February 16, 2013

Preparations for Lazola cooker construction in Kenya

H.-Georg Klaphake, a retired German technical teacher, is planning to train a group of skilled Kenyan craftsmen on how to build Lazola solar box cookers. In December 2012, he went to Kenya for two weeks. Mugo and other board members of MKICDO had made arrangements for his stay in a host family and to take him to various places. H.-Georg visited the Murugi Youth Training Centre where he met with the staff and some of his future trainees.

H.-Georg with his hosts Mr. & Mrs. Miriti (left), trainees and Mugo

H.-Georg shows a sample of the inner part of the cooker

explaining the construction process

H.-Georg and Mugo went to hardware stores in Chuka to check upon the availability and cost of galvanized metal sheets. In addition, they made several attempts to find a source of affordable offset printing plates in Nairobi. These plates are used to make the inner part of the box cooker.
The technical facilities at the Murugi Training Centre are still very limited. Therefore the manager of the centre, Mugo, Miriti and H.-Georg drove to the Don Bosco School in the town of Embu. The school has  well-equipped metal and carpentry workshops and allowed them to use their machines to cut and bend metal sheets for H.-Georg´s demonstrations.
In the long run, however, Murugi Training Centre will need their own equipment to successfully build solar cookers and provide training. Materials need to be stocked so that - once the training starts - several cookers can be produced at a time.

During his stay,  H.-Georg joined Mugo and members of the Gaketha group for a Lazola promotion in Isiolo district. The area is semi-arid and hot. Cooking fuel is in high demand and firewood, charcoal and gas are very expensive. So it is not surprising that many people were interested to learn about cooking with the sun. One man wanted to buy the Lazola straight away. He didn´t even bother to enquire about the price of the cooker. But alas, we cannot give away our (so far) one-and-only!

on the way to Isiolo

serving solar cooked food ...

... and enjoying it together

bags of charcoal at the market

roasted goat meat, "nyama choma",  is very popular in Kenya

                                            H.-Georg also visited the Gaketha group and saw some of their projects. 

at the tree nursery

Gaketha group members at Mugo´s place

One day, when H.-Georg and his host were driving up to Gaketha on the road that leads through the Mount Kenya forest he had a rare chance to see elephants. (I am really envious because during all my visits to the place I have only seen the traces they left behind, but never a single animal.)
He also saw the peaks of Mount Kenya which most of the time are hidden in the clouds - signs of welcome to the visitor.

feeding elephants

Mount Kenya - Kirinyaga "God´s resting place" - 5,197 metres

When H.-Georg got back to Germany he began to look for support and raise funds for the Lazola project.

We are both members of the organizations L-H-L e.V (Lernen-Helfen-Leben / learn-help-live) and Lazola e.V. and very thankful for their advice and support.

On the website of the organization betterplace, H.-Georg set up an appeal for donations. Both of us have approached friends as well as organizations to support the project - and we will continue to promote the use of appropriate solar technologies in Kenya.

The innovative Lazola Solar Box Cookers have been developed by Jo Hasler of the German non-profit Lazola Initiative for Spreading Solar Cooking ( Lazola e.V.).

Three different models of the cooker are available:

- The Lazola 2 is an efficient and durable high-tech manufactured cooker of high standard which is mainly sold in Europe.

- The Lazola 3 has the qualities of the Lazola 2 but was especially designed for serial production in countries with low financial capacity. It performs well in tropical and non-tropical countries.

- The Lazola 4 is of the same high standard as the Lazola 3 but was developed especially for tropical countries. It does not have a slanted front like the latter but a flat top instead. Thus it can be built more easily and within a shorter time.

The manufacturing concept of the Lazola 3 and the Lazola 4 is aimed at serial production and differs completely from piece production: Every step is standardized and supported by templates and jigs. The manufacturing process is explained in an explicit construction manual.

It is comparatively simple to build a Lazola box cooker and can be done by anybody who has basic mechanical skills. The full-scale templates and jigs facilitate most operations and lead to results of high precision. This way a high standard of quality is ensured for every single cooker.

A workshop that implements the LAZOLA concept should be supervised by a manufacturing manager who has some kind of technical and mechanical skills as well as job experience. The Lazola Initiative Germany offers courses in which all skills required for the construction of Lazola cookers are trained.


Lazola 4 and Lazola 3 (closed)

Lazola 4 and Lazola 3 (open)

large Lazola 4