20 December 2011
Friend of Solar Housegold Energy,
As 2011 winds down, we are grateful for what Solar Household Energy has achieved with your support, and excited about what's yet to come in the months and years ahead. Our urgent work can only continue thanks to people like you. Here are some important developments since our last newsletter:
Bringing solar cooking to those who need it
The prospects for expanding our efforts to bring solar cooking to Darfur refugees in eastern Chad appear strong. We are presently in discussions with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and our partner NGO, Africare, that is working with the 20,000-plus residents of the Gaga camp in Chad to begin a new phase of our project and provide HotPotsTM for several hundred more households. The following highlight from our final report to the UNHCR on the first phase of the project gives us encouragement for providing additional assistance there:
"All of the HotPot Solar Oven recipients in Gaga Camp unambiguously affirmed their interest in and willingness to use their HotPots to prepare all midday meals as well as some other meals.
They had no difficulties learning how to use the HotPots, finding it well-adapted for most local dishes and to local conditions. They repeatedly recommended that all women in the camp should
have a HotPot. The men in the camp also accept solar cooked food. The new users all expressed gratitude for being part of the pilot project.”
Early next year we will be returning to the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti for the next stage of our effort there, to supplement a reforestation project of The Nature Conservancy with solar cooking. In October, 25 Haitian women and five Dominican women received Sun Oven box cookers. The Dominican women were trained first by Louise Meyer, SHE's Director of Training. A variety of foods were cooked, corresponding to traditional local recipes. "Judging from the home visits, the 25 Haitian women felt comfortable using their solar ovens, a totally new cooking technology for them,” Meyers reports.
As is standard procedure in effective solar cooking training projects, home visits following general instruction provided an opportunity to help new solar cooks fine-tune their techniques. "It was a surprise to find a great variety of foods being solar cooked, far more than had been prepared during the training program,” she adds. When she returns to the project site in February, Louise will assess the impact of the effort thus far and seek to resolve any remaining challenges.
Cooking in Tilori, Haiti - 2011
From smoky cooking fires ...
To clean solar-cooking...
SHE co-founder Darwin Curtis traveled to Geneva last month to brief UNHCR officials on the Chad project and discuss future plans. During that trip he also visited with BISS, (Bolivia Inti Sud Soleil), a solar cooking non-profit organization based in Nantes, France, that was a critical partner with us in the Gaga Camp project. We look forward to collaborating more with them in the future. Curtis also met with with Association pour le Development de l'Energie Solaire Suisse (ADES), a small NGO that distributes box ovens, parabolic cookers and fuel efficient stoves in Madagascar, to pursue possible partnership activities with them. Solar Household Energy leverages our resources by teaming up with like-minded organizations and volunteers, whenever possible.
Educating the public and policy leaders about solar cooking
In October, Louise Meyer was invited to deliver a TEDx talk on "Communication and Food: Recipes for Development" in Washington, DC. Also speaking was noted chef, anti-poverty crusader and solar cook, José Andrés. TEDx presentations are locally organized with the purpose of putting out "ideas worth spreading” that strive to "bring together remarkable and notable speakers from diverse disciplines,” Watch Louise's presentation on Solar Household Energy's YouTube Channel at: http://youtu.be/Atubf5239Qs and learn about "fuel famine” and how fuel scarcity affects hunger and food choices in poor countries.
Louise Meyer - TEDx Washington Circle Talk
Washington, DC - October 27, 2011
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has accepted Solar Household Energy's proposal to present a poster on solar cooking at the IUCN Conservation Congress to be held in Jeju, South Korea in September 2012. SHE is partnering with the non-profit organization, Grupo Jaragua from the Dominican Republic to prepare a poster on the topic of solar cooking's contribution to ecosystem and community resilience. This will provide an opportunity to introduce the multiple environmental benefits of solar cooking to the 5-10,000 Congress attendees from the conservation community.
Research to improve solar cooking technology and implementation
SHE board member and engineer Paul Arveson has been advancing our capacity to analyze the performance of solar cooking devices, through building partnerships with like-minded volunteers and organizations in other parts of the country. We continue to seek new materials and technologies that can enhance the performance, durability and affordability of solar cooking devices. These efforts are strengthening our role as technical consultants to organizations developing solar cooking promotion efforts of their own.
The COMO Foundation (http://www.como.bz/como-foundation) has recently approved a grant to Solar Household Energy to carry out an Impact Evaluation of SHE's distribution of 3000 HotPots in Senegal from 2006 to 2009 with our local partner organization, Tostan. The study will take place in the Spring of 2012 and will aim to discern the impact of HotPot usage and make methodological recommendations for impact evaluations of solar cooker distribution projects around the world. COMO is a private family foundation providing catalytic support to innovations that improve the lives of women and girls. We are most grateful for COMO's support.
In sum, Solar Household Energy has been and will continue to energetically advance our mission to unleash the potential of solar cooking for health, development and the environment around the world, and deliver it to those whom it can benefit the most. We invite and encourage your continued participation in our world-changing efforts, both through volunteering your talents and your generous financial contributions.
This holiday season, won't you consider truly making a difference by donating a solar oven for a family in Chad or Haiti or Mexico or any of the other of Solar Household Energy's projects?
Solar Household Energy, Inc.
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Haiti - Sun Ovens for Nature Conservancy reforestation project
Chad - 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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Chevy Chase, MD 20815
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