Women, family caregivers, dying to cook in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Sun Ovens to the Rescue.

Women, family caregivers, dying to cook in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Sun Ovens to the Rescue.

Haiti
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The World Health Organization estimates that indoor air pollution leads to thousands of premature deaths in Haiti each year. Fuego del Sol (FdS) manufactures Sun Oven solar cookers in the DR, for distribution in the DR and into Haiti. FdS works with local NGOs and grass-roots organizations to facilitate adoption and verification of use with the goal of saving the lives of women who prepare food for their family, and the children the women care for. Sun Ovens are quality solar cooking appliances, and our program has developed strong demand in the local population. Local women leaders demonstrate the product. Families work together to earn their own Sun Oven. US NGO partners offer tax benefits to cover the costs, and we are now seeking Gold Standard CDM carbon credits for the program.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Innovation is key to FdS. We are open-source to quickly adopt any beneficial developmental concepts. Many universities and websites discuss / promote the idea of Social Enterprise: Creating sustainable business through market-based initiatives for people of the “Bottom-of-the-Pyramid.” We embraced the concept in 2005 and made a financial / full-time professional investment in the region that the UN considers the most economically disadvantaged in the western hemisphere. FdS is owned by Haitians, Dominicans and Americans providing a three-country solution for ethical ecological development. FdS, working with our partners, has produced the largest sustainable cooking community in Haitian / Dominican history. We are working to enhance and expand our ecological development success through additional partners, technology, products and services that address the complete sector of basic of human needs. FdS is the first Dominican triple-bottom-line company, dedicated to operating financially sustainably while improving the ecological and social environments of the DR and Haiti (the TBLs: People, Planet and Profit). FdS diligently researches and compares successful, tested ecological technologies to address an issue that local people see as a daily problem. FdS represents and promotes the best product for local introduction and adoption. FdS also creates geotourism voyages to introduce conscientious travelers to our projects and the historical cultural richness of the island. Donating Sun Ovens to the program is tax-deductible for US citizens through our partnership with She-Inc.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

FdS follows Fair Trade employment standards, creates local jobs, and saves transportation costs/fuel by locally manufacturing Sun Ovens in the DR. Kevin Adair completed an in depth evaluation of all available solar cooking devices and concluded that the Sun Oven is the only product that could be successfully used consistently in family kitchens. Feedback from Dominican and Haitian families confirmed that conclusion. FdS organizes and leads ecologically minded tourists through the DR and Haiti. GeoTourists visit the FdS Sun Oven factory, and the community center of our NGO partner, Grupo Jaragua (GJ); they join the GJ staff and volunteers Sun Oven cooking, literacy training and tree planting. Visitors experience the culture, cuisine and history of the island, including the home of Christopher Columbus’ son, and the oldest avenue in the Americas. We visit an amazing variety of animals from iguanas to flamingos. The Sun Oven Introduction and Adoption Program is a health-based initiative that can have direct improvement on many aspects of the lives of some of the families with the lowest incomes in the Western Hemisphere. The health of the family is encouraged to improve through: reduced smoke inhalation, job development, food preparation stability, community building, and the Sun Oven School Lesson Curriculum that inspires local school students in the fields of science and culinary arts while it opens them to a wider, health based world view.
About You
Organization:
El Fuego del Sol
About You
First Name

Kevin

Last Name

Adair

Twitter
Facebook Profile
About Your Organization
Organization Name

El Fuego del Sol

Organization Phone

312-925-1626 or 809-710-5381

Organization Address

33 Santana, Higuey, Dominican Republic

Organization Country

, PD

Country where this project is creating social impact

, SE

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

The border communities of Haiti and the DR on the southern coast have some of the greatest need in the hemisphere, and the best opportunity to make serious personal health, family health, community health and global health impact. This region has extremely meager tourism income when compared to other regions in the DR, and yet it has some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, forests, lagoons and wildlife. Haiti is the only country in this hemisphere on the UN’s Least Developed Country list. The region where FdS works is the only place in the world where two of the UN’s Small Island Developing States can both be reached by developmental efforts. International development efforts have often become discouraged when resources they have flown-in became repurposed by local residents. The solution is to introduce improvements through direct consultation and coordination with local leaders, in the case of Sun Ovens, with local women leaders, since women tend to do the most cooking in the traditional societies of the DR and Haiti. Developmental efforts also need to work all year-round, as opposed to only one week-per-year or only following crises. The DR and Haiti have traditionally had animosity between them, but the southern border region has a strong sister-city relationship over the border, making it the perfect location to introduce and develop multi-country solutions. The DR has a strong pro-business, pro-ecology democratic government, and Haiti’s new government is working hard to make improvements. FdS has a history of positive contact with DR, Haiti and US governments.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Kevin Adair has been environmentally active, presented in schools and created companies for 25 years. He came to the DR in 2005 to work for resorts in Punta Cana, but soon realized that his calling was to work with the people and the island’s vast ecological resources. Kevin developed FdS GeoTourism EcoVillage, which hosts tourists, volunteers, and the Sun Oven factory. In 2007, FdS partnered with Dominican NGO Grupo Jaragua (GJ) for outreach into Haiti. FdS customizes trips anywhere on the island.

Efforts to introduce solar cooking internationally have been hobbled by inferior technology. Solar advocates have favored cheap solar cookers under the concept that local families could not afford the more effective Sun Oven technology. However, family cooks can’t wait hours just to boil a cup of water, and cheap solar cookers can easily be destroyed in the rain. Kevin empirically and market-based tested all commercially available solar cookers. His results indicated that the Sun Oven is the only viable solar cooking product worth promoting. The Sun Oven is a durable solar cooking appliance with reasonable cooking times for large volumes of food. Using a Sun Oven offsets over one ton of carbon per year, and the unit can last for over 20 years. Kevin contacted SHE-Inc., and worked to create a partnership between SHE-Inc. and the GJ program. Now, US citizens can make tax deductible donations to support the DR Sun Oven distribution and adoption program, and thus offset their own carbon footprint. Everyone directly benefits from their participation. Innovation is rewarded.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

FdS projects are diligently documented with the goal of replication and scalability, e.g., our Whitepaper at elFuegodelSol.com. Our factory has produced 400 Sun Ovens and nearly 200 of them have been distributed. Our top solar chef is Olga who is a community leader and a baker in Oviedo. Olga used to bake cakes in the kitchen of her church, but she needed to pay for propane plus the ingredients. Now, she coordinates cooking in the Sun Ovens at the GJ Community Center at noon, and uses the Sun Ovens in the afternoons to bake cakes to sell for her business. Olga is now on staff and travels to train leaders in other communities. Olga is featured in the first video.
FdS has partnered with US NGO, SHE-Inc. and the GJ program. US citizens can make tax deductible donations to support the Sun Oven distribution / adoption program, and thus offset their own carbon footprint. Everyone directly benefits from their participation. Our methodology, initiated with GJ, has created great demand for Sun Ovens in the DR and Haiti and is immediately ready for scaling throughout Haiti and the border region of the DR. We are generating statistically significant data and now embarking on CDM certification through the Gold Standard Methodology. This solar cooking intervention is one of the most successful on record and one of the few to demonstrate success among families who live in their own homes, not solely for families who are displaced through tragedy. The success is directly attributable to the local community leaders actively embracing the ecological technology.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Establishing expanded operations facility in border region. Working with Gold Standard (GS) to certify FdS toward CDM financing. We are encouraging GS to include health questions in baseline studies.

Task 1

Continue and complete the Gold Standard Methodology certification process. Health is a big reason for indoor air quality actions, but health questions are not always asked in surveys. They should be.

Task 2

Complete site selection process and commence with moving of our headquarters. We will continue GeoTourism services in Higuey, but most of our focus is turning to the border region with greatest need.

Task 3

Plan and coordinate our Fall / Winter funding drive. We are planning for a large event in Chicago in February that corresponds with a strong internet push to raise visibility and Sun Oven donations.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Our new expanded operations in the border region will feature our Ecological Arts and Media Center where local residents can learn video and website production, job skills and solar cooking skills.

Task 1

We hope to be the first Caribbean based ecological cookstove program to complete the Gold Standard process and receive CDM certification. We are now working with GS regional reps toward that goal.

Task 2

Complete our move to new location and start video / website training program. Introduce Sun Oven Curriculum in local schools in the DR and Haiti to highlight health issues and start good health early.

Task 3

Facilitate the delivery of 1000 more Sun Ovens. The need is immense; the demand is established; now we need to connect with international donors who understand that they are stakeholders in Haiti too.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

In 3 years, we plan to introduce 3000 Sun Ovens. This could be expanded with international attention and support. The FdS initiative introduced the concept that each Sun Oven in use has more stakeholders than just one family. Individuals who donate Sun Ovens benefit by supporting a verifiable ecological initiative. CDM carbon trading can reduce the price of Sun Ovens so more units can be introduced for the same donation. If an aluminum manufacturer joined our network to donate anodized aluminum, costs would reduce further. Our entire project is designed for scalability and replication. The key is for local leaders to embrace the skills and advantages of solar cooking with a quality solar cooking appliance, and for those leaders to in turn introduce the technology to their community.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Haiti’s ecological development has a direct competitor which has emerged. The US government is being actively lobbied by petroleum related organizations to subsidize the introduction of LPG (propane) gas as a cooking alternative in Haiti. While LPG is generally a more ecological cooking option than traditional charcoal cooking, the lack of LPG infrastructure in Haiti, the poor road conditions in most of the country, and the fact that all LPG must be imported into Haiti, with no prospect for domestic production in the foreseeable future, makes LPG an expensive, heavily polluting, invasive, counter-productive technology introduction. The LPG industry has every right to promote itself in Haiti, and LPG has a role in larger cities as one aspect of the multiple-technology solution. However, the technology, the gas and its infrastructure should not be subsidized by the US or Haitian government as an attempted solution for deforestation or any other systemic problem. Local and sustainable programs must be developed and encouraged. Details are displayed at: https://sites.google.com/a/elfuegodelsol.com/elfuego/big_oil
DR / Haiti ecology will benefit from the visibility of the FdS projects.

Tell us about your partnerships

FdS collaborates with non-profits, corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, artists, innovators and activists toward improving the environment and society. A true Hybrid Network, we form close working relationships with for-profits and non-profits to work together to improve ecological and social environments. Collaborators include: For-profit companies: Sun Ovens International, Transcon Steel, Grupo Duarte (Legal Services and Business Development in Santo Domingo, DR), Cedano Legal Services, Elfi Wall Systems, Neptun Ultra-Efficiency Lighting, Woodgas Stoves, Architecturalhotwire.com, rebuildhaitibetter.ning.com and Dias-y-Nueve Grado Estudio Sostenible (Sustainable Architectural Design Studio); Non-profit / COOP organizations: Grupo Jaragua, Grupo CONACADO, SHE-Inc. Solar Household Energy, Global Exchange, Equal Exchange, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, Solar Cookers International, the William J. Clinton Foundation, The Technological University of Santo Domingo (INTEC), University of San Francisco, Faith in Place, Rise International, Bethel UCC Elmhurst, IL, The Union Church of Santo Domingo, The Zakat Foundation of America, The Natura Park Ecological Foundation, The Annual Higuey Book Fair and The Rotary Club of Higuey, DR; Government agencies: the Center for Export and Investment – DR, ProIndustrial, Dominican Customs Service, National Energy Center, The US Embassy Commercial Services Division, American Citizens Services Division of the US Consulate, Haiti government through the Building Back Better Communities program and the Green Technologies Expo.

Explain your selections

FdS was started with conscientious funding from family and friends. Our network of supporting individuals has continued to grow with visits, investments, donations, volunteering, advice and economic and educational participation opportunities. Foundations have provided us insight, networking opportunities and have been our clients for consulting work in the DR and Haiti. NGOs have partnered with us on all our major projects, from Sun Ovens, to GeoToursism, to project promotion. Since the products and services we offer tend to be licensed from US companies, we create jobs in the US, the DR and Haiti. Our model is not to outsource jobs from larger countries, rather to import tested ecological technologies to produce products locally that are used locally. This process becomes a tandem manufacturing and implementation process with the associated company in the US. Thus, US customers buy US manufactured goods, and customers geographically closer to our location, buy the licensed products from FdS. We follow Fair Trade manufacturing standards and we encourage all of our suppliers to follow them as well. We are participating in the regional and national Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Program of the US and DR governments. We are certified as a tax-free importer of renewable energy products in the DR. NGOs are our customers, so are individual consumers and beneficial geotourists. All of these concepts are new business models and feature US innovation and ecological technology. The more inventive and successful our programs, the more health-saving products we can provide.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

By channeling the multi-sector economic developmental engines of: health, innovative technologies, social entrepreneurs, artists, geotourism, hybrid networks, educational outreach and available trainable labor, FdS carefully expands the products / services we offer as well as our overall global scope. Every additional corporate offering is carefully evaluated to ensure proper implementation and that it is a complementary fit with our other offerings. We are expanding our integrated growth pattern to eventually assist the DR and Haiti to take a global leadership role in ecological preservation and alternative energies. FdS strives to be an access platform to a new market for all interested innovators through DominicanConsulting.net. FdS works to facilitate multiple socio/eco industries and businesses to encourage growth that is conscious of the cultural norms and the individual strengths of some of the most impoverished citizens. We anticipate that our strength will continue to grow as we serve more clients and gain more international attention. Our connection to directly sharing our innovations with US students of all ages, may just spark the next generation of innovation that FdS can put into practice, and the US can see proven and thereafter adopt. The DR government is extremely pro-business and pro-environment, and we are working to put those policies toward serious business development. The new Haitian government is encouraging business development as well. The DR and Haiti provide a unique starting point for a developmental movement that can eventually span the globe.

Challenges
Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Health behavior change

SECONDARY

Restrictive cultural norms

TERTIARY

Incentives for unhealthy living

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

To obtain a Sun Oven a family is required to pay a fee and participate in training / volunteer hours. Men in the family should participate in the effort to earn a Sun Oven, because men can be slow to embrace solar cooking benefits. Food does taste different from smoked charcoal cooking. The differences should be introduced to families early in the process. Men’s participation can be in Family Days at the community center. Food provided by the center is cooked in Sun Ovens. Events give men exposure to sun-cooked food, and information of how the Sun Oven saves the family money and time (time that can allow the food preparers to do income-earning activities including handicrafts while the food is sun-cooking), and the option of providing convenient hours of fun volunteer work at the center.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Grown geographic reach: Multi-country

SECONDARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We are focusing our operation where the need is greatest. Women and children are dying every day from charcoal cooking related ailments. Smoke inhalation also increases the number of stillbirths. The border region between the DR and Haiti has proven very open to our Sun Oven introduction program. As soon as resources allow, we will be moving our headquarters / factory / Eco Arts and Media Center from our Higuey location to Pedernales, DR, right on the border with Haiti. Our work and our partnerships have allowed for our gradual, consistently-profitable growth for several years. We see two potential paths for our program: continual gradual growth, or the major growth of scale that we are designed to accommodate which would feature large scale partners and increased international exposure.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Interconnectivity is crucial for the success of the FdS business model. Neither traditional companies nor NGOs have specific incentives to dynamically collaborate. Traditional business is allegiant to the profit bottom line; NGOs are dependent on pleasing their donors in the pursuit of their benevolent goals. As an independent secular TBL (people, planet and profit) company, FdS engages market forces to reach out to all developmental entities in our region to develop synergistic partnerships whenever possible. (Our traveling clients demand information and collective action.) FdS seeks to work with any entity of any affiliation toward the mutual goals of improving society and the environment. We respect all backgrounds/traditions in our quest to find common ground and move forward together.

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