The Fruition of a Dream for Self-Sustainability

Solar Cookers, Afghanistan

We introduced the solar cooker to this region because deforestation has compounded the problems of aridness and erosion. Many families in the surrounding area have learned the value of solar cookers and are using them to easily cook food and boil water. These families have invested their own money to buy solar cookers in order to save money in the long run and to make their lives easier—especially for women, because the burden of collecting firewood and cooking falls on them.

Not only have many families learned how to use these solar cookers, some people have started a solar cooker business to make an income for themselves. For example, some people use the solar cookers to make tea during the day in their tea house. Tea houses are the cornerstone of Afghan society. Others use them to cook food and sell meals of rice and dal (dried lentils).

Our project was originally started by Gordon, our late GHNI staff member. His dream and vision was to have the solar project become self-sustainable. With its success, others have started to import solar cookers and even produce them locally. This local market has taken over the responsibility of providing cheap and clean alternatives to heating water and cooking. Now the time has come for GHNI to exit this area and focus on other areas in greater need.

This project has become an income-neutral endeavour (we neither made money, nor lost money). We successfully introduced a technology that will dramatically improve the lives of families, not just in the region, but in all of Afghanistan. In keeping with the original intent of the project, GHNI-Afghanistan distributed the last 30 solar cookers from our inventories to families who could not afford them. More specifically, we gave the remaining solar cookers to families of police and military who lost their lives fighting extremists. This will ease the burden on the widows and orphaned children left behind.

We appreciate your original participation in this project and your patience, as it took many twists and turns. Everyone was very satisfied with the outcome of the project, especially those who saw the value of the solar cookers and purchased them, and the families of those who lost their lives in the line of fire. Thank you for making this dream of the grandfather of community development, Gordon, become a reality. His influence has outlived him and will outlive this GHNI project. From the bottom of our hearts, we say, “THANK YOU!”

The GHNI-Afghanistan Team