« In my view, Bolivia Inti symbolises the method to adopt with developing countries by providing the necessary expertise and resources so that the populations concerned can move towards autonomy and individual empowerment. Bolivia Inti is not in the business of providing hand-outs »
"Inti" means sun in the Quechua language, which says it all about the work of this association which now counts two thousand members and three full-time staff. Bolivia Inti contacts families in rural or urban environments, provides training in solar technology and oversees courses in solar cooker assembly using equipment purchased locally.
To ensure the success of this programme, it has established partnerships with the French embassy in La Paz, Nantes city hall, the Jeune Chambre Economique de Nantes and the local ADEME (1).
The economic, social and humanitarian repercussions
The cookers are made from a thermally insulated body fitted with a rear reflector panel and a double-glazed top. With adequate solar exposure, the temperature inside can exceed 150 degrees by means of a greenhouse effect.
The advantages of basic solar cooker are manifold. Firstly, in ecological terms, their use helps to reduce deforestation and cut CO2 emissions. Being able to heat food when you like (except at night!) can reduce infant mortality. Finally, it helps limit the chore of wood collection for women and children, saving up to 20 hours per week.
Since the start of its activities, Bolivia Int has contributed to the manufacture of almost two thousand cookers. In 2004, the Veolia foundation was asked to provide funding to enable Bolivia Inti to install an additional eight hundred solar cookers in forty communities in Bolivia, Chile and Peru. A score of students and some fifteen volunteers from the association have been involved in this programme.
(1) Agency for the environment and effective use of energy