ERCOSI (Solar Cooking, Efficient Stoves)
In October of 2008 our club and the RC of Gualan, Guatemala, organized – through a Rotary Service Grant and in cooperation with Rotarians from Fresno, California – a weeklong seminar to teach rural dwellers the benefits of cooking with solar as well as efficient woodstoves, thereby reducing not only the impact on natural resources but at the same time also improving the financial situation of the population.
Given the importance of such a project and taking into account the enthusiasm with which the first course was received, we decided to set up ERCOSI which stands for Escuela Rotaria de Cocinas Solares Integradas = Rotary School for Integrated Solar Kitchens and which started working formally in 2009 under the leadership of Carlos Galvez from our club. Many such courses have been taught in the meantime.
The use of the following devices are demonstrated and building plans for them are distributed among participants of the workshops:
- Solar cookers (made out of cardboard and aluminum foil). These can be used to cook food, but also to make unsafe water drinkable
- Haybaskets (these can be constructed using other materials as well, their function being to keep cooked food very hot for long periods of time without using any fuel, thereby continuing to cook the contents of a pot placed in the basket)
- Rocket stoves to be used outside (these can be built locally and very cheaply and can heat one pot with a fraction of the wood used in conventional stoves)
- Efficient woodstoves to be used inside (again, these use a fraction of wood fuel for cooking, but come with exhaust pipes which carry the smoke to the outside. Both features will be a huge improvement in living conditions for many families)
We are certain that this project will play an important part in reducing our people’s dependence on fossil fuels and contribute to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We are looking for partners to help us with this effort.