50 sign up in San Benito!
On 25th June two volunteers and the director made the hour-long journey from Cochabamba to the village of San Benito. At the local school, the middle-of-year meeting was in full swing, the students waiting patiently for their winter holidays, which begin tomorrow. CEDESOL director David Whitfield was given first slot at the meeting, and explained this exciting new CEDESOL project.
As previously reported, Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society have subsidized the process so that fifty people will become proficient with solar cooking. This investment in healthier lives and a cleaner environment costs KTS 1,600 Bolivianos per beneficiary once logistics, trainings and follow-up are taken into account. Normally, CEDESOL subsidize the cost so that a solar oven can be purchased for 560Bs. The KTS project, however, offers further support subject to the active participation of San Benito villagers in a series of training courses. Sessions on how to use the stoves will be held once every two weeks for a period of three months, during which users of the new ovens will keep a diary of their cooking and fuel usage. Participation in the training sessions means that the beneficiaries will pay just 200Bs for a new solar cooker, and everyone who successfully completes all the course requirements will also earn a stainless steel cooking pot.
When the meeting finished, it was evident that David´s talk had generated a lot of interest. Our volunteers fielded many questions on the cookers, and took names, phone numbers and signatures for fifty people. The training sessions will soon be arranged. We drove back to Cochabamba satisfied with having reached our target for the day!
40 new recipients trained in World Vision project in Macharetí
Four CEDESOL staff members and volunteers made the 17 hour journey from Cochabamba to the village of Macharetí, in the Department of Chuqisaca in the far South-East of Bolivia, to give a training session as part of a project funded by World Vision . Forty stoves, which are being provided to villagers from the region at no cost, had already been transported there the previous week. The group arrived on the evening of Sunday 5th July, and after a day of making final adjustments to the stoves, meeting with and giving instructions to World Vision staff, held the beneficiaries´ training session on Tuesday 7th.
Macharetí lies on the edge of the Chaco, the vast, flat region that stretches into Paraguay and is one of Bolivia´s driest and most resource-scarce. It also, however, enjoys many hours of reliable sunlight, and is therefore ideal for the use of solar cookers. The people who attended the course were all full of enthusiasm for the improvements the cookers will make to their lives...
A whole selection of foods, ranging from soups to cakes, were made in the cookers, and director David Whitfield gave talks on the use of the stoves and the principles of solar heat transfer. The recipients were all given forms on which to record their usage of their new ovens over the next month. This should help us to monitor their level of usage – figures are currently very encouraging, showing that the stoves are used five times a week by a large percentage of the people.
A “WATER FAIR” was held a couple of weeks after the training. World Vision surprised CEDESOL with an excited phone call about how the solar cookers had “stolen the show”. All the TV stations did interviews with the participants who proudly demonstrated how they were now cooking with less wood fuel and more importantly LESS WATER, in the drought ravaged Municipality.
Great response to Macharetí project
Since CEDESOL´s successful visit to Macharetí, where we distributed forty solar cookers to the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, we have been getting very positive feedback. The principal funders of the project, World Vision, have since carried out an event that aims to further demonstrate how better to reduce usage of water and fuel (when using their solar cookers in combination with original wood-burning stoves). We have been gaining reports that people in Santa Cruz, the nearest big city to Macahréti, have seen the resultant newscast and that CEDESOL´s influence is reaching further afield...
Solar cookers delivered to San Benito
On Friday 23rd July the big day finally came for fifty inhabitants of San Benito, one hour outside Cochabamba, as their solar cookers were delivered on a large flat-bed truck. Five CEDESOL staff also went to San Benito that day, and conducted a further training session on the use of the cookers. At the end of the day we collected the questionnaires they had been filling out during the afternoon. These are very useful research for future as they ask questions like “What is the most common food you cook?” and “How many people do you usually cook for?” It also aims to get some idea of the peoples´ level of understanding of the threat posed by climate change.
The day ended very positively, with the beneficiaries all heading home with their new cookers, excited at the improved quality of life that these bring. They will now be sure to tell friends and family, and CEDESOL´s message will spread….