Mfuwe was without a doubt one of sunfires most memorable projects.
Mfuwe is a camp situated in the South Luangwa conservation area of Western Zambia on the border with Malawi.
the project was initiated by Manda Chisanga who won a prize from the UK based travel magazine the wanderlust.
Manda had a few options of what he could have done with the money which included travel and education, he heard about Solar Cookers from some American tourists.
it later transpired that they are members if SHE a solar cooker group in the USA, which gives you an idea of how few practitioner is there actually are.
at any rate that planted a very important seed that became the Mfuwe project.
Tina Stallard a top-class producer and reporter based in the UK agreed to fly out at the last minute and produced a short documentary which was later featured on aljazeera and the BBC.
South and North Luagwa are deservedly world-class famous conservation areas.
Growing up in South Africa, the Kruger Park was a place we often visited, South Luangwa took my breath away and is a place, I would love to return on a par with any wilderness area on the Continent.
The small town next to South Luangwa is (ironically) attracting an increasing population driven by the opportunity of potentially finding work in the tourism sector.
The land next to the park belongs to the tribal authority, culturally people were only allowed to collect wood thats already dead and lying on the ground.
An increasing population means trees are now cut down to keep up with cooking fire demand.
Elephants have long memories and will visit the same trees year after year, there is no fence between the tribal land and actual park.
As you can imagine this creates an obvious conflict between Human and animal needs.
In the South Luangwa area there are between 10 and 20 fatalities a year (that was in 2008)
so essentially the goal of the project was to see if we could introduce solar cookers and gain traction in order to assist with the human animal conflict and make life better in The Villages along side the park.
All in all we installed 15 solar cookers.
At the time SunFire Solutions with producing a German design in Johannesburg which is the one that were used.
We gained some success but not exactly what we were hoping to achieve.
I view these projects as seeds that sunfire Solutions has actively been spreading all over the continent for the past 20 years we will go back to water them and already there is more than there was before.
As with so many projects the funding ran out and we had done the best we could.
Mfuwe camp was purchased by a new owner with the change in management, the camp needed to focus on their own goals of running a 5-star Lodge.
We put up Cookers at some of the bush camp with posters and a link for people to donate to continuing the project.
however with the change of management in the passage of time I never heard from anyone again
at least 15 cookies are still there doing their work I sorely wish we could get more cookies in there and I’m thinking to re approach the new management at the lodge to check on their interest.
We also have what I believe to be an improved Solar Cooker that is far easier to assemble and cooks much faster.
I think this project provides the blueprint for much of SunFires Focus in the future.
We would ideally like to spend as much time as possible in ecologically sensitive areas introducing Technologies which provide people with a choice of methods to cook their evening and Lunchtime meals.
unfortunately we are a very small company and will not be able to do this work without some philanthropic support we are ready and available for larger scale projects have grown a lot since this project but we will need to have contact with supporters to make this dream come true.
Very often the people living right next to the five-star conservation areas have so little money that you could say they are almost off the financial system so even if we made it to Dollar cooker it still wouldn’t be effective.
Cheap cookies that don’t actually cook the local diet and preferred meals are not an option as then the technology is rejected all together.
This is where SunFire and solar cookers technologies still stand.
At the crossroads in South and Southern Africa, we cannot move forward to reach the people that we really want without massive support and we also cannot afford to keep acting and this is what we would do at SunFire.
If you are moved to assist Sunfire move from this crossroads, please make contact, so we can design a future that strengths conservation areas while benefitting the local adjacent communities.
Please enjoy the 2 part story below as seen on aljazeera and BBC.
This really is a very beautiful project, we have done many similar but not as well documented projects in the last 10 years but this really does highlight the pertinent issue’s which sadly haven’t changed at all and if anything are even more in need of assistance today than ever before.