A Breath of Fresh Air
This summer Georgetown students Phil Wong and Phil Dearing travelled to Rwanda to study and help improve cooking practices there. SIPS provided them with resources to purchase modern cooking stoves to distribute to two communities. SIPS funding also helped the pair create and maintain an SMS program to track the usage of those stoves and provide locals with maintenance information and resources about purchasing additional stoves.
On the ground in Rwanda, Phil and Phil spent about half of their time in Kigali developing their SMS platform with the help of local text experts, phone companies, and other stakeholders. They spent the remainder of their time in a village where they met with the cook stove users, helping with the installation of their equipment and convincing users of its benefits.
Although Phil and Phil experienced some problems with the Kigali government bureaucracy, they were able to distribute stoves to more than 50 families, providing them a cleaner, quicker, and more environmentally friendly method of cooking food. Rural Rwandans can utilize their SMS system after further stove installation.