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Solar Cooking for Refugee Families in Chad

  • 3. Good Health
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 16. Peace and Justice

Tens of thousands of refugees from Darfur are offered the chance to vastly improve their life by using the CooKit solar cookers. Having to venture outside of the camp to collect scarce firewood and the risk of being attacked or raped has been an everyday fear for women in the refugee camps in Eastern Chad, close to the Sudanese border.

We are providing them with the necessary material, knowledge and training to manufacture their own solar cooker and to prepare their meals using energy from the sun. 

Since the start of the programme in 2005, 40.000 families in the refugee camps and the surrounding villages have been equipped with solar cookers made out of carton and aluminium foil that, when folded in a semi-parabolic form can be used to heat water and cook entire meals. Due to the omnipresence of sun in this region, the cooker can be used 330 days out of the year, thus almost completely eliminating the need for firewood.

This project does not only eliminate the danger of women exposing themselves to physical harm, but also verifiably improves health conditions, especially among women and children, because cooking with solar energy is smokeless. Furthermore, it empowers the women by giving them a viable role in the project, and without the need to collect firewood women have more time to pursue handcrafting or other jobs and children to attend school.

As one solar cooker lasts around two years, a barrier for this project is to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of raw materials for the refugee camps. Income from carbon credit sells provides the means to ensure that the materials and infrastructure are in place to build and distribute new cookers, ensuring the ongoing success of this project. 

Project impacts and benefits:

  • Improves health: About 50,000 smoke-free solar cookers distributed across six refugee camps to date, eliminating health hazards due to smoke creation or potential outbreaks of fire
  • Ensures safety: More than 50,000 women and girls that don’t have to risk their lives searching for firewood outside the camps.
  • Produces clean energy: Average of 20,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases saved annually by the project
  • Slows down deforestation: More than 50% of the local vegetation saved
  • Empowers Women: Hundreds of new jobs for women in the camps, development of skills on how to manufacture their own solar cookers and how to manage and track distribution
  • Generates employment: A team consisting of around 20 women and few men per camp is responsible for the correct assembly, distribution and supervision
  • Supports child education: Children are able to attend school. 
  • Promotes responsible consumption: Families are accountable for the maintenance of their own solar cooking system to ensure a continuous well-functioning cooker
  • Brings peace: Avoidance of conflict and political turmoil between refugees and locals over scarce firewood

Contact:

For more information, contact Derk Rijks: rijks.agrometeo@wanadoo.fr
Video for demonstration: https://vimeo.com/25925310

“It brings us a sense of justice, security and peace of mind”
The camp president of the women
“There is no smoke, no coughing, no tears, no running noses, no soar eyes, we don’t get ill so often”
“The children can themselves take their food when they come out of school, without risking putting fire to the house or burning themselves.”