Blog of Eva Wissenz

The Inspiring Image of the Day!

Posted Monday 19 November 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

This is from Uganda, were Lorin has now completed the trainings of Smart Up Factory groups of young students entrepreneurs managed by Plan International.

A Smart Sun Bakery is created now and all our team wish them the best of luck to make a profitable and sustainable business with their SOL5!


Meeting UN Agencies in Copenhagen

Posted Tuesday 13 November 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

I’m in Copenhagen at the UN procurement seminar, surrounded by people who deeply want this world to be a better place, meeting different agencies who are all extremely receptive to our work, as well as very interesting companies (165 small, medium and big companies attending from Nordic countries).

Yesterday morning, the presentations of Grete Faremo (Under Secretary General and Executive Director, UNOPS) and Markku Keinänen (Under State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland) were of particular interest.

We have heard great presentations from UN agents who made it very clear how transparency and fairness are key in their procurement. How to integrate sustainable practices and innovation was also very debated among all these inspirational participants.

As our last video shows, it’s an important moment for our project and we want to find more partners. Panel discussions and 1 to 1 meetings were very inspirational and during all the seminar it was really great to see that participants are so willing to cooperate for a more sustainable future!


Announcing Partnership with Forest Trends

Posted Saturday 20 October 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

GoSol is landing in South America! We are very happy about our latest partnership with the organization Forest Trends and excited to start in Brazil where we have a lot of demand for our SOL5.

Forest Trends is a US based NGO supported by USAID and IKEA Foundation. One of their goals is to support the creation of supply chains that allow the indigenous communities to market sustainable harvested forest produce. By supporting the sustainable production of for example roasted nuts, dried seeds and fruits, it becomes possible to leverage globalization to improve the livelihoods of the indigenous communities and strengthen their position to protect the forests.

The cooperation between GoSol, Forest Trends and the indigenous communities starts by identifying the most value-adding uses for solar thermal energy and how to best boost the local communities’ livelihoods. For many energy intensive processes, such as dehydrating, roasting and other food processing, the GoSol technology will allow the communities to tap into the free power of the sun, for processes for which they would have had to use firewood.

Once the first phase of the project is completed, the solution can then be scaled to support indigenous communities throughout the world’s rainforests to protect their livelihoods and enable sustainable supply chains.

The project started October 2018 in the state of Rondônia, Brazil.

The Amazon, the worlds largest rain forest home to many indigenous communities.
Indigenous communities are at the forefront of forest preservation.

Transition Time for GoSol: New Video,
Scaling the Direct Solar Economy

Posted Friday 19 October 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

Dear Friends, Partners, Customers and Followers,

It’s an important moment for us: GoSol has achieved the Direct Solar Economy vision! By providing a clean source of energy to SME’s and farmers, a sustainable economy has started in sunny developing countries.

The educational trainings with Plan International in Uganda is the last building brick of our vision. Everything that had to be proven is proven now: the SOL5 is working, it can be produced locally, entrepreneurs are using it daily, it has a measured impact, and many young trainees want to start a sustainable business right now (and some already did!). The market is there and international partners are working with us... Now is the time to scale up.

In this 5min video, we are presenting our journey, our ecosystem of amazing partners and supporters and the achievements over the past years.

We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do. Big thanks to Urs Riggenbach and our amazing video maker, Basile Remaury!


GoSol’s full vision starting in Uganda
with Plan International

Posted Tuesday 4 September 2018 by Eva Wissenz, Lorin Symington.

Since the very beginning, the way we see it at GoSol is that we must deliver an efficient and powerful solar concentrator, and a training to users, and… more. Over the past years, we have refined the SOL5 to the point where local entrepreneurs can actually use it daily to save money, increase their incomes, and develop their businesses. And this is happening when it’s sunny, and even on cloudy days depending on the cloud-cover. When it’s not possible to use solar heat in the rainy season, then users can go back to their old system for a couple of weeks. But the impact of polluting industries and climate change’s horrible side effects being what they are (deforestation, drought, people migrating away from the countryside in search for a better life…), something more than a device and training was needed to accelerate the adoption of SOL5: education.

So I’m here in Kisumu, Kenya since about 2 weeks to start a new cooperation with Plan International Finland and Plan Uganda’s SmartUp Factory project. With years of experience building in about 10 different developing countries, after monitoring about 5 baker groups in Kenya and Tanzania over the last two years, with support from Autodesk Foundation to create a construction manual, with a CTO that is also a baker, all our team has build a great educational training course that I’m so happy to share.

It’s good to be back in Kisumu, the team is now autonomous when it comes to producing these solar concentrators and baking equipment. Truly it’s an exciting development and it’s something we’ve been working towards for a long time. So far I’ve been on quality control, checking in with them at their workshop, ordering materials and documenting the progress.

Completion of welding of a SOL5 Oven.

I’ve also been reconnecting with our partners, visiting our newest pilot project and preparing for the upcoming educational and business incubation program with Plan International. I’ll be spending a few weeks at Plan’s SmartUp Factories in two hubs in Uganda. At each location I’ll be working with about 12 young people who are energetic and motivated to have an impact in their communities through innovation and entrepreneurship. Part of the idea with the SmartUp Factories is that Plan recognizes that people from poor communities are uniquely positioned to identify challenges facing their communities and, properly empowered, are the best people to address those challenges.

SmartUp Factory participants. © Plan International.

Given the success of our pilot projects in Kenya and Tanzania, 5 of which are bakeries, we’re going to be teaching a well rounded course combining hands-on training and theoretical knowledge where the students will learn to install, use and maintain our SOL5 concentrators, as well as learn about the science of energy, the impact of our solar thermal tech on environmental and health issues, as well as the baking and business skills needed to run a bakery, or another business of their choice.

A Kenyan solar baker preparing a SOL5 for baking.

In the past we’ve worked with already established bakers, but this time we’ll be training from the ground up. You might remember that I got the chance to bake all sorts of treats in South Africa a few years ago, and I remember the super enthusiastic kids from Greenside Primary School!

In Johannesburg, 300 kids from Greenside Primary School loved the solar baked treats!

I remember also all the creativity of students! Like for example Rorisa, a young entrepreneur. Between that trip and these first feedbacks and today, we are thrilled to see that our vision is becoming true!

On top of this, our CTO Arnaud, has been baking traditional French bread for a couple of years now, developing a deep understanding of the art of baking and the science behind it. He has been coaching me, I’ve baked with our pilot projects, and I’ve started a sourdough culture from scratch that we hope will be pleasing to the people in Uganda because real sourdough bread stays fresh much longer than bread leavened with chemical starters, and so is especially appropriate for a solar powered business.

Preparing sourdough.

We have our ideas about business, but we’re really committed to supporting the students of Plan’s SmartUp Factories to create businesses according to their own ideas of what their communities need. This upcoming educational course is just the first step on a beautiful journey of co-creation.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing stories and examples of success stories from the SmartUp Factories as well as footage and ideas of motivated students who are going to help establish the Direct Solar Economy in Uganda!

 

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Video: A Solar Bakery Run by Women in Tanzania

Posted Monday 23 July 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

We are thrilled to share this film showing how these Tanzanian Entrepreneur Women are using our SOL5 technology to run their bakery. Listen to their testimony after a year of solar baking in their village!

This project was possible in cooperation with Global Resource Alliance and with the support of Wärtsilä and Autodesk Foundation.

Check out our Impact and CSR section for cooperation with NGOs, sponsors and corporate philantropy.


Farmers Days in Kenya

Posted Monday 25 June 2018 by Eva Wissenz.

On June 19th, World Vision Kenya presented the SOL5 oven at Misire Afmaga group in presence of 350 people, including many students.

This event was part of the Farmers field days, in Nyamusi. And the theme was: Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade. Several technologies useful to mitigate climate change were presented to the public.

Misire is one of the most active groups of entrepreneurs. They are using their SOL5 oven daily.

Everybody was super happy and excited about the machine and could check how tasty the solar bread is.

This project has started last year with support of Wärtsilä and Autodesk Foundation.


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