Correspondence on solar cooking resources

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					                                                                     Case Study 6




Correspondence on solar cooking resources:
Introduction:
These e-mails were sent between various members of different organinsations who are
all interestted in promoting the use of solar cooking. They pose and answer questions to
discover why the technology has not been as widely supported as we would like and
what could perhaps be done to change this.
We have included these to provide examples of the difficult questions you may
sometimes be asked about a new technology for which the benefits seem obvious. It
provides an iteresting window into a highly professional debate.


E-mail Correspondence:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Darwin Curtis"
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Subject: Evaluation For Darfur


Colleagues

If there is one reason we have had such difficulty in the avocation of solar
cooking, it is lack of sufficient proof that it works and that it is
culturally acceptable. By “proof,” I mean formal, scientific, peer reviewed
studies. (Anecdotal evidence won¹t do.) We have very few such studies and
they are modest in scope. Not impressive enough to have helped us much. A
major reason we don¹t have more evaluations is that they are very expensive
and difficult to conduct.

The most important introduction of solar cooking technology today was in Darfur
refugee camps.
This was occurring on an unprecedented scale which would provide
ample data for evaluation. Because of the notoriety of the
Darfur tragedy, a formal evaluation of solar cooking efficiency and cultural
acceptance there would have important impact useful to solar cooking
advocates everywhere.

Dar


From: Derk Rijks
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007
To: Darwin Curtis;



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Subject: Re: Evaluation For Darfur


Bonjour Darwin,
Thank you for your message. And for mentioning a point that certainly is of
great interest.
There will be an evaluation of our project in October. There will be a critical
report, established by persons from about eight different national and
international institutions. It is not designed to be a "formal, scientific, peer
reviewed" study.
In respect of such a study in the places where I have been working, if it were to
be done, I would like it done by a person that has, among other capabilities, all
or most of the following qualities:
- a reputation (such as confirmed by offers for employment by reputable
international scientific and neutral-political institutions) as a thorough scientist,
or group of scientists, with experience in work in countries in Africa, Asia
and/or South America;
- experience in working day-to-day with people that live in the very basic
conditions in the African countryside;
- a "gut-feeling" for the problems that are daily concern for such people and that
influence the wording of the answers they give to any questions;
- a solid list of peer reviewed articles;
- the required language capabilities or most of these;
- patience, especially in respect of obtaining the "real" responses to the questions
that are being asked;
- the scientific capability of judging the intrinsic value of responses that are not
numerical in the western sense, but that are truths to be included obligatorily in
the analyses;
and so on.
Furthermore, it can either be
A. a study of the acceptance and use in the refugee camp situation, or
BBB. a more encompassing study on the use of solar cooking.
In the latter case the use of the experience in refugee camps may be insufficient,
because of several reasons: the situation in the camps is special; there are no
other options; the alternative is great physical harm; the history and mode of
implementation has been and is very special, not necessarily applicable in other
places.



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In conclusion, I would be very happy with a good scientific study, but I'd like it
to be done only if it can be done with the utmost proven professionalism. The
outcome is far too important to gamble with that.
Yours sincerely, Derk


----- Original Message -----
From: Patricia Mcardle
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 5:30 PM
Subject: Re: Darfur

Derk,

I will be meeting next week with the Director of the Office of Economic &
Development Affairs, Bureau of International Organizations at the U.S. Department of
State. Also attending will be members of his staff who work with the Food and
Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program. This meeting will be another
in my ongoing series of meetings and power point presentations on solar cookers with
USG officials as I attempt (so far without success) to convince someone in authority at
State, USAID or the Peace Corps to begin supporting solar cooker projects in Darfur or
in other parts of the developing world where there is simply no firewood left to burn.

AS LONG AS WE WESTERNERS HAVE MEANS TO COOK WITH EXTERNAL
ENERGY, WE MAY NOT GRASP THIS. ONE NEEDS TO BE CONFRONTED
WITH REALITY OF LIFE TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO REALITIES OF LIFE. BUT I
TOTALLY SUPPORT YOUR INSISTENCE ON GOING ON TRYING

With your success in Iridimi, you appear to have developed a model that could be
duplicated many times over if the funding and proper supervision were availalbe. In
my talks with USG officials, I always emphasize that solar cookers should be part of the
"integrated cooking method <http://www.integratedsolarcooking.com/about.asp> "
which has worked so well in your project to dramatically reduce fuel consumption. I
TOTALLY AGREE WITH THAT I do this because one of the first comments I hear at
the end of every presentations is: "but, you can't use solar cookers at night or in the
rain". This leads us into a discussion of integrated cooking and allows me to make my
point that, "it makes no sense whatsoever to burn up precious supplies of wood or dung
whenever the sun is shining." They usually get the point.

Among the many questions I am asked every time I make my solar cooker presentation
to USG officials are:
-Do the women continue to use the cookers after the project organizers move on? How
do you know?

WE HAVE CREATED AN AFTER SALES SERVICE (SERVICE APRES VENTE,
SAV) AMONG THE REFUGEE WOMEN IN THE CAMP WITH A REFUGEE



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WOMEN CHIEF. OUR TCHADIEN STAFF OBSERVE DAILY WHAT HAPPENS,
DURING THEIR WALKS THOUGH THE CAMP. IT IS TRUE THAT ALL THOSE
THAT JUST DRIVE THROUGH THE CAMP MAY NOT SEE THE REALITIES OF
SOLAR COOKING, BECAUSE IT GETS DONE WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL
COMPOUNDS, AND THE "DRIVING ROUTES' THROUGH THE CAMP DO NOT
GET TO THAT CLOSE TO THAT DETAIL. I ALSO ALWAYS WALK. IT MAKES
ALSO THAT PEOPLE WALK ALONG WITH YOU, SO YOU CAN TALK AND
GET INFORMATION YOU WOULD NOT GET OTHERWISE.

-How do the women handle the manufacture, funding and distribution of replacement
and repair parts?

THE ARTISANS IN THE WORKSHOP IN IRIDIMI CONTINUE TO WORK USING
THE PROCEDURES THEY HAVE BEEN TAUGHT AND THAT THEY NOW
MASTER. WHENEVER I GO THERE, I INSIST ON THE NEED TO PROVIDE
QUALITY MANUFACTURE, SO THAT COOKERS MAY LAST LONGER. THE
PROJECT PROVIDES THE MATERIALS THAT CAN NOT BE OBTAINED
LOCALLY. THE PROJECT PAYS THE SALARIES. THE CHIEF OF SAV AND
ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ARTISAN TEAM, ASSISTED AND
SUPPORTED BY THE TCHADIAN PROJECT STAFF, JUDGE WHETHER
REPLACEMENT IS NECESSARY. REPAIRS ARE DONE BY THE TEAM OF 2
SAV STAFF IN EACH OF THE TEN ZONES, IF POSSIBLE. IF NOT, WOMEN GO
TO THE WORKSHOP FOR MAJOR THINGS. A LIST OF NAMES OF PERSONS
COMING IN TO ASK REPLACEMENT COOKERS IS BEING KEPT BY ONE OF
THE PROJECT STAFF TO AVOID EXCESSES.

-How much fuel are they saving? How is this measured?

WE WESTERNERS ARE OBSESSED BY MEASUREMENTS IN MM AND KG.
MOST OF THE RURAL SOCIETY IN AFRICA, FROM WHICH MOST REFUGEES
ORIGINATE, IS BASED ON HUMAN RELATIONS AND CONDITIONS FOR
HUMAN WELLBEING. WOMEN IN THE CAMP MEASURE THE NEED FOR
FIREWOOD NOT IN KILOGRAMS PER PERSON PER DAY, BUT IN THE
NUMBER OF TIMES PER WEEK THEY HAVE TO GO OUT TO SEARCH FOR
WOOD AND THE VERY REAL DANGERS THEY FACE IN THAT TASK. IF
THEY TELL ME THAT THEY USED TO GO OUT TWO OR THREE TIMES PER
WEEK, AND NOW NEED TO GO OUT ONLY ONCE A WEEK OR EVEN LESS,
TO ME THAT IS A MUCH MORE VALID ESTIMATE OF THE WOOD SAVED
AND (VALUE OF) THE EFFECT OF SOLAR COOKING. AND I CAN VERIFY
THAT STATEMENT BY SEEING HOW OFTEN THEY ARE IN REALITY IN
THEIR COMPOUNDS LOOKING AFTER THEIR CHILDREN OR DOING
HANDIWORK WHILE THEIR FOOD IS BEING SOLAR COOKED.
I can send you a photo of the wood collected on a day by 2 little girls because their
mother did no longer dare to go out herself to search

I DID MY PH.D. ON VERY PRECISE MEASUREMENTS AND USE OF SOLAR



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RADIATION. AFRICA HAS TAUGHT ME SINCE THAT TIME THAT THERE IS
MORE TO LIFE THAN JOULES AND CALORIES PER SQUARE CENTIMETER.

IT IS TRUE THAT SUCH A MEASURE IS NOT NECESSARILY TRANSPOSABLE
TO OTHER SITUATIONS WHERE SOLAR COOKING IS PROPOSED. BUT FOR
THE TIME BEING I AM ONLY WORKING IN THIS SITUATION. WE HAVE
TRIED TO HELP ABOUT 5000 WOMEN, THERE ARE ANOTHER 35,000
WAITING. AFTER THAT I MAY WORRY ABOUT KILOGRAMS. BUT THAT
DOES NOT NEED TO PREVENT OTHERS TO THINK ABOUT IT IF THEY WISH.

USG officials are always looking for objective evaluations with metrics which they can
use to justify the expenditure of funds. I have explained to them many times that most
small NGOs cannot afford to carry out detailed follow-up studies of their projects, much
less commission an outside group to do such a study. Benn's group might be able to
provide such an independent assessment with metrics that would provide a convincing
supplement to the evaluation you and your team will carry out in October. Another
proposal I could make next week is that the State Department provide the money to
fund an evaluation of an existing project. What do you think about that idea?

Regards,
Pat


Patricia McArdle
"Qatra qatra darya mesha."
Drop by drop it becomes a river.
--Afghan proverb



----- Original Message -----
From: Roger Stern To: rijks.agrometeo ; Patricia Mcardle
Cc: parin charania Carlos Barahona
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 9:42 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Darfur correspondence

Dear Patricia and Derk,

Patricia I work in the Statistical Services Centre at the University of Reading in England. I
have been copied on this interesting correspondence concerning evaluation of the solar
cooking. One of my interests is in analysing climatic data and I have worked with Derk for
many years.

I have a small request.




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Our centre is preparing training notes on a new-style statistics course for the National
Statistical System in SADC countries. We will be including climatic examples.

One session (3 hours) will be used to introduce the general problems associated with solar
cooking. Then we will use later sessions to consider how to analyse the sunshine data to
assess what proportion of days cooking in the morning and afternoon is possible. We have
hourly records from station in Botswana and Kenya as examples. It is also an interesting
instance (for us) of data that is usually not yet available, except in paper form. Daily
sunshine records are usually computerised, but not the hourly records.

Anyway my request. This message with Derk's reply would be excellent to include in that
introductory session. It illustrates the need to collect evidence and also what should be
measured, to satisfy local as well as broader needs. Just the sort of thing we need, in its
own right, and as a general point.

Could we please use this correspondence in our training? Most of our resources will be
UNESCO-style "Open educational". We will of course explain the source and Patricia, if
this is OK I would therefore need to know more than your name.

Would that be alright?

Roger


Roger Stern
Principal Biometrician
Statistical Services Centre, The University of Reading,
P.O. Box 240, Reading, RG6 6FN, United Kingdom
Tel: +44/0 118 931 6421
Fax: +44/0 118 975 3169
Web page: www.ssc.rdg.ac.uk <http://www.ssc.rdg.ac.uk>


On Aug 9, 2007, at 4:31 AM,
Derk Rijks. wrote:
Roger, Thank you. As far as I am concerned, of course, you can use this.
Derk



"Patricia Mcardle" wrote:
Roger,
Please feel free to use any of the information in my messages below. This Solar
Cookers International Wiki weblink




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<http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Patricia_McArdle> will provide information on
my background.
If you will be examining problems associated with solar cooking, I caution you against
relying on the data provided by the UK's Practical Action
<http://practicalaction.org/docs/technical_information_service/solar-cooking.pdf> .
 They recently updated their policy paper on solar cooking. My colleagues and I have
reviewed their updated paper and we have found a number of significant factual errors.
I would be happy to provide you with our observations on this subject.
Regards,
Pat

Patricia McArdle
"Qatra qatra darya mesha."
Drop by drop it becomes a river.
--Afghan proverb


Roger

By all means use my stuff.

I would second Pat’s caution about the inaccurate or dated material on solar
cooking produced by Practical Action.

(Time was when solar cookers had been introduced in areas where the amount
of available solar energy was inadequate. Upon resulting failures, the
technology itself was often pronounced inadequate. It is not, as has been
demonstrated frequently in more recent times. Perhaps the most spectacular
example of its viability is the project Derk is conducting with Darfur refugees
now.)

Incidentally, several years ago NASA responded to our request for insolation
data with a web site which has been very useful to us. On the outside chance it
has not come to your attention, it is at: http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/sse/. It is, of
course, critical for us to know with maximum exactitude the degree of insolation
at any location where the promotion of solar cooking is under consideration.
Should we be checking with you, too?

Dar Curtis
Solar Household Energy, Inc.
www.she-inc.org




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