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Energizing Haiti: solar and biogas for peace, prosperity and the planet.

Our consortium will launch a social enterprise to locally manufacture and sell Renewable Energy Cooking Solutions (solar/biogas) in Haiti.

Photo of Sophie Lyman

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The heavy dependence of Haitian families on charcoal or wood for preparing their daily meals has created a national crisis, notably severe deforestation contributing to land erosion and poverty, and conflict-creating illegal logging and charcoal trafficking along the Dominican Republic border. Our consortium will be using a human-centered design approach to launch a Haitian social enterprise to manufacture and sell renewable energy cooking solutions (RECS: solar and heat-retention cookers, and biogas biodigesters & stoves) in Haiti, building upon our consortium's previous work, including a 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge short-listed project. Our RECS have proven themselves to be appropriate technologies for Haitians thanks to successful pilot projects in Haiti, success around the world, and their ability to be manufactured in Haiti at low cost. They are powerful, durable (lasting 10-15 years) units and their fuels: sunshine and biogas from the digestion of local organic waste, are free and available everywhere. Biodigesters also produce excellent fertilizer. The social enterprise will be headquartered and managed by a Haitian University, and integrated into its Bioscience degree program. Students will help manufacture, promote, retail, install, and service these products in local communities, collecting user (customer) feedback to ensure inclusive design of products and enterprise operations at every stage. Three other Haitian organizations working in low-income communities in the capital and three towns (two on the border) with successful solar and biogas pilot projects will also contribute to optimizing distribution design methods, including product financing mechanisms, with the goal of creating a standardized distribution plan (with feedback management and customer service), such that the enterprise can partner with any interested retailer or organization to sustainably sell renewable energy cooking solutions while maximizing long-term adoption and impact.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

RECS products will first be sold at, and around, the enterprise headquarters in Hinche, and in Port-au-Prince, Cotes-de-Fer, and two towns experiencing charcoal-related conflicts on the border: Tilori and Anse-a-Pitres. However, RECS will be available for purchase to anyone in Haiti. Through enterprise growth, we hope to eventually reach many of the 93% of Haitians (women cooks in particular) who cook with wood & charcoal. RECS users will enjoy significant fuel and financial savings, improved health through reduced cooking smoke exposure, and fertile soils from biodigester slurry. This project will benefit the University and all its future students, by enabling the development (including infrastructure) of its Bioscience degree program. It will create jobs for enterprise employees (manufacturing, management), as well as retail/marketing jobs, starting with community members from our 3 Haitian organizations working in low-income communities, and later expanding to other partners.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Solar & biogas stoves/biodigesters are not commercially available in Haiti (GACC), having been introduced mainly through aid programs. The social enterprise will be a more long term, sustainable, and scalable approach. Integrating the enterprise into the University Biosciences program harnesses students' creativity, scientific expertise, and academic duties to ensure inclusive design (with feedback from students and users (mostly women)) of products and enterprise operations, with additional research on marketing & distribution design provided by three Haitian org's working in different settings. Local manufacture of multiple products allows for cost reductions, Haitian design and ownership of products, easy repair, and meeting individualized consumer needs for long-term adoption. Fuels (sunshine and biogas from local waste) are free and available everywhere, important advantages in a country with high tariffs on imported stoves and fuels, and poor infrastructure for fuel transport.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Since 1998, Solar Household Energy (SHE) has leveraged the power of solar cooking to improve social, economic and environmental conditions in sun-rich areas around the world, through working with non-governmental organizations, entrepreneurs and public sector entities to promote solar cooking with modern solar cookers, including the “HotPot” developed by SHE (with nearly 40,000 HotPots sold by Mexican company empowered by SHE).

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

UNDH-H’s Vice-Rector (V-R) invited KDCK/Solavore & Solar CITIES Biogas to train students (11/2017) on solar cooking, biodigesters & biogas, & build a 275 gal. digester. They donated 3 solar ovens & awarded 69 certificates. A very active student committee formed. The V-R sees solar & biogas integral to social justice, health & environment, included in biosciences & nursing at UNDH, & business for graduates. SHE’s Haiti/DR border experience & PPAF links to collaborators completed the inspiration.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The heavy dependence of Haitian families on charcoal or wood for preparing their daily meals has created a national crisis with repercussions on peace, prosperity and the planet. Deforestation, erosion and crippling natural disasters have reduced Haiti’s forest cover to less than 4% (FAO), mainly due to the use of wood products so 93% of Haitians can meet their energy needs for cooking (GACC). Illegal logging and charcoal trafficking along the border with the Dominican Republic gives rise to further environmental degradation in the DR, conflicts, and sometimes violence. Haiti's extreme poverty levels are due in part to loss of arable land from erosion, and families spending a significant portion of their income to purchase charcoal. Migrations of Haitians escaping poverty to the DR are now being reversed by official DR policy, with more than 260,000 Haitians being deported or leaving voluntarily, resulting in make-shift camps with little access to water, food, sanitation or healthcare.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Université de Notre Dame d’Haiti - Hinche (UNDH-H) will manage the enterprise & BioSciences degree program. Design distribution research will be carried out by UNDH-H, Haiti Adolescent Girls Network, Konbit pou Development Commune Kotes de Fer, & Tilori local leaders. Solar Household Energy (SHE), in collaboration with Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF), will lead this project, providing overall program coordination & oversight, participation in technical and training matters, & arranging for third-party M&E. Technology providers & manufacturing trainers (offering product parts & training at discounted prices) include Solavore LLC (for Solavore Sport), E.G. Solar (for SK14 parabolic solar stove), Persons Helping People (for Roche panel solar cooker), UNDH-H (Haitian heat-retention cooker) & Solar CITIES Biogas (for & biodigesters & biogas stoves). Solar Cookers International & ECHO Global Farms will provide technology testing (in line with ISO), M&E & other expertise.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The University's Vice-Rector, and its student committee on solar & biogas innovation have proven they are passionate, capable people, making great efforts to deepen their own knowledge and promote these technologies at local schools and large campus events. They will be able to motivate and empower BioScience students to do the same. Community members in the three towns with successful solar and biogas projects have shown enthusiasm to learn about, and willingness to pay for these technologies.

Geographic Focus

Haiti, both city and rural areas, especially along Haiti-DR border.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The launch of the social enterprise and Biosciences program development at University of Hinche will occur in several phases. The first 6 months to one year will be a headquarter constructions/product manufacturing training/product development phase. Year 2 will focus on distribution design research, with year 3 seeing the full social enterprise roll-out and scale-up throughout Haiti.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • Yes

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)

The idea submitted in 2017 has evolved substantially in scale & scope - it is now a component of the larger 2018 project. The 2017 proposal focused on one type of Renewable Energy Cooking Solution (RECS): the Solavore solar oven, distributed by two Haitian organizations (Haiti Adolescent Girls Network (HAGN) & Konbit pou Developman Commune Kotes de Fer (KDCK) in two locations (Carrefour & Cotes-de-Fer) to train women in Solavore usage & micro-entrepreneurship to sell solar-baked goods at local markets, & potentially train them to locally make & sell Solavores. The 5-member proposal team, led by Solavore LLC, included Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF), HAGN, & KDCK, plus oven performance monitoring & other evaluation expertise from Solar Cookers International (SCI). The 2018 project launches a social enterprise to make & sell 5 different RECS (Solavore, Roche solar cooker, E.G. Solar’s SK14 solar stove, a heat-retention cooker, and Solar CITIES Biogas IBC-based biodigester with retrofitted LPG stove), distributed by 4 Haitian organizations in 5 locations: HAGN chapters in Port-au-Prince & Anse-a-Pitres (where recent deportees subsist on the border), KCDK in Cotes-de-Fer, Solar Household Energy (SHE) through its Tilori contractors, and Universite Notre Dame d’Haiti-Hinche (UNDH-H) through its students & graduates. Beyond its M&E expertise SCI will test solar cooker performance according to the evaluation process it is developing as part of the growth of international standards organization (ISO) clean cooking guidelines. UNDH-H will be an educational hub, expanding its BioScience program to promote eco-technologies, with help from all, including Florida-based ECHO Global Farm. The combination builds on pilots by the various organizations, including work by the 2017 team with other funding & PPAF linkages and collaboration with most of the 2018 project team. In spring 2018 SHE and PPAF joined forces, leading to the current SHE-led project.
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Team (2)

Anne's profile
Anne Patterson

Role added on team:

"Anne Patterson, CEO of Solavore LLC, led the consortium for the project submitted to the 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge, which is now a component of our current project."

Sophie's profile
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Attachments (11)

Webinar SCI + GACC public (1).pdf

A webinar by Solar Cookers International (SCI) & the UN Foundation's Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC). Based in Sacramento CA and with ECOSOC special consultative status at the UN in NYC, SCI leads through advocacy, research, and strengthening the capacity of the global solar cooking movement. On p.25, one can see representatives of SCI, PPAF, and HAGN, at the GACC meeting on the preliminary Action Plan for the Transformation of the Cookstoves and Fuels Market in Haiti.


This edition of the Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) newsletter highlights the growing solar & biogas program at the Universite Notre Dame d'Haiti at Hinche, the Vice-Rector’s & student leader’s Florida study tour to Patel College & ECHO Global Farm, student outreach in Hinche, preparations for a June 2 Science Day to promote the innovations, growing fruit with biodigester fertilizer & related support by PPAF and others.

kathy UN presentation.mp4

Kathy Puffer here describes the activities of Solar CITIES Biogas Innoventors and Practitioners, Inc., which is an association for sharing small-scale biogas solutions in the USA and around the world. She explains how a biodigester works, the importance of "hands-on" learning, caring for a biodigester as if it were a living animal, and the collaboration with other organizations in the project consortium that are working in Haiti.

2018-05-23 Energizing Haiti_concept note_SHE-PPAF.pdf

This concept note explains the project idea in more depth, with appendices presenting different technologies and partners. It also contains links to relevant reports, websites, and evaluations.

Solavore Best Entrepreneur.pdf

Solavore LLC, a women-owned social enterprise committed to the manufacture and global distribution of 100% fuel-free, clean cooking technology, announced in October 2016 that it had been named one of the best privately-owned companies in America by Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur 360™ List. The Entrepreneur 360™ Ranking delivers the most comprehensive analysis of private companies in America.

2017 Solavore PitchFest video.pdf

Solavore LLC, a women-owned social enterprise committed to the manufacture and global distribution of 100% fuel-free, clean cooking technology, announced in October 2016 that it had been named one of the best privately-owned companies in America by Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur 360™ List. The Entrepreneur 360™ Ranking delivers the most comprehensive analysis of private companies in America.

HAGN Photos maps and tables.pdf

This collection of materials from HAGN shows: photos of the newest group of mentors for “My Space” clubs; a scene in Rivière Froide section of Carrefour where new clubs are being established; a group of young participants; a Haiti map with HAGN activity sites; and tables for HAGN coverage in Carrefour, scoring for past HAGN entrepreneurial opportunities, and HAGN's theory of change for social asset building.

2017-04 Benefits of non-polluting cookstoves_RoseBazile-KDCK.pdf

Rose Bazile is the head of KDCK and the Solavore representative for Haiti. The attached presentation was a prize-winner earlier this year in a competition at Adelphi University (USA) and it has been accepted for publication in "Journal for a Changing World."

2017-05 Solar Cookers International M&E expertise_SCI.pdf

Solar Cookers International (SCI) provides content on its website that addresses numerous items of current interest. Among these are: incorporating baseline and feedback data from customers and users into project design; where solar cooking use has potential traction within Haiti; and which solar cookers are most suitable to user needs.


This is a collection of photos of Solavore Sport "baking, stewing and simmering" solar cookers as they are being used and appreciated in several demonstrations.

2017-02 Solar stove...Tilori_Eval Rpt_to SELF_SHE.pdf

SHE's evaluation report of their project to introduce 25 parabolic stoves in Tilori, Haiti. Using the UN Foundation's Global Alliance evaluation system, the stoves showed "very high adoption" and "high impact."


Join the conversation:

Photo of Brian Bauer

@Sophie LymanReally amazing project! If you are successful you could really help address deforestation problems being driven from charcoal use.

I just wanted to make one suggestion for making a more finite impact calculation. Have you heard of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY)? They are used to give an approximate impact related to an activity that adversely impacts human health. In your case, I suspect replacing indoor charcoal cooking with your clean burning stoves would create some significant DALY impacts. It would be insightful and help validate your impact, by making the benefits more tangible, if you could find some studies that explore DALY impacts from indoor charcoal cooking. I am not positive if such studies exist, but I suspect they likely do. If not, you could try and make some extrapolations and make some approximate estimates.

Here is a website that explains DALY in more detail...

I hope you find that useful and best of luck with your project, the more people you provide with alternatives to charcoal cooking the better. Best, Brian

Photo of Sophie Lyman

Thank you Brian for you support, and for your suggestion of applying Averted Disability Adjusted Life Years (ADALYs) metrics to this project! Indeed, a 2015 study on the impacts of gasifier and biogas stoves in Cambodia by the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group and SNV showed, among other things, that introducing 25,000 biogas stoves (which we will also be introducing) would result in 2770 ADALYs and 75 avoided deaths. The Gold Standard Foundation has developed a methodology to measure ADALY to enable results-based financing mechanisms. This type of financing would be ideal to subsidize our renewable energy cooking solutions. Furthermore, our partners are ideally placed to assist in this process: the University at Hinche's medical students could get involved in measuring health metrics, and Solar Cookers International could provide connections and expertise on third-party monitoring and evaluation.

Photo of Ruolz Ariste

Hi Sophie & Brian,
Congrats Sophie on this fantastic initiative! Brian: Great suggestion about the ADALYs! Just to let you know there is actually a recent Benefit/Cost analysis of Biogas for cooking in Haiti that used avoided DALYs. It was done in the context of the Haiti Priorise project funded by Global Affairs Canada. It can be found here: (starting from slide 16). The full paper (that includes biogas as the third intervention) is also available from this link. I hope this helps. Best, Ruolz.

Photo of Brian Bauer

Ruolz Ariste Thanks a lot for this insightful information. It is obvious to me that there will be significant benefits with clean cooking fuels over biomass-not to mention the many environmental benefits. Nice to see some data that puts the impact into a more quantitative perspective. I will definitely download the paper. Best, Brian

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