Changes Come To Kithuia

Educational Sponsorships

In 2004 a Canadian documentary filmmaker Nikila Cole began the educational sponsorship of one of these orphaned Kithuia children, a 10-year-old girl named Wanza. The filmmaker’s Canadian friends and family joined in to help more Kithuia children attend school. Today many village children are sponsored through primary and secondary school, with 30 in high school and 7 enrolled in University in 2016. Wanza graduated from high-school in 2009 and in 2014 with a BSc in Environmental Sciences from Kenyatta University, the first university graduate in her Village. Today Wanza is working as an environmental scientist in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Solar Cookers

In 2009, Ms. Cole came to Kithuia to meet Wanza for the first time and to celebrate Wanza’s graduation from high-school. She researched and brought 30 solar cookers to Kithuia. Ms. Cole and two Kithuia villagers from Nairobi, Nicholas Kithembe and Agnus Wamba, were trained by Solar Cookers International in the techniques of cooking with the sun. They demonstrated the simple techniques of solar cookers and fireless baskets to the Kithuia villagers.


The villagers were initially skeptical about the cookers because they traditionally cooked with firewood. Yet they saw their land was being depleted of trees and ravaged by drought and famine. Their children were in danger, travelling 3 to 5 kilometres a day in search of firewood. Mothers spent gruelling hours over dwindling fires which often caused lung disease, burns and house fires. Alternative fuels were expensive. Diseases from water was a huge problem. The village was suffering high rates of cholera and typhoid. 

Some of the villagers decided to try this new way of cooking food.

Nikila Cole

Agnes Wamba and Nicholas Kithembe

The community receives it’s solar cookers.

Demonstrating solar cooking pots

Solar cooking was embraced by more village families because cooking with the sun:


Saved Time

Firewood was collected one day a week instead of four, saving 12 hours of work every week. Women and girls could do other productive activities.

Improved Safety

Kept children and women safe from animal and sexual attacks because they do not have to collect firewood frequently. Reduced injuries from fires.

Saved Money

The villagers did not need to buy charcoal or other expensive fuels.

Improved Health

Boiled water reduced water borne diseases. Less smoke and soot from cooking in homes and lower lung exposure.

Protected The Environment

Less deforestation.

Fireless Baskets (Kikapus)

Although the solar cookers were working well, they were not being used during rainy season because it was cloudy with little sun. The villagers found Fireless Baskets or Kikapus to solve this problem. A very small amount of firewood is initially used, then blown out while a hot pot of food is put inside a padded lined basket to continue the cooking process. Women are able to carry on with farming chores while moving around with the baskets.

The Community     Changes To Kithuia     Explore More >    Tonembee Association    Kenya Village Project


Website: J Golden

Research Asst: H Sadkowski

& P Haastrup

Site Design: W Cudlip

Photos: J Golden, Ryerson University

& N Cole 


Professor Jean Golden Ryerson University


Site Designer: Walt Cudlip



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