Mexico social enterprise sells first 50 solar cookers

Mexico social enterprise sells first 50 solar cookers

Part 1 of SHE’s project to support Lorena Harp in establishing her own Haines solar cooker enterprise in Oaxaca was successful, with Lorena achieving the milestone of selling 50 Haines solar cookers through her local “solar cooking ambassadors” last month. Part 1 consisted of three phases. In Phase 1 (Jul-Nov 2017) Lorena conducted a community baseline assessment and prepared materials for her enterprise and monitoring and evaluation of customer solar cooker adoption and impact. In October, a magnitude 7 earthquake devastated Oaxaca, destroying infrastructure and slowing communications. Lorena assisted earthquake victims through solar cooking promotion and in other ways. In phase 2 (Dec 2017-Jan 2018), she hired four solar cooking ambassador candidates and trained them. During phase 3 (Feb-May 2018), these ambassadors sold 50 Haines solar cookers in their communities, becoming environmental leaders and earning a living through sales commissions.

Their hard work has made it possible for SHE to win funding for Part 2 of this project, most of which will go towards subsidizing 200 more Haines solar cookers for Lorena and the ambassadors to sell.

Lorena Harp (right) and her work promoted through twitter by the Network of Women in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency.

Going above and beyond her manager duties, Lorena has also been promoting the project and searching for partners at all levels to advance the enterprise, as well as relief for earthquake victims. She has been networking to find sources of funding, and potential partnering companies to manufacture the ideal pot for the Haines solar cooker. She demonstrated the Haines Solar Cooker to the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, the Mexican National Association for Solar Energy, and the National network of Women in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. These last two organizations have invited Lorena to present at their annual national conventions. On International Women’s Day, she received recognition for her work in the Chamber of Deputies of Oaxaca. She has showcased the project to various interested parties, hosting them in her house, and bringing them to communities to see training and solar cooking in action by ambassadors and customers. One group of Canadian Rotarians wrote a glowing review of the project, stating: “This is an extremely worthwhile project and Lorena Harp is the ideal person to be leading it.  It has tremendous potential and deserves a great deal of support.”

Oaxacan solar cooking ambassador Bibiana (2nd woman from right) with members of her community, welcoming visitors from Canada (back) and SHE Board member Margarita Battle (third from right in back). Bibiana has personally sold over 15 Haines solar cookers on commission (right) to members of her community.



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