Lightbulb: Rural Green Technologies in Liberia

The Center for Sustainable Energy Technology and the community of Bokay’s Town (Grand Bassa County, Liberia) invited us to learn about some new technologies they are incorporating. CSET is a non-profit, non-political, and non-governmental development organization involved in energy and development research, and related policy interventions for sustainable development and poverty reduction in Liberia.

1) LIGHTING
These solar flashlight kits from Green Energies LLC cost about $25USD each and can be assembled locally, recycling used plastic bottles. No more batteries needed, and they’re very sturdy. The Taa Bora Lighting Kit

Solar flashlights being used in a rural community near Buchanan, Liberia.

2) SMOKE-FREE COOKING
Many women in Liberia cook using coal, which causes local deforestation and generates smoke inside the home which endangers their health. These new stoves are welded and made locally by a member of the community, retain their heat longer and do not generate indoor smoke. This woman is a happy customer.

Smoke-free low-coal consumption cookstove

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2 responses to “Lightbulb: Rural Green Technologies in Liberia

  1. Heather, great stuff. Interesting thing on the smoke free fires – I’ve heard indoor (rural Africa) smoke to be a double-edged sword. on the one hand, bad for the lungs. On the other, a good mosquito repellent (anti-malaria), as many women sit over fires and cook the post-sunset evenings and pre-dawn mornings away and the anopheles looks for blood to suck. Smoky rooms are not the solution, but a possible side-effect of the smokefree cooking to consider.

    • Thanks for the comment Jason, especially given your many years of working in rural Liberia. There are never easy answers, are there? My understanding is that the smoky charcoal-based cooking is damaging environment (deforestation) and health (respiratory diseases, eye diseases, low birth weights, higher infant mortality, etc. according to our buddies at the World Health Org). The smoke-free stoves also cook food faster and burn coal longer so they have a positive impact on the household budgets of folks who used them. Are there malaria deterrents that could be used in conjunction with smokefree cooking? Does the overall negative health and livelihood damage caused by malaria for women and children in Liberia outweigh the benefits of the smoke-free stove? Do you know if anyone has run any good comparative studies on this malaria vs charcoal issue?

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