Blog of Heikki Lindfors

Preserving the green beauty with the power of the sun

Posted Friday 19 May 2017 by Heikki Lindfors, Heikki Lindfors.

Misire youth group is an agricultural community in Nyamira County in southwest Kenya. The area is known for its rich agricultural production. The main crops in the area include bananas, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, beans and tea. The land is hilly and green and one can see small fields everywhere around.

We were introduced to Misire youth group by World Vision Kenya in January 2017, and they were interested in having GoSol’s Sol5 solar baking oven. The group bakes bread for four local schools in the vicinity. However, their baking business has been limited by charcoal. One bag of charcoal costs 1200-1500 Kenyan shillings (US$12-15) in the area - much higher than we have seen anywhere else in the country. This is due to the fact that cutting down trees is illegal - the local government has decided to keep the green and lush land as it is by this ban, resulting in extreme traditional energy prices but hopefully beautiful preserved landscape for their children.

The group grows maize, bananas and beans on their land. The bananas in the area are plentiful and even overabundant. Instead of selling all the bananas fresh, the group dries them into banana chips, grinds them into flour, and bakes bread using 20% banana flour, 80% wheat flour. The bread is very sweet and tasty, with exotic banana flavor. Environmental consciousness and unique bakery product; the perfect setting for a Sol5 solar bakery.

Thanks to our sponsors Wärtsilä, we delivered a Sol5 solar bakery to the Misire youth group on a sunny April morning. The group (as well as extended family and neighbours) immediately gathered around the Sol5, helping us to assemble it. Eagerness and excitement was radiating from the faces of the villagers when we all together, erecting the frame and putting up the mirrors on the Sol5.

The Sol5 was assembled in few hours, and the next day we gathered with the community to bake with the Sol5. The group leader Afros Ochieng was delighted by the efficiency of the Sol5, as it was faster to bake the buns and breads than their previous charcoal oven. And as the fuel cost is zero as opposed of their previous huge charcoal cost, they can now bake more. Afros Ochieng explained with enthusiasm that the group previously baked only two times per week, but now he thinks that they can bake every day and expand their bakery business.

GoSol’s solar innovations creates new sustainable businesses, and that means preserving the beautiful scenery of Nyamira County for locals, visitors and future generations.

Watch the video showing this great group !


You make the world a better place by working...

Posted Friday 28 April 2017 by Heikki Lindfors.

You make the world a better place by working together, and sometimes small local partners can provide the best value for the local people. Like a solar bakery in a community center.

Lokichoggio is a Kenyan town in in northwest Kenya, near the border with South Sudan. The town is very remote, located in the desert region of Turkana. Between 1989-2005 Lokichoggio was a forward base of UN Operation Lifeline Sudan. In those busy times many international NGOs were present in Lokichoggio, and air transports were flying to South Sudan several times a day from the local airport. After the operation ended, the NGOs left, leaving the town quiet and desolate and the locals jobless. All that remains from those busy days are abandoned compounds and a few hotels.

Kea and Birgitta Arnlund work for a Swedish NGO Barnmissionen. Barnmissionen has provided an elementary school for local Turkana children, providing basic education for over 500 students.

They also work together with the ANA Women’s group, which runs a local bakery. ANA Women’s group is a local NGO, with six members. They bake bread, scones and queen cakes every morning and deliver them to local schools and shops. The school children enjoy their fresh bread for lunch every day, and the local shops sell it to townspeople.

Kea and Birgitta and the ANA Women’s group have a dream: to build a community center and a library, where people can come to read, use computers, and study to provide these educational and beneficial free-time activities for the local Turkana people at no cost. They will also now have a solar bakery at the community center so people can enjoy tea and some solar-baked treats in the cafeteria.

To make lives better locally, you only need a handful of visionary people working together, such as the women of ANA Women’s group, and also Birgitta and Kea.

Check the vblog of this group: