Solar Cookers Produce More Than Food for Mexican Women

Solar cookers function as a sort of greenhouse that cooks food by concentrating heat. They are are low-tech devices that use reflective panels to focus sunlight on a pot set in the middle.

By Emilio Godoy
VILLA DE ZAACHILA, Mexico, Oct 30 2019 (IPS)

The sun’s rays are also used to cook food and thus replace the
burning of firewood and gas, improve the health of local residents
and fuel the energy transition towards the use of renewable sources
– the objectives of an enterprise in the southern Mexican state
of Oaxaca.

Sponsored by the Washington-based non-governmental organisation
Solar Household Energy (SHE), women from 10 communities have
received some 200 solar cookers, including residents of the
municipality of Villa de Zaachila, which has about 43,000
inhabitants.

Solar cookers function as a sort of greenhouse that cooks food
by concentrating heat. They are are low-tech devices that use
reflective panels to focus sunlight on a pot set in the middle.

 

 

The pot “uses as fuel the sun’s rays, which are totally
free, are 100 percent clean, do not emit carbon dioxide and thus
promote the energy transition. The technique foments women’s
empowerment, makes it possible to cook healthy foods and keeps
women from inhaling smoke from burning firewood,” explains
Margarita Christlieb, SHE’s representative in Mexico.

In 2004, the first attempts began to distribute solar cookers in
Oaxaca. In 2008, activists created the initiative “Solar energy
for mobile food stalls in Mexico”, sponsored by three Swiss
institutions: the Geneva city government, the SolarSpar cooperative
and the non-governmental organisation GloboSol.

In 2016, SHE initiated a pilot project in indigenous communities
to evaluate how well the solar cookers had been accepted.

The four-litre pot, which has a useful life of between five and
10 years, costs about 25 dollars, of which SHE covers half and the
beneficiaries the other half.

Some 19 million of Mexico’s 130 million people use solid fuels
for cooking, a practice that led to an estimated 15,000 premature
deaths in 2016 from the ingestion of harmful particles, according
to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).

The main material consumed by 79 percent of these households is
LPG, followed by wood or charcoal (11 percent) and natural gas
(seven percent).

In Oaxaca, gas and firewood each account for 49 percent of
household consumption, with other fuels making up the rest. It is
one of the three Mexican states with the greatest energy poverty,
defined as more than 10 percent of a household’s income spent on
energy.

The promoters of the initiative are betting on expanding the
delivery of the devices. But to do so they need government and
private support, as part of a broader policy fomenting the use of
solar energy.

 

The post
Solar Cookers Produce More Than Food for Mexican Women
appeared
first on Inter Press
Service
.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Solar Cookers Produce More Than Food for Mexican Women