Many households in Namibia, mostly in rural areas still rely on firewood to cook meals and heat water. But firewood is becoming scarcer every year.
Women and girls now spend more hours collecting firewood, which put strain on their wellbeing.
With the shortage of firewood having reached a crisis level in most parts of Namibia, rural communities need to turn to sustainable cooking using the sun. This is according to Nailoke Niingungo, a leading expert on solar ovens.
Niingungo is the owner of Nailoke’s Solar House cc, a solar oven making company that she has been operating since July 2008.
The company, based in Tsumeb has been producing solar stoves that use sunlight to cook. This enterprising woman from Omuthiya, was among 14 women who participated in a week-long training on how to make solar stoves in 1998.
The training was conducted by a women’s solidarity organisation from Germany. Lately, the business has been slow, but solar stoves are well suited for rural households and help save the environment.
Solar ovens also mean that women and girls will no longer spend long hours foraging for firewood.
“Our ovens are wholly Namibian products, made by Namibian women.
They are very important because once you invested to own it (oven), no other expenses required in the next 10 to 15 years.
It saves money, time and above all it saves the environment,” said Niingungo.
The biggest challenge she is struggling with is how to effectively market her stoves. “I need I need a proper marketing strategy to help me generate more sales.
First I need to iron the marketing challenges, although I also need formal space to operating from and proper equipment for my business.”
Over the years, Niingungo said she has been using word of mouth marketing and has been showcasing her products at trade fairs including the Tsumeb Copper Festival and Omaruru Arts and Cultural Festival.
“I would like to invite everybody willing to own a solar stove to get in touch with us. Let’s safeguard our environment by embracing sustainable cooking. I am also inviting whoever interested to become a business partner to come forward.”
The price for ovens range from N$1500 to N$2500. She also demonstrates to the public how to use the solar stoves for baking. The stoves can be used to bake breads, cupcakes and even to roast peanuts.