Tanzania Posts

About 300 solar buns a day for a Montessori school in Mwanza !

Posted mercredi 1er septembre 2021 by Lorin Symington.

Jambo mambo ! Habari ako ? Nzuri sana ! Greetings and salutations from Mwanza, Tanzania. Also known as Rock City, this city of about a million people is in the western part of the country and has about a million inhabitants. It is here that you can find Mwanza Montessori school, a wonderful institution devoted to wholesome and child focused education. The School is led by Sister Denise, who we connected with in Switzerland and enabled the installation of three Lytefire 5 solar ovens at their school to bake bread, cookies and cakes for the student population.

The school had an old unused shipping container that had been modified into a shop, with windows, doors, cupboards and shelves already built into it and during our pre-project survey we identified this as an ideal location for the ovens. Our Kenyan fabricator Jared traveled to Mwanza ahead of the project to scout out if there were suitable places for the Lytefires nearby to the container and then, due to uneven ground, he built 3 concrete ring foundations to host the ovens.

The installation of the machines was done collaboratively, with our team of project managers instructing teachers, students and school support staff how to install and calibrate the Lytefire5.

Next we headed into the classroom where we taught these lively youngsters about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. We covered such topics as procurement, inventory, hygiene, quality control, bookkeeping, profit margin calculations and how to develop a business plan. Below you can see our Kenyan country representative Joan Arwa, teaching the kids the difference in profit between buying retail and buying wholesale :

It’s our experience that young students are much more focused and well behaved if there are going to be cookies after school ;)

Montessori education consists of a lot of hands-on learning. ‘Teach me to do it by myself’ is a common saying amongst Montessori educators. That’s one of the reasons that our program fit so well with the Maria Montessori philosophy because we very much emphasize practical learning. We mix classroom sessions learning theory with the practical experience of creating tasty treats from scratch :

Cookies and cupcakes are great and get the students very excited but the primary reason for this initiative was to bake higher quality bread at a lower cost for the students. Previously, the school had been buying buns from a commercial bakery in town. Included in the price, as we learned in class there are fuel costs to bake, delivery fees and the profit margin of the business. Thanks to our intrepid team we found the cheapest places in town to buy all the ingredients and, without need to buy gas, electricity or charcoal to bake the bread, we managed to cut the schools’ bread budget nearly in half ! Feast your eyes on the delicious buns that our master baker Hasheem taught us all how to bake :

The final week involved some experimentation and optimisation of production flows and schedules, calculating recipes so that we match the size and weight of the commercial buns and also fill up the baking trays precisely, practicing the timing of starting the dough, heating up the Lytefire, letting the bread prove as we wash dishes, and then bake while reviewing the theory components. We’re extremely proud of the students and staff who took up this opportunity with enthusiasm. No project, however, is complete without a demo day !

We invited the families of participants, as well as some local dignitaries and other educators to come and see the results of our entrepreneurship and solar bakery training package. Of course we had to invite the students that didn’t have the chance to participate in the training as well and feed them lots of buns and cookies and the beautiful cakes you can see on the picture below ! The students and staff alike were excited to demonstrate their newly acquired skills and the power of the Lytefires and the crowd was happy to smell and taste cookies being baked solely by the power of the sun.

We at GoSol and the Mwanza Montessori school would like to thank Kloster Baldegg for making this project possible !

Thanks also to the team : Jared and Joan from Kenya, our new other project manager Sam Rodrigues, and Hanna Gregory and Callum McRobbie who were volunteering.


Tanzania: a Montessori school chose Lytefire

Posted Saturday 19 June 2021 by Lorin Symington.

We’re happy to announce that we will be implementing an innovative new project in the Mwanza region of Tanzania in association with Montessori School Mwanza. Montessori School Mwanza is under the direction of Sister Denise Mattle, who has been involved in Montessori education for more than 40 years.

Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. It was developed by Maria Montessor in Italy about a century agoi and is practiced worldwide.

Given the fact that the Montessori School Mwanza is an education campus for more than 1000 students, some of whom stay overnight, there is a considerable demand for bread and baked goods as well as the occasional birthday cake already coming from within the institution! Beyond that, the goal is to sell the solar-baked goods through a newly opened shop in the neighborhood.

Together, GoSol and Montessori School Mwanza will install Lytefire 3 ovens, conduct a training of trainers to ensure that staff at the school are familiar with Lytefire tech as well as the basics of baking and entrepreneurship. Afterwards, together we’ll train the first batch of secondary school students who will have the opportunity to provide baked goods for their peers and also create a student run business that will develop recipes and sell baked goods to the surrounding population.

The hands-on learning approach of Montessori Schools is a great fit for GoSol’s educational program where we train participants in the installation, use and maintenance of Lytefire technology as well as practical aspects of entrepreneurship and bakery skills. Giving secondary school students the opportunity to also interact with a renewable energy source and learn about climate change can also help to prepare them for the future.

This is a great opportunity to give youth who are interested in learning about how to run a business a great hands-on experience as part of their schooling, supervised by caring and qualified adults. Additionally, for any students more interested in the culinary arts there should be ample opportunity to practice and experiment while baking for their friends and fellow students.

This initiative should help to save Montessori School Mwanza money, reduce their environmental impact and give a large number of young people exposure to renewable energy solutions, experience running a business and lots of practice baking delicious treats like cakes, cookies, muffins and more!

More info about Montessori Mwanza here.

Read more about the project once completed with 300 buns solar baked for the school !.

All pictures (c) Montessori Mwanza.


Video: A Solar Bakery Run by Women in Tanzania

Posted Monday 23 July 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

We are thrilled to share this film showing how these Tanzanian Entrepreneur Women are using our SOL5 technology to run their bakery. Listen to their testimony after a year of solar baking in their village!

This project was possible in cooperation with Global Resource Alliance and with the support of Wärtsilä and Autodesk Foundation.

Check out our Impact and CSR section for cooperation with NGOs, sponsors and corporate philantropy.


Update from Musoma, Tanzania

Posted Thursday 1 February 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

After three months of rainy weather, the sun is back in Musoma and Alpha Women’s group is back with delicious solar baked breads! We’ve just got pictures from our partner, Global Resource Alliance.

Alpha Women’s group used improved cook-stoves and kettles to bake scones, for themselves and their families, approximately twice per week, and was looking to increase production to sell bread to other villagers. After implementation of the SOL5 in June 2017, the group began to use the SOL5 baking oven up to five times per week, and started selling their baking products to new customers.

Their business started immediately in June 2017, right after the installation. We have installed a hybrid machine for that group and in the future we may see the group is diversifying their activities to processing roasted beans, which was not planned at beginning but possible with our hybrid technology.

This entrepreneurial group is very motivated and even though they did not have extensive business experience, the data is showing clearly that the training is good and the installed solar concentrator is in regular use when it’s sunny and not too cloudy.

It will be interesting to see in subsequent data analysis the impact of the SOL5 on their income generation. Data collection and analysis is continuing with more investigation on the economics of the group’s solar thermal entrepreneurship.

People are very curious about the SOL5, and many want to get one. We are actively working with our partners to implement our activity locally to spread the SOL5 technology as much as possible.


Wärtsilä’s video introducing our project

Posted Thursday 18 January 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

After a year of cooperation in East Africa, Wärtsilä Corp. is promoting our initiative in their own words.

Watch their video presenting our work in Tanzania and Kenya:


Flagship video of projects in Kenya and Tanzania

Posted Tuesday 31 October 2017 by Eva Wissenz.

After a year of operation with support of our sponsor and with our local partners, we are happy to present our achievements in Kenya and Tanzania.

Our local partners are ensuring the follow up of the project as well as data collection to prepare scale up.

Several communities have been equipped with our SOL5 device and have successfully adopted the technology to bake, roast peanuts or dehydrate fish, increasing income, decreasing charcoal use and improving working conditions.

It has been an exciting and challenging year and all the team contributed to make it a success, welcoming also new motivated people to make this world a better place for all.

Download our manifesto, "Direct Solar Economy" for free!


Very dynamic solar bakers in Tanzania

Posted Tuesday 10 October 2017 by Heikki Lindfors.

Buy what’s available, refine it, sell it for profit. Do it over and over again and support your family and community. This seems to be the operating model of the Tujijenge group working in the Makoko neighborhood in Musoma, Tanzania. They do all kinds of value-adding food processing, depending on what is available to them. That’s exactly the entrepreneurial spirit we like at GoSol!

When GoSol’s Heikki and Lorin met the Tujijenge group for the first time in May 2017, they were making their own charcoal to roast fish, cassava, and peanuts, as well as for baking. During this meeting we realized that this is an ideal group for GoSol’s SOL5 hybrid baking oven/roaster model. As they were running diverse entrepreneurial activities already before tapping into solar energy, we were sure they’d come up with many, many uses for their SOL5 so they can save money and stop using charcoal.

Tujijenge is a group of ten women and three men. They get all kinds of fresh foods, process them and sell them for a better price.
Teach a man to fish and he'll feed himself for a lifetime, they say. At GoSol we want all of humanity to have free solar energy.

And we were not disappointed: The group adopted the technology within the first two days. The men in the group grabbed wrenches to learn how to assemble and maintain the solar concentrator. Meanwhile, the ladies of the group gathered to discuss what uses they have for it. Baking was an obvious starting point, as they were already very experienced with it. But as they are also roasting, we are eager to return to the group soon and see what uses they have come up for the roasting drum!

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