The power of the sun holds the key to at least some of the challenges facing Sudanese refugees Eastern Chad.

“Not only will this make a great contribution to protecting the environment, it will reduce girls and women domestic workload giving them time to study. Importantly it will greatly reduce the daily risk of rape or violent attack as women venture out of the camp in search of a dwindling resource - firewood, for cooking and for warmth.”

Some 250,000 Sudanese have crossed the border from Sudan into Chad since the eruption of violence in the Darfur region in 2003. Inevitably, tensions rise between these new encamped communities and the local Chadian population. Not only is competition over scarce firewood for cooking and heating a common cause of conflict between the two communities, but it also leaves women exposed to the risk of violence when they travel the ever-increasing distances necessary to collect it.

Due to the high population density, few trees are left in the vicinity of the  refugee camps resulting in it taking on average 10 hours to collect the wood needed for cooking and warmth. 

In Farchana Camps, with funding from Jewish World Watch, Cord has been rolling out the ‘Cookit’ - a completely solar powered solution which can be left unattended while food is cooking. The Cookit is able to cook a wide variety of foods including tea, millet, beans, meat stews, roast meats, eggs, cake, bread, rice and potatoes.

It not only has the power to reduce tensions between the communities but also allows women and girls to carry out other activities while food is cooking. Reducing the need for women to be away from the camp for long periods reduced their exposure to the risk of violence and prevents further decline of natural resources. It also frees time for girls to be part of Cord’s education programme. Quite a groundbreaking solution!