Developed by engineers from 3M Corporation and manufactured in St Paul, MN, the Solavore Sport’s 13-year track record as a simple yet efficient, durable, high-quality solar oven makes it an ideal candidate on which to build wide-scale and rapid deployment of women-owned food-service enterprises starting in Haiti and expanding to other sun-rich resource-poor countries. Built for long use, simple construction and easy care, the "bake, stew, simmer" Solavore Sport oven serves well the American recreational market and aims for use and distribution in developing countries. In addition to Haiti, Solavore has already initiated activities in Kenya and Cambodia.
In our consortium, training on solar oven use, on the benefits of these in small business opportunities and on development of entrepreneurship skills are important aspects of the work. Those activities are to be carried out primarily in the "My Space" girls' clubs of the Haiti Adolescent Girls Network (HAGN), in Carrefour, and among small restaurant owners, market vendors and other budding female entrepreneurs in Cotes de Fer, where the hometown organization Konbit pou Developman Commune Kote de Fer (KDCK) is active. Dynamic Haitian and Haitian-American women lead the work in both of these. The head of KDCK is also the Haiti representative for Solavore. Technical backstopping and M&E support will be led by Solar Cookers International (SCI), which has research, projects and standard-setting aimed especially in relation to women in many countries.
Carrefour is a largely poverty-ridden urban agglomeration of about 500,000, built on steep hillsides to the south of Port-au-Prince. Under this project the new HAGN girls' clubs in four districts will be provided with USA-made solar ovens without charge in order for participants to develop experience in entrepreneurship, to earn money from cooked items and for HAGN and the project to aim toward stove sales and in due course local assembly and distribution of stoves. Cotes de Fer is a town of about 40,000 on Haiti's southern coast. The target beneficiaries there are women small-scale restaurant owners and market vendors who stand to benefit immediately from solar cooking. For these the main question will be outright purchases or payments over time, at (probably subsidized) prices yet to be determined.
Objectives of the "Sun-Powered Prosperity" project over a 3-year span are: expanded pilot implementation of Solavore solar ovens; technical and consumer testing of solar oven cooking and related guidance; trained cadre of skilled personnel, especially women and adolescent girls, as mentors and managers for food sales, monitoring, stove sales, business start-up and related work; and a scaled-up undertaking, focused on women's and adolescent girls' entrepreneurship. Contributing to success will be encouragement and support from Haiti Government ministries and others; inclusion as a regular part of team member and "friends of the project" institutions; follow-on grant support; and connection with green energy finance and microfinance.
OpenIDEO has not asked for a detailed project budget, but it can be said that first year expenses for personnel (at discounted rates), international and local travel, equipment (125 stoves & shipping), training, operations, office and miscellaneous have been costed on a provisional basis in relation to the five members of the consortium. Depending on funds available, this could be planned at about US$200 thousand per year, which would include some 40% in cost-sharing from our side.
We have posted several items as part of this proposal to illustrate and explain the experiences of each of our team members for advancement of the project, including an inspiring video by the HAGN Executive Director, a feedback interview with a solar oven user, a speech at the United Nations by the PPAF Executive Director, a competition "pitch" and a visit to the Solavore factory, an article that won a prize and is accepted for publication from the head of KDCK, and photos, tables, text and maps from all concerned. Planned steps for the project are summarized in the User Experience Map.
We are grateful to those who have commented on our project proposal. Our responses and further thinking led to several of the postings mentioned above, in particular as concerns use, acceptability and feedback on the demand side of the equation and details of perspective and competence on the supply side. We are especially glad to have received very supportive comments from Patricia McArdle and Paul Funk, who are notable professionals in the field of solar cooking.