Vuka Energy Savings is a straightforward method of bringing the benefits of science and technology directly into the homes of the people who can benefit from it most in a way that they understand, and in a way that has an immediate impact on their daily lives. 

  In poor communities constant effort is expended in obtaining fuel for cooking. Wood is gathered or paraffin is purchased where finances allow. Electricity, where available, is one of the highest cost items in a household. It is used for light and warmth but mainly for cooking. This cost for households has increased dramatically in 2011 and will continue to do so. These increases are starting to make electricity unaffordable for many.

Alternative energy sources and technology are available but rural and township communities are not aware of them. Often most of the women in severely marginalised communities are illiterate and thus have no way of finding out about these technologies by their own effort.

Vuka Energy Savings has conducted research within the target groups and selected a few energy saving technologies that are appropriate and that will make a real, and immediate, difference to people’s lives.

Slow Cooked Samp and Beans 

Opening the Blanket Box with the cooked rice



Why was the project initiated and what does it aim to achieve?
Project was initiated to bring energy savings technologies to mainly low-income households. Showcased and pilot week were during National Science Week 2010.
It aims to have as many households in South Africa know about and realize the advantages of using energy savings technologies in cutting costs and providing nutritious meals by, for instance, being able to use less fuel to cook food, including that which needs to be slow cooked for a length of time.

How does the project measure its achievements?
By seeing the technologies introduced being used and the knowledge being shared by word of mouth in low-income grassroots households.

How does the project benefit the community and/or environment?
The community benefits by having money to spend on other essential items.
Members of the community who gather fuels/energy sources would not need to do so as often.

The environment benefits by the use of recyclable materials such as newspaper, old candles, sawdust in the case of the Energy balls, decreased use of electricity, and of fossil burning fuel in the case of the Wonderbox and Solarstove technologies.

How does the project use environmental resources sustainably?
Environmental resources are used sustainably because there is a decreased demand for electricity, coal, paraffin, wood.

Why does this project deserve to be championed and funded?
The major advantage is that the technologies and methods of disseminating the information can be replicated anywhere.

The fact that the program revolves around a Mobile Energy Savings Demonstration Unit means that it can truly reach people anywhere. These units can travel the country; make direct contact with people at grassroots level; work with existing community organizations to train staff; encourage the formation of Cooking Clubs and monitor those Clubs on an ongoing basis. This will ensure that the knowledge is spread and shared with people desperate to find a way to feed their families and cut costs in this time of escalating prices. 

The benefits do not just stop at energy savings. The Cooking Clubs demonstrate cost effective good nutrition for children, diabetics, TB and HIV/Aids sufferers, teach about fire safety and become a place where women learn about domestic science in an experiential way. Personnel manning the unit will speak the language of the area thus encouraging good communication.

Local Social Workers can also make use of the groups to deal indirectly with child rearing education discussions and other topics which are vital for family mental health. Clinics can also be involved in the groups as the social nature would be very conducive to getting messages across without the formality of a clinic environment.

2 Responses to “About”

  • This is probably one of my favorite blogs, been reading your posts all day, good job.

    • Elma:

      Hi Frieda, thanks for responding. Great fun is being had by all as we demonstrate the blanket wonderbox, Energy Balls and, of late, a 16 Brick Rocket Stove! New products abound on the internet.

Leave a Reply for Elma