For those of you, who often cook using the stove, you might not have thought to use a simple tool that can be used to cook food without using fire or electricity. In Kenya, there is a simple tool known as Fire-less Cooker. This cooking tool is made from a wicker basket with a protective layer that can keep the heat. It can be used by mothers to cook food, while they do other work in the garden or wash clothing.
The idea is, with this tool families can save on the use of traditional stoves (wood or oil). It is more efficient because it can keep food hot and warm. The fireless cooker functions more like a food warmer.
In 2012, one of MicroAid Community Facilitation Partner in Kenya, COSDEP, conducted a family training micro project “Learning to make a fireless cooker” with a group of poor Kenyan families. Read the project report here. Two years later, in June 2014, COSDEP managed to get a market opportunity to sell their product. Buyers wanted to resell their products to a broader market. Originally COSDEP has no plans to sell the product. They just wanted to learn how to make the product for their own use, but in the process their products are now in demand by many people, in Kenya and Nigeria!
Opportunities to sell the product were obtained after MicroAid published stories about the fireless cooker (http://blog.microaid.org) and passed it along through social media on facebook (MicroAid Projects) and twitter (@microaid). Simple steps on how to make a fireless cooker that can also be viewed and distributed to anyone on www.microaid.net
As of the time of writing, COSDEP is in negotiation process with buyers to determine a long term commission of future deals. Congratulations to the team COSDEP, you have managed to sell your fire-less cooker on the market. Good luck!
One more family group who increased their welfare through the MicroAid way!
This is groundbreaking work in Kenya. A new breakthrough; using a modified reed basket to cook or warm food. The mother-housewife can now have more time to take care of family or work in the garden, without having to spending many hours fetching firewood. This technology also reduces air pollution from firewood smoke.
One group of families who live in Amung’ang’a Village, Murang’a County, a central province of Kenya have now learnt how to make fireless cookers with MicroAid donations. Food warmer baskets are made of papyrus, which grows wild in the area and then covered with polythene. The walls are then filled with recycled scraps of fabric and covered with black cloth.
MicroAid Projects training was carried out with the coordination of Stanley Kinyanjui and his team at COSDEP Kenya. Giving knowledge in a way that is simple and easy to understand is very beneficial to the poor. Four women and one man who were participants of the MicroAid micro-project were very keen to participate as this simple technology was never known to them before .
Alice Wairimu Njuguna, a MicroAid beneficiary said: “I am glad to know how to make a fireless cooker. It is going to be of great help to me since I’ll be preparing enough food before going to work on the farm. I just place my mealy porridge in the basket and it is still warm by the time I come back. Less cooking for me and happier children”.
NOTE: A few points to note about Fireless Cookers (sources: http://practicalaction.org/fireless-cooker):
The “fireless cooker” uses stored heat to cook food over a long period of time. The food is cooked on a traditional stove, before it’s transferred to the fireless cooker. The cooker is well insulated, keeping the heat in the food and allowing it to continue cooking inside. A simple basket, insulated with local resources such as banana leaves or old clothes, can reduce fuel use by 40%, preserving scarce food and saving people hours of precious time
All materials are made of natural and easily accessible materials in the village. So no need to spend money on buying oil or electricity to cook food at home.
A simple idea; with simple technology that provides tremendous benefits for rural families. Thank you for the generosity of Vanessa, Toby and Katty who have funded this training. Your helping hand is very useful for the low income families of the world who need MicroAid (www.microaid.org).
Magdalena Parera, single parent, now has a small kiosk in front of her house. The stall comes from the profits of selling home baked cakes. Thank God, now she can also sell cakes made by her family and neighbors too. Before MicroAid training, Magdalena just left her cookies in the neighboring stall. Magdalena is no longer just a cake maker. Now she is more than just a producer, but now she is a seller and marketer of traditional home baked pastries and cakes.
Magdalena is one of the trainees who learned how to make snacks at home at Hewuli village, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia in July 2011. Prior to attending the training, Magdalena was a cassava crisp maker and selling her crisps in kiosks around her neighbourhood and at her children’s school. In the training, Magdalena and friends learnt how to make cookies and cakes. Kind of snacks like this has a higher value than cassava crisps.
One day after training, Magdalena and her friends made cookies and cakes to be sold in the bazaar which was held at the big Church in Maumere. (See photo below). Results were very satisfactory. Cakes sold at £4 with a gross profit of over £3 not including labour. The net profits ( after deduction of 50% for each producer) received from the sale in the bazaar were collected in group savings and used as capital together to develop the business of making pastries and cakes run with her friends.
To attract buyers, the sponge cake is decorated like a colorful birthday cake. Magdalena also sells cake for Christmas and New Year. These home baked cakes received an overwhelming response from the customers. Profits earnt by Magdalena ranged from £5 – £10 per day. Pretty impressive figures in this poor area of Indonesia where incomes on average are less than £2 per day.
Step by step, Magdalena collected the money from the sale of the cookies. The result is a beautiful kiosk built in front of her house. Currently Magdalena is also a motivator for other housewives. “I encourage my friends to make a change so that today must better than yesterday. I always say this to my friends when they visit my kiosk”, Magdalena.
Good luck Magdalena and another little job done by MicroAid.
Photo caption: Two mothers seemed to be learning to make fish traps. After being able to make their own tools, they can catch fish in the river and sell fish in the market.
Are you amazed by our 7 countries (Bangladesh, Burundi, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan & Uganda) and over 1,400 poor people helped? Do you like the fact we are a 100% developing country charity? We have no resources at all in the global north. That means we’re super cost effective, super relevant to the people we help. All on a tiny annual budget of £9,600 per year.
Please, on Jan 1st next year, we are losing our core funding from two generous individuals due to their own personal circumstance in 2013 and WE WILL CLOSE unless you step in to help.
We desperately need your support for 2013 to ensure MicroAid continues to reach the poorest of the poor with simple learning projects that people can do themselves. This is poverty eradication from the bottom up – by the poor themselves. It’s not about handouts or even hand ups – it’s about standing with people who are working their way out of poverty to help their family out of starvation, poor health and a subsistence way of life.
We just need 80 people to pledge only £10 / $16 per month.
Photo caption: Golbin was installing beads on the headscarf. Everyday she does this job as order from her customers.
Please can you give now to the MicroAid 2012 Christmas Appeal so we can keep delivering real hope to poor families and catalyse real action by the poor people themselves.
Give now at: www.charitygiving.co.uk/microaid
I’ve attached a full summary of all we’ve done with so little money in 2012. For the same amount of money that wouldn’t even pay a salary in the UK we’ve been able to run a fully optimised development charity across 7 countries.
MicroAid is an affordable, direct, bottom up, development aid charity that deserves to continue. Without you it will wither, please tell your friends and please give it your support.
Please download and read our MicroAid Family Stories 2012.
Thank you and MERRY CHRISTMAS from MicroAid.Make a monthly donation
Fransiska’s idea to create a family vegetable garden has inspired women in Wailiti to follow in her footsteps.
Fransiska is a housewife who received a MicroAid donor project in Vegetable Garden Training in early 2011 (read her story Skilled mother, happy family) with her neighbours. At that time, the idea to create a family vegetable garden received a negative response from many women in her village. They assumed that the land in Wailiti was not fertile and barren, so it could not be planted with vegetables. Wailiti is a village located by the sea on the island of Flores, overlooking the Indonesian Ocean. Fransiska’s house is just 50 metres from the beach.
Currently, less than 2 years after the idea was implemented by Fransiska, many women in Wailiti, even men and young people are following Fransiska idea to create a family vegetable garden. When you visit Wailiti now, there are many family vegetable gardens behind or beside the houses. Fransiska is currently also busy selling vegetable seeds to her neighbors who want to get broccoli, kale, mustard greens and corn seedlings. Now, Wailiti village is a green and lush. Who says that the land on the waterfront cannot be planted vegetables? Fransiska and friends have the answer.