Darfur refugees tap the sun’s power to cook

From csmonitor.com: Darfur refugees tap the sun’s power to cook.

Imagine a town where everyone used solar power to cook their food, and reduced their reliance on finite sources of fuel, like firewood. At lunchtime, in front of every mud-walled hut, tens of thousands of pots are bubbling away inside silvery enclosures that tap sunlight.

The town you’re imagining is actually a refugee camp in the deserts of Eastern Chad, where 17,600 Darfur refugees fled from neighboring Sudan four years ago. Nearly 90 percent of the families here use solar cookers to prepare their midday meals.

In a pilot project by a Dutch aid group called SVAAKO, 6,000 portable solar cookers have been given out to the refugees, and there are plans to introduce the stoves to other camps. Camp residents, all of them women, make the solar stoves themselves in a small workshop, spreading glue on sheets of cardboard and attaching sheets of aluminum foil. The stoves are cheap to produce: less than $20 per unit. [continue]