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msafiri 78 SOLAR POWER Solar Entrepreneurs Programme in the Northern Provinces of South Africa. l1 MFUWE SOLAR COOKER PROJECT The Mfuwe Solar Cooker Project started when Manda Chisanga, a guide at Mfuwe Lodge, won the Bill Morrison guiding award run by the UK based Wanderlust magazine. Manda had heard about Solar Cookers from visiting guests and decided to spend his prize money on a project alleviating an increasingly serious situation facing his community. Mfuwe village is located at the entrance to the South Luangwa National Park – widely regarded as one of the most pristine environments anywhere in Africa. Mfuwe village comprises around 15,000 people and is separated from the animals in the park only by the Luangwa River and a small strip of land known as a " game management area". The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in fatal human- animal encounters occurring mostly between elephants and women and children out collecting firewood for their families. At least ten people a year are killed in these encounters and many more are severely injured, representing a serious problem for the community, the game lodges and the animals in the park. The Mfuwe Solar Cooker Project aims to improve this situation by introducing 500 to 1,000 SunFire14 Parabolic Dishes, drastically reducing the chances of human- animal encounters. Solar Cookers are estimated to save between 50 to 60 % of firewood needed by users on a daily basis. The area is increasingly denuded of trees, forcing firewood collectors to walk further and further each day. Human- animal conflicts are sure to become more commonplace as competition grows for the dwindling natural resources. absorption) is placed. These cookers have recorded temperatures of 220 º C. The heat is immediately available as the dish is aligned ( it needs adjustment every 30 minutes) to the sun, making these models perfect for omelettes or frying. The SunFire14 Parabolic Dish is able to boil a litre of water in eight minutes; once the water is boiling, cooking times are the same as a conventional cooking appliance. THE BOX COOKER The Box Cooker or oven designs work on the same principle as greenhouses. Light is allowed into the oven chamber ( reflectors can also be used) through a clear glass or plastic lid and is contained within the box, generating enough heat to cook. Box Cookers range from basic models that can be made by the user, to high quality ovens matching conventional ovens for baking and roasting. ON A LARGER SCALE The last types of Solar Cooker system currently available are able to cook for between 200 to 30,000 people a day and are suitable for schools, prisons, hotels or other places where large numbers of people are catered for daily. These systems involve placing large parabolics on rooftops to concentrate light onto a tank heating oil or water ( converted to steam) which is then piped down into conventional kitchens for cooking. These systems are able to store energy long after dark in the oil or steam but are only suitable for large- scale applications. TWO CASE STUDIES Two notable solar projects currently under way in Africa are the Mfuwe Solar Cooker Project based in the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia and the l1 Saves time ( spent on wood collection) which can be spent on other tasks l2 Reduces the workload of women and children l3 Saves money because less other fuel is used l4 Are healthier because no smoke is produced, causing diseases of the respiratory organs and inflammation of the eyes l5 Cooks healthy food because little or no water or oil is needed l6 Is safe because there are no risks of fires and burns, or children swallowing paraffin l7 Can be used to purify water l8 Creates a new industry with local jobs l9 Uses renewable energy – the sun, which is free of charge l10 Protects the environment 10 reasons to use a solar cooker

msafiri 79 ABOVE: A sizzling success, solar cookers have already revolutionised the lives of many LEFT: Firewood is still the daily fuel for over 2 billion people and accounts for 15- 18% of global primary energy consumption. Solar Cookers not only conserve the environment but can potentially be life-savers, preventing some of the deaths associated with firewood collecting in areas of dangerous wildlife all photos: tina stallard/ www. tinastallard. com