs, the pair developed a plan to introduce panel-style solar cookers in a few rural Ghanaian villages during Elon’s January 2010 study abroad course.
Schulz led pre-trip solar cooker trainings for the Elon students who would ultimately implement the project. The students raised funds to buy 16 kits from Solar Cookers International, each consisting of one cardboard solar CooKit, a black pot, a supply of clear, heat-resistant oven roasting bags to insulate the pot, a Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI), and instructional materials. After receiving training from the students, a handful of Ghanaian families received two kits each.
Solar cooking was well received in the villages. “The response from the community members in Ghana was very positive,” says Schulz. Digre believes the technology could be most useful in the dry, northern region of the country and in urban areas where access to firewood is most difficult.
Schulz maintains communication with local leaders to monitor the usefulness of the solar cookers. If demand for the technology increases, she says that Elon’s study abroad program will expand upon this initiative in coming years. One of the technical schools in Ghana is already considering local production of solar cookers, which would make the technology available to even more families.
Solar Health and Education Project (SHEP) has been teaching solar cooker skills to pastoralists in Kenya for many years. Among the beneficiaries of SHEPs programs are Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) that provide care during pregnancy and childbirth. According to SHEP representative Alison Curtis, these women often lack hot, sanitary water for deliveries. With just the power of the sun, simple solar cookers can provide hot water while also destroying disease-causing pathogens in a process known as pasteurization.
SHEP has assembled four TBA kits consisting of a solar CooKit, a black pot lid, a transparent heat-resistant plastic bag to insulate the pot, and a 30-centimeter length of thick green string. The kits are loaned out monthly, on a rotating basis, to four TBAs. A knot is tied in the green string for each birth that the kit was used for, providing data on how often the kits are used and how long they last. When the kits are returned at the end of the month a team leader documents the number of uses.
The initial TBA workshop took place in Wamba, Kenya in May 2009. A second workshop this summer attracted twice as many women.
Contact: Alison Curtis, Solar Health and Education Project, Schadaulistrasse 1, Lenk 3775, Switzerland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to its work in Kenya (see Kenya entry, above), the Solar Health and Education Project (SHEP) has also focused on improving lives for Zambia’s orphans and urban poor. Its first solar cooking and water pasteurization workshop for women in Livingstone, Zambia took place in 2007. The participants were uneducated, and had been attending classes at a nursery school along with their children. The women enthusiastically embraced the idea of using free solar energy to cook food and provide safe drinking water.
Ten of the women have now taken on leadership roles, forming a “solar team” that makes solar CooKits from cardboard and used reflective food wrappers collected by children, and promotes solar cooker use at numerous public and private events, schools, and health clinics. The women earn a small stipend from SHEP of around $2 for each demonstration or workshop, with the funds being administered by the nursery school headmaster.
SHEP’s Alison Curtis recently visited Livingstone and witnessed an awareness-raising skit performed by the solar team. “The skit was about a woman who solar cooked and had many visitors,” Curtis says. “A curious neighbor who wanted to taste the food; a charcoal producer who asked why the woman was not buying charcoal any more; a forestry official who was happy that all the trees were not being chopped and that there were more birds coming to the forest; an electric company meter reader who tried to say that the CooKit must be electric and that the meter was incorrect; and a group of orphans and grannies complaining that they need medicines for coughs and skin burns [caused by traditional cooking fires].” Curtis continues, “The woman with the CooKit told each of the visitors all about solar cookers and she let them taste the food. Then all the visitors bought homemade CooKits from the woman!”
Contact: Alison Curtis, Solar Health and Education Project, Schadaulistrasse 1, Lenk 3775, Switzerland. E-mail: email@example.com.
ASIA AND OCEANIA
Barbara Ford gave a presentation about solar cookers at the Woodford Folk Festival, located on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland about one hour north of Brisbane. The annual 6-day festival draws people from all over the world to experience nearly 600 events, including concerts, dance performances, craft fairs, films and debates.
According to solar advocate Trish Morrow, Ford’s first exposure to the power of solar cooking to transform people’s lives was while she was medical coordinator for the Red Cross in the Sudan. With assistance from Morrow, Ford built her first solar cooker in 1994 and has since run workshops at Brisbane’s Northey Street City Farm, given talks at schools, and demonstrated solar cooking at environmental fairs.
Qingdao Bigstone Industrial Co., Ltd. manufactures multiple styles and sizes of parabolic solar cookers in its plant in Qingdao, China. Steven Wang reports that his company’s latest line of cookers, the BS-M series, is available for export at prices from $32-45 FOB Qingdao depending on model and quantity. The company exports solar cookers primarily to Africa, Asia and Latin America, and has a production capacity of 30,000 units per month.
The six panels that comprise an assembled BS-M series cooker are made of carbon steel lined with vacuum aluminum-coated film, and can be nested when disassembled for compact transport. With diameters of 1.5-1.8 meters, the parabolic reflectors provide significant cooking power that, according to Wang, can boil 4-5 kilograms of water in as little as 20 minutes.
In addition to the BS-M series of solar cookers, the company manufactures a butterfly-style solar cooker that is common in China and a parabolic solar cooker that automatically rotates to track the sun’s movement.
Contact: Steven Wang, Qingdao Bigstone Industrial Co., Ltd., 29 Haier Road, Qingdao, China. Tel: +86-532-80999412, mobile: +86-13853237039, fax: +86-532-80999413, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: http://cnbigstone.com.
Iseko Shrai of the Japan Solar Energy Education Association travelled to Sri Lanka last May to visit an organization helping survivors of the 2004 tsunami. While there, Shrai conducted solar cooking demonstrations in a number of villages using the Sunny Cooker, a portable parabolic solar cooker that folds up in a similar fashion to an umbrella. “They loved it so much,” says Shrai.
The experience prompted Shrai to explore simpler solar cookers to be used for disaster relief. She likes Solar Cookers International’s CooKit and is working to modify it somewhat for the Japanese market. In addition to relief agencies, Shrai hopes to market this “survival cooker” to school teachers and the general public. She plans to donate part of the proceeds to charities working with disaster relief.
This past May, Solar Serve (SLS) turned 10 years old — a milestone it officially celebrated in August. During its first decade, SLS conducted numerous solar cooker demonstrations throughout Vietnam and beyond. Events and projects over the past several months include: follow-up and expansion of SLS projects in Quang Tri province and the village of Hoa Quy; demonstrations for about 50 disadvantaged students and several staff members at a cooking school in Quang Tri province; exhibition at a renewable energy trade fair in Quy Nhon city; and participation in World Environment Day celebrations in Quang Tri province and Danang city, during which SLS held a drawing to give away 10 parabolic solar cookers — one for each year of its existence.
Through its charitable work, nearly 1,700 low-income families have received durable solar cookers designed by SLS and assembled by its team of deaf and disabled workers. The range of solar cookers includes wooden and metal box-type cookers as well as metal parabolics.
SLS has been honored multiple times for its work. Most recently, SLS Manager Nguyen Tan Bich and Supervisor Dr. Hoang Duong Hung, from the University of Danang, were honored with second prizes at Creative Technology and Science award ceremonies in both Hanoi and Danang. Several government leaders and high-ranking officials attended the ceremonies, which aired on national television.
SLS is looking to the future and preparing for its second decade. SLS has survived premature eviction from its factory in Tamky, the building and re-building of a solar cooker construction, training, and research center in Danang that was partially damaged by a typhoon, and most recently a third-story addition to the center. Its future plans include expansion of its charitable work with poor populations while increasing funding dramatically through domestic and foreign sales of an expanded line of renewable energy products to include solar water heaters, photovoltaic panels, and small windmills.
Contact: Nguyen Tan Bich, Solar Serve Center, Lo 24-26 B2.7, TDC Dong Hai, Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Nanh Son District, Danang, Vietnam. Tel: (84) 511 3967108, mobile: 0919 511 552, e-mail: email@example.com, web: http://vietnamsolarserve.org.
LATIN AMERICA AND IBERIA
Prof. Paulo Mário Machado de Araujo first conceived of the idea of an “experimental solar kitchen school” in Brazil while attending the 2006 international solar cookers conference in Granada, Spain. Late last year his conception became a reality with the opening of Cozinha Escola Experimental Solar (CEES) in Aracaju, Sergipe.
The school teaches nutrition and basic food handling skills while offering dozens of solar-cooked meals each day to workshop participants from the impoverished communities it serves. The students learn to build and use a variety of solar cookers — including box cookers, panel-type cookers, and parabolic cookers — for their own benefit and to teach others. Future workshop leaders are taught using Brazilian theatrical techniques known as “teatro do opromido.” Several hundred students have already been trained in solar cooking and complementary skills such as solar water pasteurization and solar food drying.
Initial funding for CEES was provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS), and the Sergipe State Secretary of Inclusion, Assistance and Social Development (SEIDES).
Contact: Paulo Mário Machado de Araujo, Cidade Universitária Prof. José Aloísio de Campos, Av. Marechal Rondon, s/n Jardim Rosa Elze, Coordenador de Engenharia Mecânica, 49100-000 São Cristóvão, Sergipe, Brazil. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrity chef José Andrés is known for introducing traditional and avant-garde Spanish cooking to Americans through his award-winning restaurants in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, his Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television series “Made in Spain,” and numerous cookbooks and public appearances. In addition to being named one of GQ Magazine’s 2009 Men of the Year, Andrés has won prestigious James Beard Foundation honors and his restaurants have made several national “best of” lists.
Last year, Andrés was given a parabolic solar cooker by his friend Manolo Vílchez of Spain’s AlSol company. (See Spain entry, below.) The cooker sat unused for many months in Andrés’ garage in Bethesda, Maryland (USA). When severe snowstorms hit the American northeast earlier this year, and Andrés was without cooking power for several days, he decided to give the AlSol cooker a try.
“Guess what? I put the [solar cooker] out and in time we were cooking a beautiful chicken with noodles for my family and for anyone that had a plate and wanted to be fed,” says Andrés of his initial solar cooking success. Vílchez had been talking to Andrés about helping earthquake survivors in Haiti, and Andrés immediately realized how beneficial solar cookers could be to the people of Haiti. “That moment, I pick up the phone and I call my friends and I told them, ‘Guys, we’re going Haiti. How soon can we go?’”
Haiti suffers from extreme deforestation, due in large part to the need for cooking fuel. “It’s amazing … what’s happening in Haiti, 98 percent of the country, total deforestation, no trees,” says Andrés. “No trees, no future. Why no trees? They use charcoal. They cut the trees to produce charcoal. If they keep doing this, these people will never ever have a future.”
In a project called The Solar for Hope, Andrés, Vílchez and others are working to bring solar cooking to the people of Haiti. During a week last April, Andrés taught village women how to use AlSol parabolic solar cookers. He cooked sausage stew with rice and peas for about 200 people, as well as battered sardines fried in butter and garlic. Fourteen solar cookers were delivered in all. Andrés is developing a black pressure cooker to reduce cooking time and get more uses out of each solar cooker.
Andrés recently formed a nonprofit organization called World Central Kitchen that will work in countries suffering from humanitarian crises and chronic food insecurity. It will work to feed vulnerable people while supporting local agricultural economies and using sustainable cooking technologies like solar cookers.
The Solar For Hope updates are available at http://thesolarforhope.org. For more information on World Central Kitchen, visit http://worldcentralkitchen.org or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
The Uros islands are a group of man-made islands built on beds of reeds floating on Lake Titicaca. At 12,500 feet above sea level, cooking on the islands takes longer since the boiling point is lower. To cook the fish, fowl and potatoes that are locally available, islanders typically use expensive propane stoves or reed-fed fires. Intrigued by this situation, engineering students at Utah’s Brigham Young University (USA) set out to design a solar cooker that would be easy to build and maintain using local materials. The result is a butterfly-style parabolic solar cooker that can cook a dozen eggs in about 30 minutes.
Earlier this year, as part of a sustainable engineering course, 19 students paid a significant portion of their own expenses to travel to Peru, demonstrate the solar cooker, and learn from the islanders. The experience was an eye opener for the students. “This was the most helpful class I’ve taken at BYU,” said project leader Tyler Carr. “It was an engineering class, but I learned … about working with other cultures.” Classmate Jasmine Fullmer was impressed with how engineers can directly benefit people. “As an engineer, you can have an influence in that role of building a community.”
The solar cooker was left with the islanders, along with the mold used to make additional reflectors for more cookers. Based on feedback from the islanders, the students already have ideas for improvements to make during a follow-up visit next year. These include easier construction methods and an alternative reflective foil that can be purchased from mainland shops. An Uros team leader has been selected to liaise with the students.
Earlier this year, Solar Cookers International (SCI) was honored to be visited by Manolo Vílchez, CEO of Spain’s AlSol company. Vílchez is a visionary in the field of solar cooking, and enthusiastically believes that now is the time that humanity can finally begin to embrace the idea that cooking can be done without fire. Vílchez has been involved in numerous solar conferences, including helping SCI to organize the 2006 international solar cookers conference in Granada, Spain.
AlSol manufactures and sells a line of parabolic solar cookers based on the popular SK series previously manufactured in Germany. Ranging in diameter from 1.0-1.4 meters, the cookers utilize aluminum reflective panels and either aluminum or galvanized steel frames. According to AlSol documents, the cookers can boil 24-40 liters of water per day under optimal conditions. In addition to solar cookers, AlSol produces solar food dryers and a retained-heat device that continues the cooking process after food has been removed from a heat source. A high quality solar box cooker is also in the works.
AlSol partners with a group of 20 associates that have various areas of expertise and are working to develop business plans for Europe and parts of Latin America. Of particular interest this year has been a project in Haiti called The Solar for Hope. Vílchez, along with journalist Carlos Fresneda and renowned chef José Andrés, are working to bring solar cooking to earthquake survivors in Haiti. (See Haiti entry, above.)
NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE
An exhibit at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art titled “Counter space: design and the modern kitchen” explores the evolution of the kitchen during the 20th century. A section of the exhibit highlights the impact of politics and the post-World War II consumer revolution on the kitchen, including appliances developed to address growing social and environmental concerns. One such device — the Solnar Tarcici Collapsible Solar Cooker — was donated to the museum by Dr. Adnan Tarcici, who designed and built the cooker around 1970. When exhibit curator Juliet Kinchin was asked by the New York Times what her favorite thing in the show is, she responded, “the solar cooker, and the potential it represents.”
Tarcici’s novel design utilizes a box-like structural spine that doubles as a storage container when the cooker is collapsed. Attached to pivot points on each side of this spine are two sets of flexible, reflective aluminum panels that open in a fan-like manner to form a parabolic oval 34 inches tall by 43 inches wide. Pliable bands attached to each reflective panel provide structure and hold the panels in place. The reflectors and pot stand are supported by a tripod base.
A Yemenite born in Lebanon, Tarcici was a professor and United Nations delegate who expressed concern for the amount of money people were spending on cooking fuel when the sun shines freely many months of the year. He patented several solar cooker designs during his life.
More information about the exhibit is available on-line: http://moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space.
It happened while standing in the center courtyard of the compound. The line of waiting people wound out to the road and disappeared as far as the eye could see. The heat clung to everything and seemed to hold all human senses hanging thick in the air. It was Ethiopia 1984 and I was 19, on my first trip to Africa during one of several terrible famines that devastated families and villages. My life was never the same after that initial exposure to the challenges and joys of life beyond my own.
Since taking that beginning step out of my American comfort zone, I have pursued a professional life enabling me to use my education, skills, intellect and experience to change the world for the better. As Executive Director for Solar Cookers International (SCI), I anticipate accomplishing more of the same.
A solar cook myself for six years, I am drawn to Solar Cookers International because, simply put, cooking with the sun is power. Utilizing a free, renewable resource for the most basic of human needs — to cook our food, to feed ourselves and our children — is a viable, profound solution to many of the problems facing us today as a global community. Smoke generated from cooking over an open fire harms the health of the women and children who work over it and contaminates the collective air we all breathe as citizens of the world. Open fire cooking depletes our vital resource of trees we need for healthy air and sends women and children out to sometimes dangerous areas in search of firewood. Solar cooking is a viable answer to each of these problems and more. Solar cooking does and will continue to change the world.
Having lived as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa, and having worked in Ramallah, Palestine and Nicaragua, as well as in Washington D.C., New York City and California, I realize that the problems facing us as inhabitants of this planet move us to find common solutions to our collective problems. Cooking with sun is one of these solutions and it is for this reason that I look forward to diligently working to expand the reach of Solar Cookers International.
Solar Cookers International is moving confidently into the future. SCI intends to continue to engage the world in partnering for increased use of solar cooking, to improve solar cooking technology, to strengthen and build solar cooking advocacy, and to develop creative approaches to educate, train and empower people to use solar cookers around the world.
We are in this together, and working together we will nurture a world that is rich in resources and welcoming for our children and future generations. I look forward to meeting and working with you, longtime solar cooks and diligent promoters and advocates of solar cooking. Together we can do it!
We are always thrilled when young folks pool their talents and resources to benefit the work of Solar Cookers International (SCI). Two recent examples remind us that the simple solar technologies we promote inspire those, young and old, who see a better future for women and children struggling with the basic needs of safe drinking water, warm meals and clean air.
The International Awareness Club of South Brunswick High School, in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey (USA), held a benefit concert earlier this year. The event brought in $400 for SCI. The students especially support SCI’s “efforts to assist refugees and provide relief from natural and man-made disasters.”
Every year the children from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, in Davis, California (USA), select a nonprofit organization to support through weekly collections taken at Sunday services. The children focus on organizations that are doing the kind of work that they, as Unitarian Universalist children, wish to support. This year the children chose to support the work of SCI, resulting in a donation of over $1,500.
Thank you all for believing in the mission of SCI and helping us get one step closer to achieving it!
You may be able to conveniently donate to Solar Cookers International (SCI) through your workplace. Not only do many employers facilitate charitable giving through payroll deductions, but a significant number also offer matching gift programs that double the impact of your gift.
SCI is part of the Combined Federal Campaign (charity #11023), the California State Employees Charitable Campaign (charity #8107), and the Washington State Combined Fund Drive (charity #1479043), as well as several private campaigns through workplaces like Intel and Hewlett Packard. We may just be in yours as well! Contact your human resources office or call SCI at (916) 455-4499 to explore your options. We rely on and greatly appreciate your support. Your generous workplace giving brought in over $6,000 last year. Thank you!
Tribute gifts have been given to Solar Cookers International by:
SCI financial summary July 2009 – June 2010
Revenues TOTAL - $912,831 Expenses TOTAL - $886,881 Assets TOTAL - $256,109 Liabilities TOTAL - $80,035 NET ASSETS (06/30/10) - $176,074
TOTAL - $912,831
TOTAL - $886,881
TOTAL - $256,109
TOTAL - $80,035
NET ASSETS (06/30/10) - $176,074
You have probably heard the phrase “it is better to give than to receive.” But did you know that it is possible for you to give and receive? How does the idea of receiving a generous fixed income, guaranteed for life, sound to you? Through its partnership with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation (SRCF), Solar Cookers International (SCI) can offer you the benefits of investing in charitable gift annuities, which ultimately enable us to grow our endowment and help support our future programs. The SRCF program is currently limited to residents of California. If you live outside of California and want to gift an annuity to SCI please contact your financial consultant.
The benefits you receive when you establish a charitable gift annuity may include:
A charitable gift annuity benefiting SCI is a simple agreement between you and SRCF, in which, for an irrevocable gift of cash and/or securities, SRCF agrees to make fixed payments to you for your life. The payout rate is based upon your age at the time of the gift.
The holidays are fast approaching. We encourage you to consider alternative gift-giving, the practice of making a meaningful contribution to a worthy cause in lieu of a traditional present. There are many great reasons to engage in this form of giving, which emphasizes the true spirit of the season.
Consider making a donation to Solar Cookers International (SCI) in someone else’s name as their gift from you. For this we offer gift cards personalized with a hand-written message of your choosing. In each card we give the gift of a miniature solar CooKit tree ornament.
And for those who prefer to buy something that can be unwrapped, know that the proceeds from sales of our solar cooking products support our nonprofit work, and the gift recipients are introduced to the wonderful benefits of cooking with the sun!
To place an alternative gift order, please visit the SCI Marketplace at solarcookers.org/catalog and select “Alternative Gift Card” in the Donations & Membership section.
Take advantage of our holiday special and share the fun of solar cooking with a friend. For a limited time we are offering the Take Two package. It includes two solar CooKits, two Shine On potholders, and U.S. shipping and handling for only $60. That’s a $17 savings!
Keep one CooKit and share one with a friend. Share both with two friends if you already own a CooKit. We’ll even ship it to both addresses! The CooKit is an easy holiday gift for that hard-to-buy-for relative or friend. It’s also the perfect office party or special thank you gift. (Or maybe you just need an extra one around for yourself!)
If you’d prefer to donate to SCI’s programs, we have a couple of options to make it easy. You can purchase a Take Two package and have one CooKit sent to you and one donated to an SCI program, or you can donate the entire package. If you’d like to donate a Take Two package in someone’s name, we’ll send you a card noting the gift and program information that you can give to the recipient.
Order your Take Two package today! $60 for two CooKits, two potholders, and U.S. shipping and handling. (Please call for international shipping rates.)
Solar Cooker Review (“Review”) is published two or three times per year with the purpose of presenting solar cooking and solar water pasteurization information from around the world. Topics include solar cooker technologies, dissemination strategies, educational materials, and cultural and social adaptations. From time to time we cover related topics such as women’s issues, wood shortages, health, nutrition, air pollution, climatic changes, and the environment.
The Review is sent to those who contribute money or news about solar cooking projects. The suggested subscription price is $10/year. Single copies are sent free to select libraries and groups overseas.
We welcome reports and commentary related to solar cooking for possible inclusion. These may be edited for clarity or space. Please cite sources whenever possible. Send to Solar Cookers International (SCI), 1919 21st Street #101, Sacramento, California 95811-6827, USA. You may also submit by fax: +1 (916) 455-4498 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Review is compiled and edited by Kevin Porter, SCI’s director of education resources, with assistance from other staff. Layout is graciously donated by IMPACT Publications located in Medford, Oregon, USA.
SCI is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization assisting communities in using the power of the sun to cook food and pasteurize water for the benefit of people and environments. SCI is a member of InterAction. We do not sell, rent or trade names of donors. Tax ID # 68-0153141.
The Review is available on-line at http://solarcooking.wikia.com/scr.