GoSol Posts

Let’s inspire and educate with GoSol!

Posted Thursday 25 November 2021 by Hanna Williams.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” GoSol’s mission is to influence and inspire minds, young and old, to comprehend the potential of using free solar thermal energy. Using purely the Lytefire technology instead of relying on charcoal and firewood which releases C02 emissions into the atmosphere. Our vision is to help local communities by creating ‘solarpreneurs’ (entrepreneurs that use Lytefire solar technology), jobs and businesses and to contribute their impact in the fight against poverty in a third world country, rising up against climate change.

The beginning of our next project starts here in Uganda, a country of breathtaking landscapes and bountiful, native wildlife. It is a place with ‘pinch yourself’ moments all around you and surreal views. Unfortunately due to the contributing factors of climate change such as deforestation, rapid population growth and non-sustainable agricultural expansion there is now the potential threat of the ongoing pipeline construction happening in Uganda through to Tanzania.
The expected pipeline route will begin from Hoimia, near lake Albert extending through to the port of Tanga, Tanzania. The pipeline will reach 1,443km in total running through Uganda at 296km, then 1,147km in Tanzania.

The controversial pipeline “is likely to lead to significant disturbance"

The impact of this crude oil pipeline will have a devastating shock to the people, the biodiversity and endangered wildlife, causing irreversible damage.
A WWF Uganda report in 2017 warned that the controversial pipeline “is likely to lead to significant disturbance, fragmentation and increased poaching within important biodiversity and natural habitats”. Not to mention the impact of the total carbon emissions that will be released as a result of the consumption of oil.

The pipeline will run its route through Murchison Falls National Park, Bugoma Forest (home to around 600 endangered chimpanzees) and Biharamulo game reserve. There has been a significant decline of biodiversity already within these areas due to clearing of trees, commercial poaching and oil drilling. Even in my lifetime I have witnessed the extinction of the bongo, giant eland, black rhino, white rhino and the oryx and declining populations of buffalos, elephants, hippopotamuses and lions in some National Parks. Knowing my future children and further generations in years to come will never be able to catch a glimpse of these incredible animals in their natural habitat due to our actions creates so much despair in my heart.

If such a disaster happened here so many lives would be at risk, more poverty and deteriorating jobs

The pipeline will also be constructed alongside Lake Victoria’s basin, as one of the world’s largest tropical fishing destinations this will negatively impact the locals especially the 200,000 employees that rely on this as their main source of income. When travelling I visited the outskirts of Lake Victoria and I observed so many locals depending solely on the Lake to bring back food for their families. If such a disaster happened here so many lives would be at risk, more poverty and deteriorating jobs.
According to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery “A leak could have catastrophic effects on local water resources, the environment and the communities living in the basin.” Lake Victoria supports the livelihoods of 4 million people, if such an event did occur can you even begin to imagine how local families would suffer terribly?

With the knowledge of these environmental issues in Uganda, I began my journey in Lake Mburo, within a safari camp surrounded by zebras, warthogs and many other incredible species! From there, I then travelled to Lake Bunyonyi, quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The serene stillness of the lake, the 6am wake up call of the birds just before the sun rises each morning and not forgetting the views of the mini islands and abundantly rich terraced farmland. This truly is a paradise on Earth! It is heartbreaking to learn that where I am right now in East Africa, may look and be a completely different environment in less than a decade.

90% of Uganda’s total energy requirements are supplied by biomass

Uganda is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in Africa and I am learning about how they are facing many economic challenges such as reduction in forest cover from 24% of total land area (1990) to 9.5% (2017). Over reliance on firewood and charcoal as a primary energy source - 90% of Uganda’s total energy requirements are supplied by biomass. This is having a devastating impact on Uganda’s forests, contributing to 60% of forest loss annually.

If we shift our perspective and educate then maybe we can transform the future for younger generations to come

This is where the role of GoSol comes into effect. If we can change and direct the energy in a positive and empowering way, we can gradually change societies perspectives by living in balance and harmony with the environment around us. As a trainer my aim is to educate students on the benefits of using solar energy instead of using charcoal and firewood. Informing students on the overall accelerating rate of climate change and how we can prevent such disastrous events. If we can change the minds of people who have access to incredible solar thermal power then surely we can develop safer practices to ensure the resurrection of planet earth? If we shift our perspective and educate then maybe we can transform the future for younger generations to come.

(Montessori school, Tanzania, 2021)

We begin our training here in Uganda, Kamuli with Plan International’s SmartUp factory which supports over 3,500 young individuals learning new skills which give them the opportunities to find employment or create their own businesses. The unemployment rate here in Uganda is 80% for youths so it is an incredible project to be part of, training 15 students how to bake with solar energy with Lytefire technology!
Working in synergy with Plan International, the GoSol team is providing profound knowledge of how to start and run your very own solar bakery business.
Our team for this project includes Lorin, Judith, Jared, Callum, Augustine, Nigel and myself and what an extraordinary team they are to complete such a rewarding training programme for these young adults to benefit from!

Follow our training adventures on social media for the entire project until spring 2022!
Instagram: @Lytefire_solar


Announcing new Partnership with Plan International to Empower Entrepreneurs in Uganda

Posted Monday 1 November 2021 by Urs Riggenbach.

We are excited to announce this new partnership to empower entrepreneurs to run solar bakeries and food businesses across 11 locations in Uganda. The project will allow existing bakery cooperatives to transition from daily charcoal burning to using our powerful Lytefire 5 solar concentrator. In addition, we deepen our cooperation with Plan International’s SmartUp Hubs that started back in 2018: There we will equip the SmartUp Hubs with more Lytefires and train unemployed youths to become solar bakers.

It is a great opportunity to spread our entrepreneurial spirit to help boost incomes, grow local sustainable businesses, and at the same time reduce people’s exposure to toxic smoke from charcoal and other polluting fuels. Not to mention the carbon emissions this will reduce at the same time.

The cooperation is a collaboration between Plan International Finland as project initiator, Plan International Uganda as local implementation partner and Solar Fire, the creators of the Lytefire technology and the GoSol educational trainings to create solar entrepreneurs.


Formation à la capitale et installation au village au Burkina avec l’association Tora Coeur de Caux

Posted lundi 1er novembre 2021 by Eva Wissenz, Martin Pouabidjie.

Mission accomplie ! C’est en janvier 2021 que l’association normande Tora Coeur de Caux nous a contacté par l’intermédiaire de notre ami Loïc Perochon pour démarrer un projet à Sika, province de Nasséré, dans le nord du Burkina Faso. Après quelques échanges dynamiques avec Denise Fouquer, membre fondatrice de l’asso, et l’accord du maire de Nasséré, une campagne de levée de fonds a démarré pour permettre de compléter le financement du projet. Elle a été un franc succès et tous les contributeurs sont chaleureusement remerciés.

Du jeudi 14 octobre 2021 au samedi 23 octobre 2021, en tant que représentant de Solar Fire/GoSol au Burkina Faso j’ai organisé la formation de l’association Tora Cœur de Caux en boulangerie et en pâtisserie. Nous avons commencé par la formation technique de 4 personnes avec aussi Mr Eric René Sawadogo qui représente l’association Tora ici. Les premiers jours ont porté sur le montage de la Lytefire, la focalisation des miroirs, et la maintenance de la machine. Nous les avons appris pendant 5 jours à maîtriser plus que le nécessaire sur la Lytefire afin qu’elle puisse être installée une fois chez eux. Par ailleurs, les personnes formées pourraient même former d’autres bénéficiaires si elles le souhaitent.

A partir du 20 octobre 2021, nous avons débuté la formation en pâtisserie avec notre chef pâtissier. Après avoir mis l’accent sur les règles d’hygiène à suivre, il a pu faire en moyenne 3 recettes par jour pendant 4 jours. Les différentes recettes étaient entre autres : le pain simple salé, le pain au lait, les brioches, le pain de mine, les gâteaux cake, le pain sucré, le pain ghanéen, le pain au sésame, le pain hamburger…

Par ailleurs, le chef pâtissier les faisait reprendre les recettes eux-mêmes jusqu’à ce qu’ils les maîtrisent.

Ils étaient tous enthousiastes d’être les premiers à débuter pour la première fois de telles recettes dans leur village, me confient-ils.

Photos Martin Pouadibidjie et Tora.


We are featured by "Education Finland" !

Posted lundi 4 octobre 2021 by Eva Wissenz.

Solar Fire Concentration Oy is very happy and honored to see the Lytefire oven featured among the Finnish companies presented by the Finnish Minister of Education and Minister of Trade on the new platform "Education Finland".

This platform was created to promote the Finnish expertise in school meals to foreigner partners willing to implement the approach.

https://www.educationfinland.fi/school-meals/companies

Check here a recent project with a school in Mwanza, Tanzania.

#Finland #suomi #solarthermal #canteen #education #baking

Website : Education Finland


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.


The Ladies of Goghin, solar bakers in Burkina Faso

Posted Monday 31 May 2021 by Lorin Symington.

We’re very happy to announce the ladies of Goghin have gone solar!

Thanks to your generous contributions on the crowdfunding, the hard work of Vincent Nikiema and his association SOS Énergie Burkina and the contribution of L’Association pour un Monde Solidaire (ASW) we were able to deliver a great training package to members of this rural women’s group.

Over the course of about 3 weeks, our team in Burkina Faso delivered and installed a Lytefire6 along with all the equipment needed for a small bakery, and we conducted two training modules, one focusing on small scale entrepreneurship skills, and the other on practical baking skills.

For the entrepreneurship training, we had said that we could handle a class size of about 15. Nearly 30 women showed up! Only a handful of them could read and write, but all of them wanted to learn more about how to handle money and improve their business skills. Of course, we could not turn them away. Fortunately, our entrepreneurship educator, Somé Alexis has extensive experience training women of all education levels, and he brought an additional helper who is fluent in Mooré, the language of the Mossi people.

While the ladies were learning how to do book keeping, budgeting and other entrepreneurship skills, we worked with some men from the village to ensure they had the know-how to install and calibrate the mirrors on the Lytefire. A number of young men came and went, but in our experience young men move around too much so even if they are trained up, they might not be around when they are needed. We worked with Mr. Sédou and André Nikiema (Vincent’s brother) to install and calibrate the mirrors of the Lytefire. This was also a great chance to see our country manager Martin Poubidjie in action, teaching others how to calibrate.

For the practical bakery portion of the training package, Mr. Jean Bosco made his appearance again and he and his son Allain spent a week with the ladies teaching them the fundamentals of baking, from good ingredient storage habits, to hygiene, proper measuring technique, how to vary the amount of yeast depending on temperature (when it’s 42degC in the afternoon, you don’t need as much yeast as in the morning!) and, very importantly, good kneading technique.

Their village is about 15 minutes off the road from Ouagadougou to Bobo Diolasso about 45 minutes from the city. There is an industrial bakery in the nearby town of Tanghin Dassouri that makes only (in my opinion) cardboard tasting baguettes, but there are so many other delicious varieties of bread and treats to make and the ladies have been very excited to learn some tastier recipes.

Based on our experiences with Remar, we have increased the surface area of the Lytefire from 5 square meters to 6 because the quality of sunlight in Burkina Faso is relatively low due to all the atmospheric dust blown off the Sahara. While you might not see a rain cloud for 9 months of the year, the skies always have a slight-to-severe white haze. For those of you who know your Direct Normal Irradiation levels, Ouagadougou and the surrounds receive about 1500w/m2 annually. For such a sunny country that isn’t very high and it’s due to the intense dustiness. Increasing the power of the Lytefire by 20% compensates for this.

As part of our package we also included a gas powered baking oven for those months of the year when there is simply too much dust (Harmattan wind season) and for the rainy season (July-August). The cost of LPG gas is very high for village life and so we’re very much looking forward to the accounting data the ladies have agreed to share with us. Martin will be in regular contact with them and if they need any refreshers or troubleshooting he will be there for them.

Here, Lorin poses with some very happy new bakers:

Congratulations to the women of Goghin Women’s group and to SOS Burkina Énergie for sustainably going solar with Lytefire!


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