We only start a project when there is a local request (preferably from a local NGO or cooperative) or when there is a need for Solar Cooking. Together with the requestor we set up a plan of approach. The plan is based on their knowledge of the local situation and our experience with previous projects. This leads to a plan that is uniquely suited to the community into which Integrated Solar Cooking (ISC) is to be introduced.
If the plan meets certain criteria, the local organisation may obtain a subsidy from e.g. Wilde Ganzen or from another funding provider. Or we look for a sponsor, e.g. a company, an organisation or an institution.
Project approach in broad outline
- Public information and marketing: stimulate interest and raise awareness among potential users (often women) and decision-makers (e.g. local authorities, village elders).
- Cooking groups: Acquire skills (competences) in the preparation of food, adapt to and integrate into existing customs. Distribution and sale of cooking appliances.
- Organisational structure: Build an infrastructure that guarantees the availability of ISC products and disseminates knowledge (safeguarding).
A project starts with a one-year cooperation contract. Each subsequent year, this contract can be extended by one year up to a maximum of 3 to 4 years. The partner submits a plan of approach and a budget each year. The exit strategy is formulated from the outset for each project plan.
Solar Cooking KoZon provides a subsidy during 3 to 4 years that must be phased out within that timespan. This is how the (small) African Solar Cooking business achieves financial independence. The break-even point usually occurs after 2 years (sale proceeds less all cost = 0, i.e. 0 profits). After that, the business steadily makes more profit.
Solar Cooking KoZon’s role
From the very first year Solar Cooking KoZon adopts a coordinating function. At the beginning some coaching may be involved when certain knowledge is lacking. But it will increasingly change into an advisory function. After each three-month period, we expect a progress report and a financial justification. We check these (financial) reports and ask pertinent questions. Indeed for us this constitutes our accountability towards our donors and sponsors. As long as Solar Cooking KoZon subsidises we will continue to ask pertinent questions about objectives and results whether reached or not.
During work visits, we discuss policies, the plan of approach and possible issues. As a rule, the project’s financial management and administration are strongly emphasised.