Prior to actual training
Local women are trained by us to provide information about the reasons for cooking with cleaner energy. We explain how the CooKit or the Solar Box work and what are the pros and cons. The use of the hay basket and wood-saving cooking appliances will be discussed as well. Several meals will be cooked together with the instructors so that cooking experiences can be exchanged at the same time. The instructors will have the skills to accompany a group, to instruct and to hold discussions with the women. The instructors prefer to speak in English/French in order to facilitate communication (e.g. Manuals).
The instructors explain why Solar Cooking (among others the CooKit) is an important alternative to traditional cooking with wood. Safety and health will be the subjects of discussion as well. Economic aspects are explained: money is saved because less wood is bought / gathered. Topics of discussion include the consequences of deforestation, solar energy, wood-saving cooking appliances and hay baskets. Whenever possible this takes place in association with local community meetings. Everybody is welcome to attend these meetings, in particular spouses and local civil servants, so that information to the home front does not rest only on the women’s shoulders.
These workshops clearly show that the combination of a CooKit and a hay basket really works very well. The instructors prepare food in a few CooKits and discuss the CooKit’s operation. All those present receive a yellow flyer (translated into local languages), followed by a short demonstration of the complete CooKit set, plastic bag and black pan. The women then go on to wash and cut the food that is placed in the pans and then put in the sun. While the food ‘steams’ in the sun, there is time to explain water quantities, cooking times of different dishes, traditional cooking habits and food, and how solar cooking changes these customs. More information sheets with many illustrations are handed out and discussed. Those present are able to taste the dishes at the end.
While the food is cooking, the discussion turns to the importance of switching to cooking with solar energy: wood is becoming scarce and very expensive, the distance needed walk in order to gather wood is becoming longer because of deforestation and drought. And then there are the serious consequences for lungs and eyes when using wood as cooking fuel. After about 2½ hours the lids are taken off the pans and those present eat the food prepared in the CooKits. The hay basket’s function is explained as well. Because there are also cloudy days, a wood-saving cooking appliance is always available as well.
Training programme Solar Cooking
Solar Cooking Classes (to become skilful with CooKit and hay basket)
A group of about 25 women makes and tastes all sorts of food. This enables them for example to find out how many hours are needed to cook the food. At the same time they use teaching aids (in the local language, in English/French and for illiterate persons).
When the women have used the CooKit (and hay basket) at home for some time, they return to the Cooking Class to attend an evaluation meeting: what has been their experience and what possible solutions could there be for problems?
Water / Milk Pasteurisation
The women learn why it is useful and necessary to pasteurise water and/or milk and how it can be done with the CooKit and the WAPI (Water Pasteurisation Indicator).
Preservation of food
The women learn how to preserve food, e.g. roast nuts, make jam and dry fruit.
High temperature cookers
When high temperature cookers (such as a Solar Box and/or a Parabolic cooker) are available, they can be included in the programme.
We talk with the NGO about setting up local production. They choose the people that will be trained in the making of CooKits, WAPIs and hay baskets.