In 2015, together with Solar Electric Light Fund and Solar Household Energy (SHE), we at One Earth Designs started a project in Tilori, Haiti – a small rural community on the Dominican Republic border. The project’s goal was to bring 25 SolSource solar stoves to Tilori and teach residents how to use them to replace traditional cooking methods.
Tilori, with a population of fewer than 5,000 people, sits on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was selected for this pilot project because its inhabitants are the principal users of the forest of Sabana Clara–a remnant mix of pine and broadleaf forest. Biodiversity like Sabana Clara’s plays an important role in the restoration of Haiti’s degraded ecosystems.
Haiti suffers from severe deforestation and consequent land erosion. The country has less than 4% forest cover (World Bank); the lack of cover is due in large part to the cutting of trees for cooking fuel. Women in particular suffer from both the environmental and economic effects of woodstove cooking; for example, respiratory illnesses caused by household air pollution, the financial burden of fuel expenditures, and income and educational opportunities lost to long hours spent collecting cooking fuel.
Fostering this paradigm shift to free and virtually limitless solar energy would offer a myriad of community benefits. Women and girls would be empowered to redirect time spent gathering increasingly scarce fuel toward education and jobs, increasing their economic self-sufficiency. Interior air quality and associated health outcomes would improve. Forest destruction would decrease, as would generalized air pollution, both of which are serious contributors to the scourge of global climate change.
For more information about our project in Kirando, Kenya – click here!