Uganda: dissemination of clay pot cooler and brick cooling chambers

Local chef Nicholas Edwaru (left) and Betty Ikalany (right) with fresh vegetables that have been stored in the brick evaporative cooling chamber.
Local chef Nicholas Edwaru (left) and Betty Ikalany (right) with fresh vegetables that have been stored in the brick evaporative cooling chamber.
"Grace is so amazed after seeing wonders she never expected from the cooler”

 
Over the past year, as part of ongoing D-Lab work to research and disseminate evaporative cooling technologies in multiple countries, the team has been working with community members in Soroti, Uganda to construct evaporative cooling devices using locally available materials.

An evaporative cooling chamber for TEWDI Uganda and AEST

Betty Ikalany, founder of TEWDI Uganda and Appropriate Energy Savings Technologies (AEST), an alternative charcoal briquette and cookstove company, was in need of improved storage for fruits and vegetables for her family and the AEST staff, as well as for her burgeoning new business selling dried fruits at local markets.

Evaporative Cooling lead researcher Eric Verploegen traveled to Soroti in January 2019, during MIT's Independent Activities Period, and suggested that evaporative cooling might provide value for Betty's multiple fruit and vegetable storage needs. She agreed and constructed a brick evaporative cooling chamber using MIT D-Lab’s “Evaporative Cooling Best Practices Guide.”

Extending the use of evaporative in the Soroti community with clay pot coolers

After constructing and using the brick evaporative cooling chamber, Betty was impressed with the improved vegetable shelf life that is provides, and has been encouraging others in her community to build evaporative cooling devices for their own use.

For instance, local community member Grace Avila walks every day 30 minutes each way to the local market to purchase vegetables because many, leafy greens in particular, will spoil within one day. Grace’s neighbor, AEST Production Manager Francis Eteku, helped her assemble a clay pot cooler for her personal use. By using her clay pot cooler to store leafy greens and other vegetables, Grace is now able to store her vegetables for more than one day and go to the market less often. Francis recently commented that “Grace is so amazed after seeing wonders she never expected from the cooler" and she reports that her fruits can be stored for an average of a week and not change in any way, most especially the cabbages and the tomatoes.

Next steps

Given the success that TEWDI has had with the brick evaporative cooling chamber and that Grace has had with her clay pot cooler, D-Lab is working with TEWDI to develop a training program to further disseminate this technology.


More information

MIT D-Lab blog post: Disseminating evaporative cooling technologies in rural Uganda

Contact

Eric Verploegen, MIT D-Lab Research Engineer