Solar Household Energy: Solar cooking for economic development and environmental relief

Half of the world’s population relies on wood fires to cook.

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Tilori family cooking with GSO sm solar cooking vista Tilori

Cooking solar, Conserving forests in Tilori, Haiti

November 2012

Dear Friends of Solar Household Energy,

Sorry it has been so long since we have been in touch. We have just been too busy promoting solar cooking to write. We thought that you might like to hear about a few of the many things that have been keeping us busy in these past months.

Promoting healthy lifestyles with solar cooking

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, was the guest of honor at Common Good City Farm's community lunch prepared by teenagers in their Summer Youth Program. At the event, Louise Meyer of SHE put on two workshops on Solar Oven construction and use to the youth. At the workshops, teenagers learned about the benefits of solar cooking, what foods can be cooked in a solar cooker, and how to use a solar cooker. They focused on cooking nutritious foods in the solar cookers to promote a healthy lifestyle for the teenagers.

L Meyer with US Surgeon General 2012

SHE's Louise Meyer with US Surgeon General , Dr. Regina Benjamin promoting healthy cooking and eating at Common Good City Farm in
Washington, DC, 2012

SHE volunteers also promoted and demonstrated solar cooking at several other local events in recent months. These included, among others: the Solar Decathlon on the national mall, DC SolarFlare in June, TIDES at the National Defense University and DC's 2012 World Environment Day event.

Promoting solar cooking through art

Despite the hardships of living in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe, Lunda Vincente from the Democratic Republic of the Congo has found a passion in the arts and solar cooking. In the camp, Lunda has been creating powerful and touching drawings that call for environmental preservation. He explains, "My artworks connects the destruction of my home, the annihilation of my family, my own hair's-breath escape from being shot, the deforestation that robs the gorillas of our habitat- all that has impacted my life.” Lunda hopes that through his artwork, others will be able to see the strong need for clean water, food, and fuel. He is zealous about the benefits of solar cooking, and several of his pieces of art reflect this view.

Carry Firewood -Lunda

Lunda has been corresponding with SHE for several years and sending his beautiful work. Moshood Sala, a student at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, DC created a blog for Lunda's work at: Lunda's art will be on exhibit at the school from Dec 10- Jan 8, open to the public. Mashood will give a presentation about Lunda's work at the school's International Dinner on Dec 13.

SHE continues to work to bring solar cooking to more refugees in sun-rich areas where fuel is scarce. As Lunda writes in his blog: "Every day the sun rises and gives its energy without asking anything in return. . . the next time you look at your electric bill, think of what solar power can do for free! …The HotPotTM solar oven bridges the gap between us and the SUN – there is no more barrier !”

Bringing solar cooking to those who need it

Sudanese Refugees in Chad - As announced in our previous newsletter, SHE provided additional HotPot Solar Ovens to Darfur refugees in the Gaga refugee camp in Eastern Chad. With support from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the local partner NGO, Africare, upscaled the pilot HotPot distribution to two hundred additional refugee families. Though the number of refugees in Gaga has declined from about 20,000 to 16,000 residents, the pilot had been so successful in reducing fuelwood needs that the partners still modestly expanded the program. Because of the pressing needs in the refugee crisis in West Africa, UNHCR has suspended funded for further expansion of the program for now. If we can locate additional funding, the refugees would very much like to have more solar ovens, saying they wish that every woman in the camp could have one.

Tilori, Haiti - Louise Meyer made a third monitoring visit to the village of Tilori, Haiti, on the border of the Dominican Republic, where SHE is assisting The Nature Conservancy to introduce integrated solar cooking as part of its larger reforestation program in the region. SHE delivered Sun Ovens and fuel-efficient stoves to thirty households in a pilot program and trained the women in their use. The November issue of The Nature Conservancy's magazine features a story about the Tilori project, and a video is on their website. As additional funding can be located, the plan is to expand the integrated solar cooking to the rest of the community, as well as to others in the area that is heavily dependent on wood and charcoal for cooking fuel. We invite you to sponsor a solar oven for Tilori through SHE.

World Conservation Congress in S Korea adopts SHE resolution on solar cooking

At its quadrennial World Conservation Congress, the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) members for the first time adopted a resolution on Solar Cooking and its contribution to conservation and resilience. Dorothy Zbicz, co-President of SHE, and Board member Scott Hajost, represented SHE at the Congress in S. Korea in September. Dorothy presented a poster, co-sponsored by Grupo Jaragua from the Dominican Republic, on solar cooking and its relevance for conservation. The poster introduced solar cooking to the more than 10,000 environmental professionals from 175 countries attending the Congress.

SHE also sponsored a draft motion, shepherding it through the resolutions process and its adoption by the more than 600 IUCN voting member organizations present. This resolution calls on IUCN Members, Commissions and Director General to explore and report on including solar thermal cooking as part of clean cooking solutions for healthy, resilient ecosystems and communities in IUCN member countries. View the full resolution at: SHE will continue to work with IUCN members and environmental organizations to help them add solar cooking to their ongoing programs.

IUCN Congress

More solar cooking news

• Our thoughts are with all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, especially those still without power. A solar oven could be a useful addition to that emergency preparedness kit.

• With sadness, we note the passing of Mr. Wilfred Pimentel, who along with his wife Marie worked for many years on behalf of Rotary International introducing solar cooking in remote villages of the developing world. Their perseverance and selflessness were an inspiration to us all.

• SHE continues to work to ensure that solar cooking is included in the programs of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), along-side the biomass stoves that have received the bulk of the attention in this initiative. To this end, founder Dar Curtis attended a "Fuels Roundtable” meeting in September where he shared data on solar cooking projects that have been approved for earning carbon credits due to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that switching to solar cooking can provide.

• We welcome the new Executive Director of Solar Cookers International, Julie Green, and look forward to continuing to work closely with her and SCI.

• Founder Louise Meyer provided a demonstration on solar cooking for the Green Festival held by USAID at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

• SHE continues to pursue its mission of partnering with other organizations to promote solar cooking. In recent months, SHE team members have met with many other solar cooking partners and supporters, some of which included friends from Bolivia Inti Sud Soleil, Fondo Mexicano para Conservación de la Naturaleza, Swiss solar cooking organization ADES, The Rocky Mountain Institute, Jewish World Watch, UK organization CORD, Charity Help International, Gadhia Solar from India, the U.S. Peace Corps, Project Aumazo in Cameroon, The Nature Conservancy, Grupo Jaragua and El Fuego del Sol in the Dominican Republic, Lanyi-Fan in Senegal, and The Como Foundation in Senegal, among others.


As you can see, Solar Household Energy has been busy promoting solar cooking and helping to get it into the hands of those who can benefit from it most. We do a lot with a little. Just think what we could do with more! It is your contributions that make it possible. We hope that you will continue your support today!


Executive Director
Solar Household Energy, Inc.

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Haiti - Sun Ovens for Nature Conservancy reforestation project

- HotPots for Sudanese refugees

Mexico - HotPots for indigenous communities

Dominican Republic - Sun Ovens for local communities

W Africa Evaluation of long-term solar cooking projects

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Solar Household Energy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, charitable organization.
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