We've talked a lot about solar cookers. Not only are they highly effective, they also help to preserve natural resources, they allow girls to spend more time in school,and they have radically reduced the instances of sexual attacks — as girls do not have to leave the camp so regularly to collect firewood. 5,520 solar cookers have been distributed so far and the effects have been simply incredible. But solar cookers need one vital support system — the sun. So during the rainy season, with stormy landscapes and cloudy skies lasting from June to October, the cookers are relegated to occasional use. During this time, the inefficient 'three stone' method is used for cooking — but that returns to the need for additional firewood and, in turn, time spent out of the camp collecting it with girls vulnerable to attack.

We needed to find an alternative — operating efficiently, with less firewood, and so ensuring that firewood trips were limited, and girls remained safe and in education. A pilot scheme with Afrah ovens, in operation in eastern Chad since 2010, was identified as the perfect choice. Afrah ovens have a metal exterior (made from recycled metal cans or casks) and are filled with a mixture of local clay and cow dung. The unit is 50% more energy efficient and uses less wood than the current alternative, the three stone method, and is more durable: with a life expectancy of three to five years. A manufacturing workshop has been established, training is underway and the first ovens will be available prior to the beginning of the rainy season; with 2,520 of the ovens being constructed, distributed and in daily use by the end
of the year.

The Afrah ovens will partner perfectly with the solar cookers, to provide a year round, energy efficient, cooking solution — whatever the weather.