In Kenya, like in many African countries, you cook on a so called 3-stone oven. The three stone fire is commonly used in food preparation in Kenya, and many people use this simple and accessible mode of cooking. For decades, women have been using this cooking style not knowing the danger that they expose themselves to.
Moreover, a lot of wood is used, which women have to collect prior - a very intense, hard and time-consuming work. When it comes to cooking, the CO² emissions are very high, which is a major health burden, especially for infants. Infants are also at great risk of getting burned. It is clear that a more resource-efficient, environmentally friendly and safe cooking method needs to be developed and is the solution. Through our contact to the „life-help-learning (LHL)“ association in Düsseldorf, it was possible that our board members Barbara Becht, Gregory Kasenge and Beate Dahmen took part in the workshop "Protect forests while cooking in Africa" in March 2019.
Two villagers from Mwandogo - Martin and Penina - were then registered in Eldoret (Kenya) and were given the opportunity to participate in the "AfriShiners* Solar Workshop", which lasted several days and was initiated by LHL board member Bernhard Müller. Topics of the workshop: clean burning biomass stoves, making of solar box cookers, intense education on geometry and thermodynamics, dissemination, calculation of volumetric flow in solar food dryers. The workshop focused on the transfer of basic knowledge and the production of simple solar-powered box cookers, called fireless cookers, and efficient cooking - whereby the typical Kenyan suffuria cooking pot and the ovens are precisely matched to each other in terms of size. They liked the workshop very much, they learned a lot and especially Penina, as a young woman, understood everything quickly, she was always at the forefront. Because of her good comprehension and willingness to learn, she was chosen as the representative of the Afrininers in Kenya. She is very pragmatic, has learned to bake bread in the solar cook box, to build a solar cooker and now knows how to make coconut oil only from solar power. To do this, she had to saw, mill, rivet and learn a few other things.
In a second workshop in Kisumu, under the guidance of Mr. Müller from LHL, deepen one's knowledge she learned how to dry vegetables and fruit with solar dryers to drastically reduce post-harvest losses.
Immediately after the workshop there was a first village assembly, where both demonstrated their newly acquired knowledge to everyone. They showed how you can cook more energy-efficiently with the solar cookbox and the BABA MOTO cooker designed by Bernd Müller. It is crucial that less wood is used to conserve resources and less CO² emissions. Penina has now made coconut oil with the solar cooker, which was much easier and faster. We are curious to see what will develop from this and how the women in the village will deal with this new knowledge. But the men should not be underestimated either, because they should buy this new stove for their wives, so they must be convinced of this new solar cooking function or the Baba Moto stove. Nevertheless, we will gradually buy new solar cookers so that the women's group can practice cooking with them in turn and become familiar with this new cooking method.
( * Afrishiners = network of highly educated and specialised experts on solar cooking, solar food processing, clean cookstoves, clean burning fuels, water purification and waste management. Each member educates local groups and grassroots workers in his/her community)