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SUNSPOTS — Winter Solstice 2010


Improved livelihood — Diana Kageha

Diana Kageha solar cooks with her children
Diana Kageha
solar cooks with
her children
SCI has been active in East Africa for over 15 years, during which we've received letters from new solar cooks describing positive changes in their lives. A recent letter from Diana Kageha, a blind solar cook, is worth sharing.

Social stigma due to Diana's blindness oppressed her for years. Then she was taught how to solar cook and everything changed. Solar cooking has saved Diana money, improved her family's health, and increased her standing in the community. "My status in this village has changed completely," she writes. "My neighbors now believe that disability is not inability. The entire community now respects me." In fact, Diana is seen as the local resource for solar cooking and she is now teaching others how to solar cook.

Diana continues, "I used to spend 60 shillings everyday in buying firewood. When I use my solar cooker, I save half of that money. This amount goes into buying food for my family. The foods that I frequently solar cook are sukuma wiki, rice, tea, omena and ugali. I also pasteurize water and store it in a safe water pot. This way the children can not dip their hands into the pot and the water stays clean. As a result, the frequent waterborne diseases that used to affect my family are gone."

Each time you contribute to SCI you are helping people like Diana realize their dreams beyond what they thought possible.

In the midst of chaos, solar cookers cast light and hope

New SCI initiative: solar cookers in Haitian schools
New SCI initiative:
solar cookers in
Haitian schools
Haitian families benefited from learning how to use free and abundant sunshine after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Teachers are learning to incorporate solar cookers into their daily lessons, not only training the next generation but piquing the interest of their parents and grandparents at home. Tremendous opportunities exist for greater spread of solar cookers in Haiti during the coming year and beyond, and we count on your support to make it happen.

In response to the earthquake, SCI partnered with International Child Care Ministries, Programme Energie Solaire and members of the Solar Cooking World Network (SCWNet) to expand upon nearly 20 years of solar cooking in Haiti. With help from SCWNet member Paul Munsen, SCI was able to send 200 CooKits, pots and water pasteurization indicators (WAPIs) to the community of Pigeon, Haiti. In April, 135 earthquake survivors participated in two days of solar cooker training conducted by Haitian members of Programme Energie Solaire. Each participant received a CooKit, a pot and a WAPI.

In August, seven school teachers were trained by Haitian trainers and certified by Solar Cookers International (SCI) to teach solar cooking. As part of a new SCI initiative, these teachers intend to incorporate solar cooking principles and techniques into the fifth-grade science curriculum of nationally-recognized Haitian schools run by International Child Care Ministries. With your donations, SCI has already provided 200 CooKits, pots and WAPIs for four schools. This incredible opportunity to reach students in their classrooms and create a new habit with solar cooking technology will be accomplished in as soon as three years with your continued support.

Student solar success in Eldoret, Kenya

Project encourages youth to build and test solar cookers
Project encourages
youth to build and
test solar cookers
Last April, Camily Wedende — a solar cooking promoter from Eldoret, Kenya — read a Solar Cooker Review article about my projects with middle-school students in the USA. Children in Eldoret love his solar food samples, and Camily contacted me for advice on solar cooking projects with middle- and high-school students.

I advised him to turn the students into scientists and innovators by taking a comprehensive integrated-curriculum approach. I recommended researching solar cooker models on the Solar Cooking Archive Wiki, constructing two or three that could be made from local materials or combining existing ideas to come up with a new model, and running comparative tests to see which one worked best. The Eldoret Students Solar Cookers Science Pilot Project was born.

Camily and 20 students put their heads together and got to work. By thinking creatively, then critically, they came up with a new panel-type solar cooker that outperformed two others in comparative testing. They call it the Panel Stove Cooker. The students were excited about their new cooker and each wanted to make one to take home. Thanks to my generous friends, family and some of our local Moscow (Idaho) Farmer's Market vendors and shoppers, modest funds were raised to pay for supplies so the students could make 20 durable, plywood solar cookers.

I am so proud of Camily and the team! All students have now taken Panel Stove Cookers home to the camps where they live, benefitting their entire families. Each student received a black cooking pot and requisite transparent oven bag, as well as a notebook and pen so that they can continue to keep records of their cooking progress and experiments. This project generated considerable community interest. Adults are showing a renewed interest in solar cooking, and more students want to sign up for projects if funding can be secured for supplies.

Click here to view an album of photos from this project.

The stellar success of the this solar cookers science pilot project was in large part made possible by the wealth of information in the Solar Cooking Archive Wiki, maintained by Solar Cookers International staff and volunteers.

Sharon Cousins
SCI Board Member

Alternative gift card

Alternative gift card graphic
Give the gift that gives back. When you donate to Solar Cookers International in the name of a loved one, friend or associate, they receive a card and a subscription to the Solar Cooker Review. When you send a gift card during the holiday season we'll include a miniature CooKit ornament as a special gift for the recipient. Click here to give a gift.

Take Two campaign

Two CooKits and two potholders -- only $60!
Two CooKits and
two potholders
— only $60!
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 CooKits, two of our Shine On potholders and US shipping for only $60. That's a $17 savings, and we'll pay shipping to a second address if requested. Click here to order.

Clean Currents Haiti promotion

Clean Currents logo
Clean Currents, a Mid-Atlantic States provider of wind power through the electric grid, is partnering with Solar Cookers International for its annual holiday giving campaign. From now through January 12, 2011, the one-year anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake, Clean Currents will donate a portion of proceeds from every residential wind power enrollment to the purchase and distribution of solar cookers in Haiti.


The Heliograph

SCI in the News

newspaper graphicSacramento Press | August 2010
"Solar Cookers International demo sun-powered ovens"

Santa Fe New Mexican | October 2010
"Cycling event benefits climate group"

Monday Developments | November 2010
"Fueling the future: maximizing fuel conservation with the Integrated Cooking System" (pdf)

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