Using Solar Energy for Cooking Fuel in Kenya

by AfriAfya

The Story of the Hummingbird


One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest – huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.

This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can't put out this fire."

And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."

This is the humming bird story as told by the last Prof. Wangari Maathai who died on 25th September 2011.  She was a heroine who will be greatly missed.

Like the hummingbird, we each must do what we can.  AfriAfya with the help of Global Giving Family has been teaching people in rural and marginalized areas in Kenya how to harness solar power as cooking fuel.  With this, other energy saving techniques are taught as well as tree planting.  We teach communities how to pasteurize water, making it safe for drinking.  This has greatly reduced incidences of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and dysentery all thanks to the Global Giving Family.

We appreciate your support and would like to continue with this good work.  Kindly send us feedback as to how we can improve on our activities.  If you think we are doing a good job then, send us a word of encouragement.

Thank you for the continued support.

Welcome to Kombewa!! Kombewa is about 400km from Nairobi, in Nyanza Province and 47 km from Kisumu City. It is famous for Kit Mikayi directly translated as the Stone for the First Wife. The area has many huge rocks, some as high as 5 meters, arranged in a supernatural way. In addition to the rocks the region enjoys plenty of sun shine which AfriAfya and the community members perceived the potential of harnessing solar power as cooking fuel. The AfriAfya team took a drive there and held a workshop for two days on this. The exercise was very successful and the community members who attended this workshop informed relatives and friends who reside in other regions about the workshop. They have since been training them on how to harness solar power for cooking using the solar cook kits donated by the AfriAfya team. This outreach was made possible by people on the Global Giving Family who actively advocate for saving the environment. We are grateful for the support and pray that it continues, in a mighty way.


The people in Nyanza Province, Barkorwa to be precise heard of solar cooking trainings and were curious as to how the sun can cook!  In Barkorwa, the common cooking fuel are charcoal and firewood. 

However the weather has been quite unpredictable here in Kenya and due to the rain we are unable to conduct a solar cooking training.  We are grateful for the rain as there will be more food and at fair price.

With the help of the Global Giving Family we complied a pamphlet on the trainings we have conducted previously and have shared it with organizations and people from different provinces in Kenya.  This is in a bid to encourage reafforestation by teaching on alternative sources of fuel.

AfriAfya thanks you for the continued support and we humbly request that you talk to us about this project.

Cooking Pot
Cooking Pot

Sound of cracking fire, sound of sniffing and coughing are a common phenomenon in most kitchens in rural Kenya.  These are the immediate effects of smoke emitted from firewood, charcoal , dried grass and crop remains.  Other effects include acute and chronic respiratory ailments, eye diseases, headaches, dizziness and even premature births.  These are all avoidable eventualities, if only the cooking fuel could be changed.

However, a majority of the people living in rural and marginalized areas in Kenya are not aware of an alternative cooking fuel that is less hazardous to their health. 

This is the main reason why AfriAfya advocates for solar power as cooking fuel.  Other advantages are saving on money that could otherwise be used to buy the fuel as well as time.

The Global Giving family has been very supportive in this venture and we are still awaiting more funds to conduct activities.  We have identified a community in Osiligi in Kajiado County to whom we want to educate on harnessing solar power as cooking fuel.

We are asking for additional funds to be able to conduct this.

It is very easy to take certain skills like reading and writing for granted. We write, type, read from favorite authors and it seems very ordinary to be literate until you get to Narok. Among the Maasai Community girls are married off even at the age of twelve (12) years and usually this marriage is to a man at least twice her age and as a third or fourth wife. The men we met, on the other hand were well read, some being graduates from local colleges and universities.

In Kenya the national language is Kiswahili but during this demonstration we had to get a translator. However the language barrier did not hinder their desire to learn and we had a very fruitful demonstration. Since 10 May 2010 we have received additional inquiries and comments from the Maasai women through their representative. Indeed they are using the solar cookits and it is because of the GlobalGiving family's generous support that they learnt that there is an alternative to firewood as cooking fuel. AfriAfya team was able to reach low literate women of different ages and teach them new skills and concepts because of your donations.

We are grateful for the donations and look forward to comments and suggestions as to how we can improve in our work. Your gifts help us to inform people and consequently improve their lives and the environment as well. We request for an increase in donations both frequency and volume. AfriAfya team is grateful for the miles traveled this far but there are more communities to reach out to and more trainings to be conducted.


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Organization Information


Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Anne B. Njeri
Finance and Administration Officer
Nairobi, Kenya

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