Solar cooking

3 Dec 2013

Following our site visit to learn more about water purifiers, we travelled on to Rilima to meet Josephine to see her solar cooker in action. This was one of a number of experimental solar cookers donated by Survivors Fund (SURF), in a pilot project in partnership with CREDI Rwanda, made possible through a donation of the Good Gifts Catalogue, an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust.

Josephine and four of her seven dependents (three are her own children, and four are orphans for whom she cares)

Josephine and four of her seven dependents (three are her own children, and four are orphans for whom she cares)

The parabolic solar reflector is the first of its kind in Rwanda, and has been imported following a field visit undertaken by the SURF team to Kenya. The design of the cooker is simple, but incredibly effective. In an area like Rilima, which is hot and dry all year round, there is ample sun to cook three meals a day – porridge in the morning, beans at lunch, rice for dinner – and even enough time to boil water for bathtime for Josephine’s children.

The cooker is delivering quicker cooking time, at no cost. So Josephine and her family are saving time and money having to collect and buy firewood. As well, there are no noxious fumes any longer, and so it is healthier too. And there is no need to constantly tend the stove, except to rotate it between cooking times to ensure the greatest intensity of the sun’s reflection.

For Josephine, it has literally transformed her life. “I am saving money, am feeling healthier than ever and now have more time to work on setting up my business (a hatchery). Everyone in the village will need one of these in future, as our land is becoming like a desert and there is less firewood today than ever. But with the sun, we can now cook faster, cheaper and healthier.”

Over the months ahead, we plan to distribute several hundred of the solar cookers to survivors across Rwanda.