Solar Cooking
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Last edited: 26 May 2016      
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Friends of the Old (FOTO) works in the Lower Nyakach region of western Kenya, an area with a population of 69,000, where 60% of the residents live in severe poverty. Their main source of household energy is firewood, which is becoming more scarce every year. Starting in 2012, Solar Cookers International has been funding Safe Water Packages to be distributed to FOTO beneficiaries. Their primary focus is helping economically disempowered senior citizens who take care of their orphaned grandchildren.

Ms. Dinah Chienjo, FOTO's Director

A Safe Water Package includes a CooKit, a supply of heat-resistant plastic bags, a cooking pot, a clay pot for safe water storage, a fuel-efficient woodstove and a retained-heat cooking basket. FOTO wants to provide elderly community members with a way to have safe drinking water, while also reducing the burden of gathering firewood and the dangerous exposure of women and children to cooking smoke. FOTO monitors the progress of its projects through home visits and monthly and quarterly management meetings. Nearly 84% of beneficiaries continue to use the integrated cooking devices two months after distribution.

Ms. Dinah Chienjo is FOTO's Director.


  • May 2016: Friends of the Old is preparing to distribute and provide training for solar cooking for 1,000 households in Lower Nyakach in 2016. In addition to solar thermal water pasteurization, elderly family members are trained to cook rice, meat, omena (fish), vegetables, groundnuts (peanuts), cake, ugali, githeri and roasted meats in these solar panel cookers.

Staff members binding the edges of new CooKits - C. Cross

  • March 2015: New CooKits being made more durable in Kenya - Friends of the Old staff members bind the edges of new CooKits to make them more durable in Katito, Lower Nyakach, Kenya

FOTO staff members Seline and Pamela traveled to remote Remba Island in Kenya to demonstrate solar panel cookers and fireless baskets. - FOTO

  • September 2014: Friends of the Old staff Seline and Pamela went on a four day work trip to Remba Island, Kenya to promote solar cooking and water testing. Remba Island is on Lake Victoria and is rocky and very remote. There is no firewood or charcoal on Remba Island and must be imported from Mbita by boat. The scarcity of firewood on the island combined with plenty of sunshine makes solar cooking and water pasteurization an ideal solution for the locals. Interest was high at the demonstration and local residents bought the available supply of CooKits and fireless baskets. See more photos of their trip...

Project participants with their Safe Water Packages

  • February 2014: FOTO distributes 100 packages in January - 2014 began on a high note for Friends of the Old, following a funding boost thanks to partners Solar Cookers International. Starting January 2014, distribution of safe water packages increased to 100 recipients every month, up from 50 previously. One hundred household received safe water packages in January. The solar Cookit will enable them to cook food and pasteurize water using renewable solar energy. Safe water pots will help recipients store drinking water, keeping it safe from contamination. Lastly, the upesi jiko and fireless cooker will minimize the use of firewood, saving costs and helping in environmental conservation. Read more...
  • November 2013: Study of water treatment in Kenya demonstrates the effectiveness of the WAPI - Bob Metcalf, research microbiologist, and FOTO worked together on a study to compare results of various water treatment chemicals to the WAPI water pasteurization indicator used with a CooKit solar cooker. One finding of note is that the WAPI, when used with the CooKit, was 100% effective in producing negative results for E.coli, while the WaterGuard (3 drops/liter) method was only effective in most cases. Read the study at: The Goal is Zero: A Strategy to Eliminate Water-bourne Disease in Lower Nyakach, Kenya


  • October 2013: The Goal is Zero: A Strategy to Eliminate Water-Borne Disease in Lower Nyakach, Kenya (Report and Slides)

Audio and video[]

  • December 2014:

Fireless Cookers complement Solar Cookers-0

Solar Cooking: What if the Sun does not Shine?

  • March 2014:

Dinah Chienjo Visits Solar Cookers International, March 2014

Meet Dinah Chienjo, from Friends of the Old - FOTO, one of Solar Cookers International's Project Partners helping to share solar cooking in Western Kenya. — at Solar Cookers International.

See also[]


Dinah Chienjo
Friends of the Old
P.O. Box 51190-00200 C/Sq

Mobile: +254 721-233-994