A new solar bakery in Burkina Faso

We’re very happy to announce the success of our collaboration with the NGO Remar in Burkina Faso. We have officially opened of a brand new, Lytefire powered bakery in Burkina Faso after some weeks of training with the ladies of Remar.

At the request of Remar, an NGO operating in 70+ countries, we worked with their local welding staff to build a Lytefire5 with baking oven, a bakery building, and conducted entrepreneurship and bakery skills training. Remar is taking care of 150 vulnerable peoples on the edge of Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou and they are looking for every advantage possible. For one thing, buying bread from the outside costs a considerable amount of precious cash. Thanks to funding from Remar Espana & Remar Schweiz we were able to train Remar welders to build the Lytefire 5, build a new building to house the bakery, buy the equipment and train the ladies of Remar for success in their baking initiative.

This project had the added spice of starting before the WHO declared a global pandemic. In fact, just after finishing the training of the fabricators and the production of the first Lytefire5, project manager Lorin Symington was in the Philippines to follow up on our projects there and meet with the University of Eastern Visayas and the Philippines Coconut Authority to explore the possible avenues for solar thermal to contribute to adding value in the coconut value chain. Lorin left the Philippines just as PH instituted a very early and very strict lockdown. By the time he got the Burkina the world was in a panic and isolation was advised.

Flash forward a few months and Remar/GoSol projects are planned for Haiti, Niger and Mali. During the first months of lockdown Remar and GoSol managed to secure additional funding to ensure exceptional results of the project in Burkina including enough to warrant building a brick and mortar bakery, buy a mixing machine and build a team of local professionals capable of ensuring appropriate training for the women of Remar and ongoing support.

The bakery was officially launched in October and we are happy to report that they are producing +100kg of bread per week as well as 5kg of ‘Madeleine’ personal sized cakes for sale in the city. They’re saving a bundle and making an income on top. The women report being more confident after receiving training because they now have the vocabulary and skills to run a business and earn money to contribute back to Remar, which, as an organization, has done so much for so many of them.

For us, it was truly inspiring to see these ladies, many of whom have not been in school for many years, pick up their pen and paper and calculate profit and loss scenarios while their babies hang on their hips. At first, it was hard to tell which baby belonged to who, because all the babies were being passed around so much. At first, the toddlers were not in class, but once the classroom segment was done and it was time to bake, there were kids constantly underfoot. We had a class full of 15 women, some as young as 15, others 50 years of age, and they cooperated to ensure that everyone, regardless of health condition, literacy level or number of children, had the chance to participate in the training and learn the needed skills to run a small business.

With our aspiring GoSol team in place in Burkina Faso, we are continuing to provide support to this fledgeling business, the success of which gives hope for widespread adoption of direct solar thermal energy systems and an end to deforestation in the Sahel.

 

 

 

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