This project aims at promoting a better use of solar energy for the poor, particularly in rural areas and small islands. While extreme poverty affects respectively about 3%, 33% and 54% of the populations in Morocco, Senegal, and the Republic of Congo, and even 67% in Madagascar and Haiti (World Bank source), the project is to install solar ovens (with greenhouse effect) within families, through school children and their mothers, and to ensure training and lasting results, while creating local jobs.

Thermosolar energy can thus be used locally, with solidarity and devolution in mind, and with social, economic and environmental benefits, in support of visible and tangible sustainable development results. The project is expected to directly benefit women.

The project

The project aims at installing solar ovens with greenhouse effect mainly in Maghreb, western Africa, central Africa, and the Indian ocean (e.g. Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Madagascar) and also Haiti. Such actions are conducted in Marocco and Senegal. This includes ovens production, transport, installation, and actions to ensure lasting results (e.g. maintenance, training of trainers). This also represents social, environmental and economic benefits, with a return on the investment of about two years.

It is expected that this project will have a leverage effect, thanks to supplementary territorial financing and actions. Local production and distribution by self-entrepreneurs is the ultimate objective, including the creation if lasting jobs.

The project is to be conducted in partnership with NGOs and national and territorial authorities of the receiving countries (e.g. ministries of education and of environment, school directors and village chiefs) and in consultation with relevant authorities and embassies.

Accumulated experience

This project benefits of the considerable experience accumulated in Cerdagne (Pyrénées Orientales) concerning solar energy in general, and solar ovens (with greenhouse effect) in particular. The technique (efficiency of the ovens, production of the ovens, solar cooking) is fully mastered. The management of such a project was conducted in Morocco and Senegal (Annex 2 Morocco and Annex 2 Senegal) For instance, with the pilot installation of 150 solar ovens, constructed by children in schools of Morocco, in partnership with the Mohammed VI Foundation for Research on and Saving of the Argan tree and the Monaco Prince Albert II Foundation. This experience was recognized by a price given by the French Minister of Ecology to the FSD enterprise.

Sustainable development : multiple social, environmental and economic benefits

The project contributes to sustainable development through social, environmental and economic benefits.

  • Social benefits include improved health for women, improved education and schooling of children, job creation, and reduced poverty. For instance, reduced effects of cooking fumes on eyes and respiratory diseases for women and reduced wood collection efforts for women and children, permitting better schooling of children.
  • Environmental benefits concern several local and international issues: climate change, with a reduced use of fossil fuels; biodiversity, with reduced use of wood and deforestation; soil protection and prevention of erosion.
  • Economic benefits include a high benefit-cost ratio (investment recovered in less than two years), thanks to reduced use of fossil fuels (wood, gas) for cooking, replaced by free and renewable solar energy, and also local job creation. For instance reduced costs of cooking have been achieved in Morocco by use of solar ovens. The project thus reduces the cooking costs of the poor, at a time of high or rising world food and energy prices , which are of specific concern for the G20.

This project responds to sustainable development and green economy concerns, which are at the very heart of the recent Rio+20 Summit.