Solar cookers for refugee families in Africa

Solar cookers for refugee families in Africa 640 384 Climatetrade

Families forced to flee to survive

Since the start of the Darfur war in 2003, more than 200,000 Sudanese have been forced to flee to neighboring Chad.

These people have been staying in refugee camps in the border region for more than 15 years. Living in austere conditions where cooking over an open fire is one of the many challenges they must face.

How do they cook in the refugee camp?

The camps are located in a very dry region where little wood is available. This creates conflicts between the local population and the refugees who need the scarce firewood available for cooking.

Women and children often have to travel long distances to get wood being harassed, assaulted, kidnapped or, in the worst case, never return at all.

The solution: “CooKit” solar cookers

To address this problem, in 2005 the CooKit solar cooker was launched in six refugee camps. CooKit is a solar cooker that can be used for cooking with the help of solar energy, it has a simple design and is made of cardboard and aluminum foil.

How does it work?

Sunlight reflects through the aluminum foil into a black-painted frying pan that is contained in a heat-resistant plastic bag in which hot air circulates. After the pot has been in the sun for 2 to 3 hours, most dishes will be ready. With a so-called Guffah, an insulated wicker basket, food can be kept at the right temperature until dinner.

The project

CooKits are manufactured locally in six workshops throughout the camps. Each workplace is entirely run by about 20 women. Each family receives 2 CooKits, user training and is asked to make a personal contribution of 1000 francs (€ 1.50) as compensation for the work of the women in the manufacturing workshops.

To date, a total of 9,000 solar cookers have been installed, benefiting 20,000 refugees (mainly women and children) and achieving a reduction of 56,000 tons of CO2.

Impact and contribution to the SDG’s

By using the CooKit, women and children no longer have to leave the camp to find firewood. This means a considerable improvement in their security and also saves a lot of time. As an example, there are women who have used this time to start selling handmade products in the local market.

This initiative contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals.


• Clean cooking method prevents inhalation of harmful smoke.

• Less physical effort because it is not necessary to bring more firewood to cook.

Climate and environment

• Reduced use of wood.

• Reduction of CO2 emissions.



• Less local conflict and greater safety for women and children.

• Women and their children can spend more time with the family and focus on their education.


• Time-saving options for women to generate more income.

• CooKits local production creates employment.

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