2008 was a busy year for all the partners of the Bolivia Project despite struggles with political insecurities in Bolivia during August and September and the ensuing financial crisis that has affected economies worldwide. As Americans we must remember that any economic troubles ongoing here at home are felt twice as strongly in the struggling developing economies of the world. I’m currently reading a book by Thomas Friedman called “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” and have been rejuvenated by the optimism that rebuilding the world financial system may offer great opportunities for increasing the role of clean energy investments in the future. I hope that is true.
That said I want to give you a taste of what the Bolivia Project and our fundraising partner Aprons of Thanks has been able to do in the past year with donations received to bring solar cookers to struggling families in Bolivia. Despite the economic challenges mentioned above donors generously gave more than $7,000 to help subsidize the price of roughly 350 solar cookers this past year. Roughly 15% of this money was also used to educate rural pueblos (villages) on the advantages of solar cooking including its ability to combat the health problems associated with Indoor Air Pollution and the environmental effects of deforestation/pollution. Ruth Whitfield, president of Sobre La Roca, our partner organizations in Bolivia and her husband, Dave Whitfield, president of CEDESOL, have relayed their thanks to all who have contributed and emphasize the importance that these donations are having on so many. Without the $16 subsidy The Bolivia Project and Aprons of Thanks has made available many families would be unable to invest in healthy cooking.