Kevin Adair and Franz “Franky Fanfan started working on the Island of Hispañola in 2005, hoping to bring solar cooking to the Dominican Republic. Slowly, over the years, their focus has shifted to Haiti, where they are working to eliminate charcoal in favor of briquettes made from recycled paper, cardboard and sawdust.
Up to 90 percent of the energy present in wood is lost when it is turned into charcoal. When you light a piece of charcoal, you are left with only 10 percent of the energy present in the wood used to make it.
Adair and Fanfan are using a process for making briquettes that doesn’t start with burning away most of the energy. Instead, the briquettes are made in a slurry, formed and dried and can then be burned efficiently in special, highly efficient wood-burning stoves.
Their approach is to convert institutional kitchens from charcoal stoves to their briquettes and high-efficiency stoves. Once done, a kitchen can cook more quickly and efficiently at lower cost, with fewer health effects on those cooking and far superior outcomes for the environment.
Interview with Franz “Franky” Fanfan, the General Manager / Co-Founder of El Fuego del Sol (FdS Haiti) and Kevin Adair, the President / Founder of Fuego del Sol Haiti / FdS Haiti SA.
The following is the pre-interview with Franz “Franky” Fanfan and Kevin Adair. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
Haitians cook with 400,000 tons of charcoal annually, destroying 4M tons of trees, (with as much as 70% smuggled illegally from the Dominican Republic); Haiti is the world’s 11th least developed country. Haiti has bountiful biomass waste, agricultural potential, recyclables, and a 70% under-employed workforce. Haiti has millions of tons of underutilized recyclable materials that are currently either being dumped and burned, washed out to sea, or collected and sent to countries such as China, which are more developmentally advanced than Haiti. Haiti’s resources should be utilized in Haiti, creating jobs in Haiti. Charcoal cooking also destroys the health and lungs of Haiti’s cooks. Charcoal cooking is the number-one killer of children under 5 in Haiti. Propane has been suggested as a solution to Haiti’s charcoal dependence, but Haiti is already over-dependent on international petroleum, and the charcoal industry provides a huge percentage of Haiti’s household incomes. The only advantage of the charcoal industry is that Haiti’s cooking fuel is over 90% produced on the island of Hispaniola. To replace charcoal, Haiti needs a domestic cooking fuel which can utilize the country’s available materials, and replace charcoal jobs with better-paying, safer jobs. Other materials such as plastic, glass and aluminum are similarly underutilized in Haiti. Thus, FdS works on three main fronts: ecological protection by substituting charcoal with recycled briquettes, jobs creation by replacing charcoal industry jobs 1:1, and improving the health and lives of Haiti’s cooks.
More about El Fuego del Sol (FdS Haiti):
El Fuego del Sol (FdS Haiti) is a social-eco enterprise based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We are a full-service waste management, recycling and clean cooking enterprise working to improve environmental, economic and health conditions in Haiti.
Fuego del Sol Haiti SA / FdS Haiti SA is a Haitian Social-Eco Enterprise dedicated to introducing innovative international technologies to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. FdS selects these technologies to directly meet the needs and challenges that Haitian families have rated as their highest priority. FdS technologies are designed, developed, implemented and adapted in a co-creation model with Haitian and Dominican citizens to maximize adoption and cultural acceptance of the technologies, as well as long-term job creation. As the world’s 11th most fragile state, Haiti’s need for jobs and ecological development is critical. FdS has created a sustainable model for the implementation of ecological products and services throughout Haiti with the additional benefit of creating quality full-time and part-time jobs. FdS is sustainable at its current scale, and numerous developments in the waste / recycling / renewable energy / ecological cooking sectors continue to provide FdS the opportunity to expand. FdS is initiating strategic partnerships, structured development plans, and equipment acquisitions that will allow it to grow from its current Port-au-Prince site into more key Haitian locations specifically selected for compatibility and escalation of the FdS 100% reuse and recycling model. FdS is the first large-scale paper-products recycler in Haiti and has now recycled over 130 tons of paper, cardboard and sawdust into FdS ecological fuel briquettes, which are used in schools, orphanages and homes to alleviate Haiti’s deadly charcoal dependence. FdS develops and produces efficient briquette stoves for homes and schools in Haiti. FdS provides full waste collection, sorting, separation, and recycling services to embassies, NGOs and other environmentally conscious clients in Haiti. FdS also ecologically reprocesses waste motor oil into efficient diesel fuel. FdS is on target to be Haiti’s highest-volume reprocessed eco-fuel producer.
For-profit/Nonprofit: Mixed-model: for-profit enterprise with 501c3 fiscal sponsorship
FdS Haiti is a Social-Eco Enterprise. We are a legally registered corporation in Haiti with IRS tax-exempt status in the US through our fiscal sponsor, Omprakash, making our fiscal model a hybrid for-profit/non-profit structure. The donations we receive are designated toward the start-up and scale-up of FdS. All operational expenses are generated through FdS local program-based income. The financial structure is best demonstrated by the FdS ecological business cycle: FdS provides complete fee-based waste collection services to clients in Port-au-Prince who choose FdS, as we recycle more materials than any other local waste collector. Paper, cardboard and wood waste materials are pulverized, mixed with water and formed into FdS biomass briquettes. FdS produces ultra-efficient wood-gas cookstoves, which also include recycled components. Clients then purchase the stoves from FdS along with an ongoing contract to purchase the FdS briquettes. FdS trucks deliver the briquettes, and return with the waste materials described above, and the cycle begins again. FdS earns Program Based Income on both legs of the trips by our truck.
Since relocating to Haiti in 2012, FdS has participated in the production / delivery / deployment / operations of over 780 institutional biomass cookstoves in Haiti. FdS has also delivered over 1.5 million of our briquettes and recycled over 130 tons of waste. The briquettes have cooked over 600,000 meals, mostly in schools, orphanages and community centers, and we are now expanding into industrial parks and factories. FdS has offset over 13,000 trees that otherwise would have been used to cook these meals. FdS has 20 full-time employees and 8 part-time. The FdS annual operating budget has grown from $24,000 in 2012 to over $120,000 in 2017 with further expansion indicated for 2018. Orders are confirmed for 25 stoves in one factory by the end of March and 25 additional stoves for an industrial park by the end of May 2018. Each FdS institutional briquette stove cooks an average of 30 servings of food.
Franz “Franky” Fanfan’s bio:
Frantz is a true Haitian migration success story. Born in Haiti, he started out working during his high school years, milking 100 cows every day, then going to school in the afternoon. Frantz later worked in the tourism sector of Bavaro – Punta Cana starting in 2001 for prominent companies such as VIP Tours, Tourinter, Club Caribe, and Nexus. Frantz speaks Spanish, English, Haitian Creole and French and has been a solid member of the Fuego del Sol corporate team since the company’s inception in 2005. Frantz has worked as Tourism and Outreach Manager for the FdS project and Recycling Director for the waste management project. Currently Frantz oversees all aspects of Fuego del Sol operations including employee relations, training, briquette production, program development, and delivery coordination.
Kevin Adair’s bio:
Kevin Adair believes that each human life is a century-long interactive creative performance. He has always combined creative expression with social and ecological activism with focus on building community. International audiences may recognize Kevin as a touring juggler, magician, hypnotist, fire dancer, and motivator. Then, after decades performing and over 10,000 shows, Kevin’s trade-winds led him to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where for the past 13 years he has worked in international social, ecological and community development.
It is Kevin’s quest to co-create, introduce, evaluate, foster, promote, facilitate, encourage and verify social / ecological development technologies in his adopted Caribbean island countries. Kevin founded the social-eco enterprise, FdS Haiti, and now works with local communities to address the issues that people find most daunting in their lives. Through the FdS developmental model, local people are consulted and empowered throughout the R & D and implementation process in a Co-Creation process. Each additional FdS project / program is designed to be financially sustainable and to build on existing FdS activities growing an infrastructure / eco-system of mutually beneficial developmental activities in conjunction with community, international, and local partners. Kevin is also the primary author of the Sun Oven System, the scholarly white-paper that documents one of the most successful ecological solar-stove introduction programs in the history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Kevin holds a Double BA with Honors from Illinois Wesleyan University, with continuing education credits from the National Geographic Society Geotourism Ambassador Training, Los Fondos de Capital, un Mecanismo de Financiamiento de Empresas presented by the INCAE, and the UN Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Fund Training of Trainers, where Kevin was awarded the Accolade of ‘Most Engaging.’ Kevin is a featured Social Entrepreneur from SOCAP 14. FdS Haiti is a 2014 Buckminster Fulller Award Semi-finalist and a 2015 Echoing Green Semi-Finalist. The FdS Haiti Team is thrilled to be the only 2015 – 2017 IADB IDEAS competition winner based in the Caribbean region.
Most international development efforts have either attempted to enforce their will on potential beneficiaries, or they have worked to provide resources for solutions already locally available. Kevin has developed the: Listen. Lead. Listen Again. implementation strategy which combines learning the needs and wants of local community members, introducing new technologies and solutions that would not otherwise be available in remote locations, and then following up with a successive feedback-loop to gradually adapt the new solutions to best fit the local people’s needs. Kevn is also writing a book and article series: Listen. Lead. Listen Again. at medium.com/@kevinadair
In the Des Moines Register, columnist Rekha Basu, sums up the nature of Kevin’s quest, “His project should inspire all of us to see that with imagination and enterprise, anyone can help find creative solutions to intractable world problems.”
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