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.
University of Notre Dame of Haiti at Hinche students proudly showcase the Biogas digester and floating tank they just built, and show the certificate they earned in Biogas biodigester management.
Local manufacture of SK14 parabolic solar stove (using locally sourced steel and other materials, except for the imported reflector blades).
Woman solar cooks a large pot of food on the SK14 parabolic solar stove.
The Roche solar cooker (left and right), and the Solavore solar oven (center) need only sunlight to cook food. Here they are in usage at the University Notre Dame at Hinche.
This vimeo of the manufacturing process of the Solavore Sport box oven was prepared at the factory in Minnesota. The product is “Easy to build & built to last.” It requires no special skill or tools for assembly, and it has an expected 10-year lifespan. Our multi-year plan aims toward local manufacturing, starting with local assembly, then sourcing of most components in Haiti with the housings shipped from Solavore, then lastly, 100% of the manufacture done in Haiti.
Charcoal, stored and transported in white bags, is used by 93% of Haitians as cooking fuel, leading to deforestation and negative health impacts from cooking smoke exposure.
The documentary "Death by a Thousand Cuts" (trailer shown) focuses on the conflict at border zones and between Haiti and the Dominican Republic created by Haiti's dependency on wood and charcoal for cooking.
PPAF Executive Director David Stillman spoke at the United Nations in a recent event on Public-Private Partnerships and the Sustainable Development Goals. He focused on PPAF’s work with other organizations, especially in efforts to assist Haitian families exit the poverty– respiratory disease– deforestation trap of the country’s heavy reliance on charcoal for cooking. He highlighted solar ovens & other non-polluting cookstoves & fuels. The moderator also commented on the value of solar cooking.
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). www.she-inc.org
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.
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)
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.
Through the eyes of Esther, a 15 year-old participant, this promotional video vividly illustrates the purpose and functions of HAGN and its “My Space” clubs in order to protect and empower girls, nurture their development and break the cycle of poverty.
Interview of Myriam Narcisse, Haiti Adolescent Girls Network (HAGC). - HAGN is a Haiti-based nonprofit organization, based in Port-au-Prince with chapters around Haiti including Anse-a-Pitre on the border, created by a collective of Haitian and international organizations committed to protecting and empowering adolescent girls in Haiti. HAGN will form girl self-help groups to purchase stoves and biodigesters, and train them in running micro-enterprises around these stoves.
Interview of a Solavore solar oven recipient. She saves about a dollar a day on charcoal purchases thanks to the oven.