Kenya Posts

Introducing our country managers in 2021

Posted Wednesday 21 April 2021 by Auriina Korhonen.

As we continue to grow and to expand our work in new locations, and find new pathways to create impact, the development of solid teams in our field operations becomes more and more vital. We recently wrote about our ongoing work in Kenya, where our great team is introducing the Lytefire 5 oven to Kisumu through weekly solar baking demos.

Today, we would like to introduce to you our country managers from our key operational countries, and let them share some of their thoughts on the significance of our efforts.

Makenson Mérisca, Haiti

Makenson Merisca is joining us as a country manager for Haiti. He has long-term experience working with several different developmental foundations and programmes in Haiti especially in relation to child welfare and education. Makenson sees being a part of the SFCO team as a chance to work towards the preservation of our natural world, and his personal goal is to see Lytefire technology in widespread use in Haiti. He currently lives in Port-au-Prince with his wife and three children.

Makenson was recommended to us by the one and only Louino Robillard, a pillar of the community in Cité Soleil who Lorin met years ago while staying at and working alongside Haiti Communitere.

Makenson is a young family man with a variety of experience from heavy trucking to NGO support services. His family comes from a region of Haiti where there are some of the last forests in Haiti. Makenson wants to introduce Lytefire tech there because he says people often cut down their trees (sometimes even mango or avocado trees!) to sell to the bakery to burn to bake bread. There’s always a line up outside the bakery, so it seems like there’s a real chance to safeguard Haiti’s precious forests so that Maken’s kids can also enjoy them when they grow up.

Martin Pouabidjie, Burkina Faso

The project with Remar gave us the chance to start building a team here in Burkina Faso, and while we were cooking one day, Martin walked up and was already full of ideas. Full of confidence and not afraid to get his hands dirty, Martin has proven to a hard worker who is willing to learn. Our mutual goal is to deliver more and more trainings to associations and small groups who can use Burkina’s abundant sunshine to generate income while protecting the environment.

Martin is one of six children, and he has worked as a salesperson and coordinator-trainer in a family association, after which he has acquired work experience in team leadership, sales, and marketing. He has studied literature, sociology and project management, with the specific goal of being able to carry out projects of his own. Martin is a father to a four year-old daughter and in his free time he enjoys cinema and football.

For the past two weeks, Martin has been on the ground with the Women of Goghin overseeing the implementation of our entrepreneurship education and bakery training packages. As part of our follow-up with them, Martin will help them to develop and market their products so they can increase the earnings of their women’s cooperative.

Joan Arwa Ogwang, Kenya

Joan Arwa Ogwang is a Kenyan, with a (MA) from Maseno University. With more than 13 years of experience as a regional manager at Capital Airtime Limited (Kisumu), she is a three time winner of the Safaricom regional awards. She has also been a real estate manager for over 15 years, a part-time lecturer at Maseno University’s communication department, as well as a successful entrepreneur with 10 years of experience.

Joan’s motivation is to positively change lives by helping people generate money to be able to afford a decent life. Her personal view is that Solar Fire machines are remarkable since everyone who experiences them are in disbelief of the amount of heat solar light can generate, and that fuels her motivation. With our local technician, Jared Omondi, they are promoting the solar oven through local population.


The Saturday Solar Baking’s in Kenya

Posted mercredi 10 février 2021 by Eva Wissenz.

If you remember, we started in Kenya in 2016 with World Vision, and continued the prototyping the year after with the support of Autodesk Foundaiton and Wärtsilä. Kenya, and especially Kisumu, is dear to us because the first communities where empowered there and David Chepkwone was the very first solar baker using Lytefire 5 solar oven.

Five years later, the good work continues as you can see !

Mr Jared Omondi works with Lorin as a Technician since 2016. His workshop has been recently upgraded. And since a few months, Miss Joan Arwa Ogwang joined our team. She was a member of Capital Airtime Ltd
Safaricom authorized dealer and Western regional manager and she is now also Solar Fire’s country representative in Kenya.

Together, they are introducing the Lytefire 5 solar oven to the population in Kisumu. And every Saturday afternoon, sun permitting, they are putting all their heart to create friendly demo of solar baking for communities and potential clients.

The proof by example.
Nothing can be more powerful.
And yummy, as you can see.


Best Validation Ever in Kenya

Posted Tuesday 12 November 2019 by Eva Wissenz, Jared Omondi.

For a company, especially an impact company like ours, the best validation comes from the field. Last week, our representative in Kenya, Mr Jared Omondi, sent us the short clip below. It shows one of the pilot solar concentrators we installed in 2017 in the Kisumu area, in Kenya. And... it’s still in use!!

First the unit was given to the Tinderet bakery but when their team decided to reduce the baking activity because the chief baker got a better job elsewhere, they decided to transfer the solar concentrator to Friends of Ndere, a very active baking community which had already one of our solar concentrators. In spite of this being one of our pilot units, they are still using this unit to bake since then.

In this short clip (in swahili - sorry, too much happening we don’t have time to translate), Joyce the baker is explaining to Jared that what people like most are their buns and breads. People around really LOVE their breads because they are well baked with a nice light brown colour and the buns remain fresh for 4-5 days.

When so many projects are failing because of maintenance issues, we are succeeding because the users can maintain the Lytefire ovens easily, they can replace if a mirror breaks, and they are continuously making money with their production as well as using the oven for themselves. Joyce and the Friends of Ndere are using the Lytefire 4 days a week and even with a bit of faded mirrors that were not replaced since 2017, the baking oven reaches 220°C.

These amazing communities were introduced to us by our partner World Vision Kenya and the piloting phase happened thanks to Wärtsilä’s sponsorship, Autodesk Foundation’s support and Finnpartnership’s support.


The Inspiring Image of the Day !

Posted samedi 26 janvier 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

We are happy to share this image sent by World Vision Kenya. These are solar baked buns produced and sold by our friends at Yier Ngima in Siaya, Kenya.

This group started with a SOL5 roaster to roast peanuts to make peanut butter. They don’t grow enough peanuts to be roasting full-time, and had seen solar baking at Koptige, so Lorin and Jared created a simple baking rack for their roaster and these solar buns are the result of this change !

Their SOL5 was part of our pilot program in Kenya with World Vision and with sponsorship of Wärtsilä.

Consolata and the other ladies peeling peanuts in the shade while their bread bakes :

By diversifying their business, the Yier Ngima group is increasing uptime on their SOL5 and the members are earning more money, with their business based on sweet, clean solar energy.


Farmers Days in Kenya

Posted Monday 25 June 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

On June 19th, World Vision Kenya presented the SOL5 oven at Misire Afmaga group in presence of 350 people, including many students.

This event was part of the Farmers field days, in Nyamusi. And the theme was: Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade. Several technologies useful to mitigate climate change were presented to the public.

Misire is one of the most active groups of entrepreneurs. They are using their SOL5 oven daily.

Everybody was super happy and excited about the machine and could check how tasty the solar bread is.

This project has started last year with support of Wärtsilä and Autodesk Foundation.


Greening the Blue in Kenya

Posted Friday 8 June 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

World Environment Day was celebrated on June 5th in Kisumu thanks to our cooperation with World Vision. About 500 persons attended the event.

A SOL5 oven was brought from Koptige bakery to the event and all the entrepreneurs groups participated all day, sharing their experience and answering questions.

Tasty peanut butter produced by Yier Ngima with SOL5 roaster was displayed. It’s important to remind that using solar heat removes the smoky charcoal taste and reduce to 0 breathing black particles.


In Kenya, rural solar entrepreneurs share on SOL5

Posted Tuesday 29 May 2018 by Lorin Symington.

We’re pleased to bring you the latest footage from our end user entrepreneurs in Western Kenya. Our partners at World Vision Kenya asked the bakers from Afmago Misire Bakery and the Koptige Women’s Group to share their thoughts on their experiences baking with sunlight over the past year.

Misire is using the SOL5 to bake since 2017 thanks to sponsorship from Wärtsilä and Koptige since two years now. For Koptige, it’s always the chief baker speaking. Indeed, David Chepkowny is a very convinced solar entrepreneur, fluent in English and the additional SOL5 his group got since last year will give a good boost.

I’m so thrilled to see our vision for a solar economy becoming a reality. Look how the corn grows right up to the SOL5, using maximum sunlight!

The groups are reporting significant positive impact as well as increased esteem in their communities. They’re very proud to have been featured in one of the national newspapers:

The groups are reporting significant positive impact as well as increased esteem in their communities. They’re very proud to have been featured in one of the national newspapers:

Article: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/enterprise/Kisii-group-bakes-livelihood-making-banana-bread/4003126-4561350-67of87/index.html

Thanks to Autodesk Foundation, we’re busy planning new innovations and features that our solar bakers have recommended.

We’re really grateful for everyone in Kenya and everything they do to document and share how reliable, safe and affordable it is to go solar with SOL5.


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