Solar Cooking
Last edited: 27 April 2020      

Photo credit: Solar Cooking KoZon

Togo Tilé established a self-supporting solar cooker business is Mali with a grant from Solar Cooking KoZon in 2014. In 2017 and after extensive analysis of the business, Togo Tilé was selected by a government program intended to stimulate private enterprise in Mali. A business expansion plan was established. Togo Tilé now reports that they have a thriving business with 30 staff members, five points of sale nationwide, and an average monthly business volume of EUR 9,000.


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See also: Global Calendar of Events and past events in Mali

Most significant projects[]

Togo Tilés products for sale at a local market. Photo credit: Solar Cooking KoZon

  • Continued success for solar cooking business in Mali - In 2014, Solar Cooking KoZon granted Togo Tilé, a Mali-based solar cooking business run by Seydou Coulibaly, an initial subsidy of EUR 13,300. Two years later, it was an established business with 30 staff members, five points of sale nationwide, and an average monthly business volume of EUR 9,000. Helping the environment, is an important message presented at sales demonstrations and at schools and universities. For Togo Tilé, a contribution to the environment does not end with the sale of the product, as they continue to support and follow-up with their customers.


  • April 2018: Togo Tilé's new workshop and ICS-shop in Segou is now ready and will be officially opened this month. There are 80 employees, all young and mostly women selling products in 17 locations throughout Mali.

Photo credit: Solar Cooking KoZon

  • May 2017: Solar Cooking KoZon (SCK) stimulates ISC private enterprises - In 2014, Solar Cooking KoZon granted Togo Tilé, a Mali-based solar cooking business run by Seydou Coulibaly, an initial subsidy of EUR 13,300. Two years later, it’s a thriving business with 30 staff members, five points of sale nationwide and an average monthly business volume of €4,000. The environment constitutes an important incentive; at sales demonstrations, at schools and universities, close attention is paid to the environmental aspects of solar cooking. For Seydou a contribution to the environment does not end with the sale of the product. Togo Tilé continues to support its customers for some time after the sale, to ensure that the products are truly integrated in daily cooking, to provide a lasting positive contribution to the environment. After extensive analysis of the business, Togo Tilé was selected by a government program intended to focus on stimulating private enterprise in Mali. A business expansion plan was established that included the construction of a bigger workshop and the acquisition of a saw and a welding machine. More information...

Solar box cookers available for sale at Togo Tilé. Photo credit: Solar Cooking KoZon

  • September 2016: A sturdy solar box cooker developed by Henk Blok together with students of the Free University and the University of Amsterdam continues to be popular at the Togo Tilé retail store. Henk and Marjan Blok paid the start-up costs for the experiment with these boxes in Mali. Piet Sluimer, a member of the Techniques Work Group, has developed a cheaper cardboard solar box cooker (the smaller box on the right), which is also selling well.

Solar Cooking The Netherlands - KoZon provided solar cookers and hay baskets - Photo credit Solar Cooking KoZon

  • September 2016: Mali women with disabilities receive assistance with access to solar cooking - Sixty women from Bamako and Sikasso, Mali, attended a workshop organized by Solar Cooking The Netherlands - KoZon in August. With limited ability to gather wood for fuel, the solar cookers and hay baskets have reduced their wood use by 60 to 70%. Read more...
  • December 2015: Solar Cooking The Netherlands - KoZon reports: "We have carefully continued this trend in the latest project together with the Association des Femmes Ingénieurs du Mali (AFIMA) in Tiby, in the Segou area. Eight hundred and fifty Women have been trained. From this group, four cooperatives have been created. They were to continue as businesses that would disseminate solar cooking while being coached by AFIMA. However, our partner has decided that it prefers to continue with other charitable projects. We are therefore going our separate ways. We will have the new Renewable Energy Centre near Mbarara ISC, and information and promotion in Ethiopia for the time being. It is regrettable because AFIMA has been of great value in the dissemination of ISC in Mali. To ensure that the cooperatives will be able to continue, we are attempting to link them to the Togo Tilé project."

Photo credit: Braced

Photo credit: United Nations Development Programme

  • June 2015: UNDP trains blacksmiths to build solar cookers - In its recently published Annual Report, the United Nations Development Program highlighted its program in rural Mali which trained local village blacksmiths to build solar cookers, solar dryers, and water heaters. Local residents also had solar panels installed on their homes. Roughly 30,000 people have reportedly benefited from this program. Read more...

Mid-day meal being prepared at Mali school - Sun and Ice

  • January 2015: Only the cooking food is out in the sun at this Mali school - Stephan Zech, with Sun and Ice, posted this photo of a mid-day meal being prepared at a school in Mali.

World Vision Mali trains students to use various type of solar cookers.

See older news...


The Sahelian nation of Mali has been the site of several solar cooking projects. Desertification continues to be an immense problem in this part of Africa. It was reported only 10% of the land has any forest cover, and deforestation has continued to occur. As in other areas, clearing land for agriculture and grazing was assumed to be the principal reason for the forests' decline, but there was also recognition that over 70% of wood production was used for cooking. Solar cooking offers one way to stem this unwanted development in Mali.

University of Torino

Researchers at the University of Torino, studying the problem, experimented with a wide range of fuel-saving devices, dryers, water heaters, solar lighting panels, and solar cookers. (As one researcher said-, "Every day when I get up (and look at the sun), I see all that energy going to waste.) Considerable study done under the auspices of the University, with joint efforts of the Faculty of Agricultural Science and the Interdepartmental Centre of Women's Studies, has included surveys, interviews, and field analyses of both problems and some suggested solutions. Local associations promoted various fuel saving devices. But in a nation without adequate communication channels (television or daily newspapers) and a population with only a 35% literacy rate, spreading new technology has been difficult. Radio broadcasting was thought to be the most promising dissemination media. Most important in this situation was the awareness of the problem, and the willingness to seek solutions.

Gnibouwa Diassana

One single person, Gnibouwa Diassana, long committed to solar cooking, managed in these circumstances to make and sell solar box cookers. He did this on his own, without assistance even from the NGO he has worked with on other types of projects. This sole person, working only with his son, had a promotion plan for an energy week and even a business plan that would permit expanded production of solar box cookers. He hoped to find partners among women's organizations, but he knew tabout resistance to change, and rigid gender based roles, making it difficult for women to pursue the purchase of cookers. He was however a determined man, until he passed away in 2017. Pictures and story, Solar Cooker Review, March 2003).

Lanseri Niare

A project created by an individual was the work of Lanseri Niare, who introduced box cookers, both by teaching people how to build their own cooker and how to use the box when built. Major problems encountered in this project were glass breakage, termites if the box was used on the ground, and the Harmattan period (a severe windy season), which brought so much dust, that even when sunny, cooking was difficult) (Solar Cooker Review, Dec. 98).

KoZon Foundation

One other project, which has proven successful in Mali, operated under the auspices of the KoZon Foundation, a Dutch organization that has been involved in the western African Sahelian nations. From a beginning in Burkina Faso (see above), the efforts of KoZon and its dedicated volunteer Wietske Jongbloed, have introduced CooKits in Mali since 2001. Wietzke has operated at a very grassroots level, taking cookers (mostly using CooKits made in the Sahel to keep cost low) to marketplaces for demonstrations. The CooKits themselves were initially imported from abroad, and then purchased from Burkina Faso. This operation, relatively new, has not yet been evaluated by KoZon, but gradually movied forward, in cooperation with the Association des Femmes Ingénieurs du Mali. {{ArchivedPagesForHistory}

Climate and culture[]

A 2010 report from Mali’s agriculture ministry said that more than 500,000 hectares of forest are cleared for firewood and charcoal each year in the West African country. But new ways of cooking, using solar power and heat-retention cookers, could cut those losses.[1]

Based on knowledge gained from visiting solar cooking promoters and appropriate technology organizations, J.P. Martin-Vallas has developed some recommendations for solar cooker dissemination in Mali:

  • Target cities where firewood is quite expensive, such as in Kayes, Niafunke, and Tombouctou
  • Encourage dissemination by women
  • Focus on durable box-type solar cookers that accommodate large cooking pots
  • Engage local carpenters to make the cookers
  • Provide a five-year guarantee for each cooker sold

J.P. Martin-Vallas concluded that imported parabolic-type solar cookers are currently too expensive for most Malians. One way to lower prices, he says, would be to import bulk aluminum sheets and cut panels on site.

The following chart shows some sample annual firewood expenditures for households of 10 people. (Note: In 2005, 500 CFAs was approximately USD $1.)


Annual Firewood Expenditure
(in CFA Francs)























Northern part of the country: Desert (Sahel). Southern part of the country: Sunny, little firewood, and populated. (Source: Juan Urrutia Sanz, 2010-Feb-25)

See also


Possible funders[]

Project evaluations[]


Discussion groups[]

Articles in the media[]

External links[]


The entities listed below are either based in Mali, or have established solar cooking projects there:

SCI Associates[]


Manufacturers and vendors[]


Government agencies[]

Educational institutions[]

See also[]