Solar Cooking Pilot Program Launched in Peru
In late 2006, Acciónatura, a Spanish NGO, approached SHE about implementing a project in Peru with their Peruvian partner NGO. While they had the funding to buy the HotPotsTM and implement the project, they did not have the solar cooking technical expertise. Therefore, they requested in-country technical solar cooking support from SHE.
SHE signed a Terms of Reference with Acciónatura to work in a consortium with Asociación de Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) to conduct a solar cooking project. The solar cooking trainings were launched in mid-April outside of Lucre, Peru (about 30 kilometers from Cuzco). During five separate trainings, 100 women learned solar cooking techniques. Traditional Peruvian dishes, estofada (chicken and potato stew), rice, and baked peaches were cooked. All the women were extremely impressed with the ability of the HotPot to cook traditional food.
In the coming months, the women will attend follow-up meetings where they will share solar cooking experiences. Additionally, the women will participate in a work-exchange program. In the work-exchange program, the women will plant trees in a reforestation project, conduct solar cooking demonstrations in their communities, and conduct solar cooking demonstrations at a regional food fair.
Posted: Spring 2008
Peru has a total population of approximately 28.7 million inhabitants. The official fertility rate is about 2.46 children per woman and a corresponding average growth rate of 1.29% per year. Approximately 85% of the population relies on burning wood to cook which causes enormous strain on the environment, the economy and on individual health.
The forests of Peru are some of the most diverse in the world. However, Peru has only a 50% forest cover and currently, experiences a deforestation rate of .5% per year. The heavy use of fuel wood for cooking contributes significantly to ongoing deforestation. As the forests disappear, the lives of the people who depend on wood for cooking fuel become more difficult.
Women and girls responsible for procuring fuel wood must travel far from home to collect wood. By spending so much time collecting wood, their opportunities to attend school and participate in income-generating activities are diminished. In other areas, it is no longer feasible to gather wood and families can spend up to 25% of their income to purchase fuel wood.
Additionally, women and children suffer from health problems caused by cooking inside small, enclosed kitchens that often lack windows or other ventilation. Women and children inhale toxic smoke for hours a day, the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes a day, according to the WHO.
To alleviate stress on the environment and improve the quality of life SHE is working to introduce the HotPot solar cooking oven in Latin America.