Sunday, February 22, 2009

Doing good with carbon offsetting



This is Edward and the ladies of a community in Siaya district, W Kenya; a community group that just had a demo by Solar Cookers International, Kenya. The demo was given in a local market place with local authority figures present and these wonderful "guardians" of nearly 350 orphans.



Edward has asked for help in raising funds for a large scale cooker and some small ones to aid in training.

Thanks to Ben & Katalin, volunteers from 2008, we learnt that companies who are now paying to "offset" their carbon footprint provide the very funds to be used on projects worldwide to reduce carbon footprints; help the environment etc. Deforestation in Kenya is a major issue and as well as introducing solar cooking we plan to help create / replace tree nurseries.

We only have to look at Australia recently to understand the effect of climate change. "Professor Chris Field, speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, claimed that the increase in warming ..will.. result in severe environmental disasters at a far faster pace and intensity..."


(image from CO2 Balance)

CO2 Balance
are working toward reducing carbon footprints. We'd like to thank them for all their help with this community and suggest you pass on knowledge of their services to others who can use funding for environmental and sustainable development projects.

Further info on solar cooking :
  • Solar-cooking one meal a day, three times a week has been proven to reduce fuelwood consumption and related smoke by one third.
  • The family-size (small) CooKit by SCI saves more than four times its value in fuelwood each year. With careful use and storage, a CooKit can be used for two years, reducing fuelwood consumption by two tonnes.
  • Solar cookers can pasteurize household drinking water, making it safe to drink.
  • The solar cooking process is smokeless, reducing respiratory diseases and eye irritation.
  • Solar cooked foods retain vitamins, nutrients and their natural flavours; there is no smoky taste; the foods cook slowly in their own juices. Nutritious, slow-cooking traditional foods (beans, root crops, and some grains) are restored to the family diet.
  • Clean up is easy as the food never burns or sticks to the cooking pot.
  • Solar cooks frequently report that the money they save on cooking-fuel can be used for many essentials, such as extra food, school supplies, and medical care.
  • Without having to gather wood or dung, breathe smoke, and tend a fire – all associated with traditional cooking – solar cooking is easy and safe for people with AIDS and other illnesses, the elderly, disabled and young orphans.
  • Solar cookers represents a new sustainable opportunity for women to capitalize on an underserved market and better meet their own cooking energy needs.
  • Solar cooking saves time as there is less need to tend a fire or collect firewood. A person can cook while at work, at the market, or tending crops. Young girls can attend school instead of searching for fuelwood.
  • Solar energy is free and abundant in many areas of Kenya, providing a safe, clean, healthy supplement to traditional fuels.
Using the sun to cook food or pasteurize water is a concept unknown or very new to most Kenyans. SCI facilitates initial training to solar cooking. Practical demonstrations are coupled with information sessions targeting local opinion leaders such as chiefs and other government officers, leaders of women’s groups, health professionals and representatives of development agencies. Local foods and water sources are used in the cooking and pasteurization demonstrations. The demonstrations and information continue to include women’s groups, market women, teachers, and frontline health workers.

In Kenya, women are the primary cooks and therefore the best spokespersons so SCI uses a participatory approach recruiting representatives to participate in developing marketing strategies appropriate for local conditions and sharing successful approaches with their peers. Once trained, the solar cooker representatives, with support from SCI, continue with product demonstrations and make cash and installment sales. SCI provides basic marketing materials and supplies such as flyers, leaflets, distinctive aprons, shirts and bags and gives commissions while capacity building within the community.

This is PURE sustainable development and we're proud to support it!


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1 comment:

tsponheim said...

You can find plans for building your own solar cooker in the Solar Cooking Archive Wiki.

You can build Fun-Panel solar cooker in about an hour and you can cook with it throughout the year, even in winter.

Tom Sponheim
Solar Cookers International