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Buy your family a solar cooker


Buy a solar cooker for your family in Somalia and give them a steady income stream of $20 per month

Somalia is a logical place for solar cooking. There is abundant sunshine year round. Charcoal is the predominant cooking fuel and it is expensive. Yet solar cooking has never "taken off", in Somalia or elsewhere. The reason is that solar cooking is generally associated with cheap but slow cookers or fast but prohibitively expensive cookers. Our company Sun Fire Cooking has identified a solar cooker which is fast yet affordable.

The butterfly solar cooker is used daily in Bosaso, to cook lunch and evening meals for households of eight or more people. Households in Bosaso using the solar cooker report that their monthly charcoal use has fallen from an average of four sacks of 25kg each to one sack of that size per month. This 75% reduction resulted in savings of 300,000 Somali shillings or more per month on charcoal purchases (about US$20 per month). In addition, many people have commented they prefer the taste of the food on the solar cooker because the flavor stays inside the pot and is not mixed with smoke as it is when cooking with charcoal. The cookers have a design life of 20 years. The first solar cooker, imported in 1998 is still in regular use in Bosaso and showing no sign of deterioration. pic

There is an additional benefit to the using solar cookers. The uncontrolled cutting of trees to make charcoal is having a devastating effect on the Somali land. This in turn has a devastating effect on the nomadic pastoralists whose sheep and goats form the backbone of the northern Somali economy. Solar cookers reduce the need to cut trees.

With funding from the United Nations and working in conjunction with the NGO Horn Relief our company, Sun Fire Cooking, is supplying 950 solar cookers to the town of Bander Beyla on the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Bander Beyla was damaged by the 2004 tsunami.

Every household in Bander Beyla will receive a solar cooker making it the world's first solar cooking town. Distribution has already started and already we are seeing results. One young woman says that she can now afford to send her 10 year old daughter to school. Another tells us that now she doesn't suffer from the smoke of the cooking fire and a third says she can now afford too boil water for her baby, another says she now longer worries about the time it takes to cook beans, a cheap and nutritious food while another is pleased she to no longer has to walk to the market to buy charcoal. A man describes his household's cooker as part of the family. We can tell that the solar cooker has already become part of peoples lives. On a rare rainy day people look anxiously at the sky wondering if they will be able to use their cooker.

These solar cookers are changing people's lives. They are also protecting the Somali environment and the Somali nomadic pastoral way of life.

Description of the Solar Cooker Sun Fire Cooking, is importing an affordable, efficient, sturdy, long-lasting solar cooker using a "butterfly" design, consisting of two parabolic mirrors which are used to focus the sun's heat. The primary advantage of this design is the fast cooking time in comparison to other types of solar cookers. Sun Fire Cooking's design is appealing to the user, with a heat output similar to that of a charcoal stove. Experiments demonstrated that the cooker boils a litre of water in 7 minutes. Other cookers designed for household use are considerably slower. The solar cookers are sturdy and stable, each weighing approximately 50 kg. The mirrors are made of cast iron coated with a durable (and repairable) reflective aluminum tape. Other components, including the wheels, are made of iron. There is an easy to use screw mechanism to adjust the tilt of the mirrors.

pic At the moment cookers are only available in Bosaso, but plans are underway to expand operations to other towns including Galkayo and Hargeisa. The solar cookers cost $200. This may seem expensive, but these cookers really work, have a payback time of 10 months and a design life of 20 years.

Payment can be made by cheque or bank transfer. Bank details are as follows:
Name of account: Sun Fire Cooking Inc
Account no. 0531760744
Bank of America: 496 Lake Park Ave, Oakland,
California 94610, USA
Telegraphic routing no: 026009593
Tel. 510 649 6600, 510 273 5402

Please make sure you send us an email (and receive our reply) before transferring any money. Email to

To learn more about the solar cooker please visit our website

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