Green technology innovation: the solar-powered cooker
Submitted by: Okello Christine Laura - Humanitarian Emergency Coordinator - Caritas Uganda
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
Bidibidi Refugee settlement, Yumbe District, west Nile region, Uganda
November 2018 - Ongoing
Caritas and the Pesitho company will start a local production in 2020 in Bidibidi Refugee settlement as an initiative for sustainability.
The ECOCA solar cooker, an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cooking method, is being provided for refugees and host communities in Yumbe District.
ECOCA is a self-contained, multi-purpose home unit consisting of an electric power base, a battery pack and a solar panel. It comes with a high insulated pot which will keep food warm for hours, it does not rely on charcoal or firewood but instead it reduces dependency on the already scarce firewood in Yumbe, hence reducing deforestation. ECOCA is distributed to the most vulnerable beneficiaries such as persons with disability, persons living with HIV/AIDS, elderly... The beneficiaries were selected with the help of the local councils, refugee welfare committees and community extension workers.
Caritas has also trained 5 refugees and host community members as technicians and 5 super users who are part of the beneficiaries to carry out operation and maintenance of the solar cookers. The technicians and super users are supported with bicycles to help them move around the villages.
Access to sufficient and sustainable basic energy services for lighting, power, cooking increased and carbon emissions abated with reduced reliance on fossil fuels.
There are technical experts from the pesitho company, the technicians, super users and Caritas staff. The equipment to produce the ECOCA are available in Uganda.
- Caritas Uganda and Caritas Arua
- Caritas Denmark
- The Pesitho company
Challenges and how they were overcome
- Insufficient team skills for operation and maintenance of the ECOCA.
- High taxes on parts of the ECOCA, such as the base.
How they were overcome:
- Caritas trained 5 students for a 6 months vocational training to increase their knowledge and skills.
- Caritas is working closely with other partners including the Ministry of finance to get a tax exemption.
Results of the Good Practice
- The ECOCA solar cooker has given an opportunity for women and girls from 50 households an opportunity to pursue other activities that are economically beneficial such as businesses and other income generating activities.
- 50 beneficiaries who have received the ECOCA have cut off fuel usage to buy firewood and charcoal, hence reducing poverty.
- The burden of collecting firewood and risk of violent and sexual assaults for women and children fetching firewood was reduced.
- Refugees and host communities are using ECOCA as an income generating activities, for instance a disabled person is using ECOCA for hairdressing.
- The risk of pollution has reduced among the 50 beneficiaries who have already beneficiated from ECOCA.
Caritas is starting a local production of the solar cooker in Bidibidi refugee settlement.