Kakuma Refugee Camp is home to about 70,000 refugees, most of them from the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan. This part of Kenya is extremely dry and wood is very scarce, yet the majority of families at Kakuma cook on wood and charcoal. Collecting wood is dangerous, so a lot of wood has to be transported from elsewhere. Wood use exacerbates deforestation and contributes to global warming.
From 1995 to 2002, the US-based group 'Solar Cookers International' ran a project in Kakuma that provided about 15,000 refugee families with cheap, portable, lightweight solar cookers called 'CooKits' Families were taught how to use the cookers effectively to cook meals and pasteurise water, and thus save both money and wood. After the project finished, a number of participants continued to use Cookits to provide meals for sale.