First steps towards the installation of a solar bakery in Sudan

Posted 12 January 2023 by Samuel Rodrigues.

At the end of 2022 we implemented our first project in Sudan.

Plan International Sudan, an NGO mostly dedicated to education and youth employment, commissioned the installation of a Lytefire 5 unit for a bakery to be installed at Al Alagaya refugee camp in Sudan home of about 28 000 refugee’s.

Sudan has a dense and rich history that spans back millennia. It has been the friction point, as well as the source, of multiple civilizations and cultures. It has been a really enriching experience to get to work in this country.

Unfortunately, in its more recent history, Sudan has been the stage of a lot of political and economic instability. Years of colonization followed by a terrible civil war created fractures and dysfunctions in Sudan’s democratic institutions creating turmoils on all levels of social life that are still very much present today.
As such Khartoum, the country’s capital, is a complex environment to start the manufacturing of a Lytefire.

This is why “KELVIN Sustainable Engineering Solutions” became such an important partner. Kelvin was responsible for all stages of the production of this first unit, working in close proximity with Solar Fire. And the result was a success! A fully functional and high quality machine was manufactured!

The next phase of the mission was to transport the machine along margins of the mythical White Nile to reach Al Alagaya Refugee camp in the south of Sudan.
The Al Alagaya refugee camp was set up in 2014 to host South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict areas. The refugee community amounts today to more than 28 000 people with a large percentage of women and children. As in most refugee camps, the community faces a myriad of challenges, one of them being energy access. The electrical grid is mostly in-existent, gas is expensive and with recurrent supply shortages and locally harvested fire wood (most common fuel at the moment) is scarce, expensive and source of conflict with the hosting community (indigenous to the area).

Taking these energy challenges into account, Plan International Sudan launched a project, financed by Islamic Development Bank and organized around solar energy. It consists of the installation of a small solar (photovoltaic) grid to power economic activities and a working solar bakery based on a Lytefire 5 unit, the latter being the object of our mission.

We worked with a group of trainees responsible for the kick-start of this Solar bakery. This varied group composed of a 5 people Solar Oven Management Committee - that will run the bakery (blue building on the pic) in the long term - and 7 other people belonging to local NGOs and CSO that can provide support - was so motivated and interested by our technology that we managed to install the Lytefire and get it working really quickly.

After the installation of the concentrator and oven and the training on the technical aspects was dispensed, we passed the torch to Umnia Alfateh Almnosor, a baker from a nearby town with 15 years of experience. She trained the group to produce a variety of baked products, most notably a great range of traditional sweets that are not only very tasty but also incredible to look at.

There are still some improvements to the compound and more training sessions to be dispensed but the Solar Bakery at Alagaya is now well on its way!


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