THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
BY PATRICIA MCARDLE
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hese Sudanese women, who live in the Iridimi refugee camp in eastern Chad, have been constructing simple solar cookers for
distribution to refugee families for years. In a region where there are few trees but abundant year-round sunshine, this method
of cooking can dramatically reduce the need to burn wood and animal dung. Although the United Nations High Commis-
sioner for Refugees in Chad is considering a variety of more expensive and durable solar cooking devices for possible distribu-
tion in the camps, for the moment these simple panel solar cookers are boiling water for tea, cooking beans and simmering the local
staple sorghummeal almost every day of the year using nothing but sunshine.
Patricia McArdle is a retired Senior Foreign Service officer, who has been promoting solar cooking technology since her 2005 tour of duty with
a British Army Provincial Reconstruction Team in northern Afghanistan. She is also the author of the award-winning novel
audiobook), which was inspired by her year in Afghanistan. She took this photo with her I-Pad mini while conducting a survey of solar cooker
use in two refugee camps in eastern Chad.