Dakar American Applied Research & Training
Site Visits in Senegal — “Panier Thermos” (Thermos Basket)
On March 1, 2, and 3 the DAART project management at the West Africa Research Center (WARC) and two members of the project steering committee traveled to Saint Louis (in the north of Senegal) and to Ngaye-Mekhe (in central Senegal) to conduct field visits to DAART fellows as part of the field visits planned for each of the 11 west African fellows of the same project.
The fellow, Ms. Abibatou Banda Fall, a graduate of University Gaston Berger (UGB), has initiated a ground-breaking project with the Panier Thermos (Thermos Basket) as a tool for saving domestic energy. Ms. Fall is working through the Association pour la Recherche Action Developpement et Environnement au Sahel (ARADES), on the production and dissemination of the Panier Thermos.
The project consists in using a common basket—similar to the thousands woven daily by West African craftsmen—as a cooking and cooling device. This is achieved by the padding and isolation technology which helps maintain the temperature of the cooking pot or the cooled product in the basket for an extended period of time. With this technology, fuel wood, charcoal and cooking gas consumption in Senegal and other West African countries could be reduced at least by half. If properly and universally disseminated, the technology would result in extremely far-reaching developmental consequences:
- Reduction in energy consumption for cooking (charcoal, firewood, cooking gas), thus contributing to substantial savings for governments and households,
- Reduction in deforestation,
- Conservation of energy and protein contents of cooked foods, as the Thermos Basket cooks without evaporation—a major contribution to the health and nutritional status of the populations, and
- Reduction in time consecrated to household chores, leaving women time to attend to other activities in their communities.
In both Saint Louis and Mekhe, the women’s organizations with whom ARADES is currently
working on promoting the Panier Thermos unanimously concurred that the technology is simply a revolution in their daily lives.
The DAART project is supporting a number of other youth-led projects in several West African countries, each of which is having far-reaching impact on peoples’ daily lives. The Panier Thermos is certainly a technological innovation which should catch the eye and the purse of donors and other promoters of development in Africa because of its positive effects in terms of energy savings, improved nutrition, and increased opportunities for women’s participation in their communities.