Solar dryers made by mountain women


On 17-18 November 2017, a two-day hands-on workshop devoted to the construction of solar dryers for dehydrating fruit took place in the high mountain village of Nisur, Gorno-Badahshan Autonomous Region, Tajikistan. The workshop helped the ten women from the most vulnerable families that are participating in the project "Pure Energy and Women on the Roof of the World", implemented by Mountain Partnership member organization Little Earth with support from the United States Forest Service, to acquire new useful skills.

The workshop was conducted by local artisan Rahmatnazar Mamadamonov, while the the logistics were handled by the staff of Oyandasoz, a local partner of Little Earth located in the Bartang Valley.

Participants were given a general overview of the benefits of using solar dryers and the different designs of such devices. Having reviewed the theory, the women proceeded to explore the solar dryer design and its construction techniques. Following the expert's instructions and assistance, the participants constructed four solar dryers with their own hands. It was decided that the villagers would take turns using the dryers when the fruit-drying season came.

"We had heard about these driers before. Last year, similar ones were built in the neighbouring village. Their owners say that the devices are very handy for drying fruit and easy to use. Fruit stays clean in them and is not picked by birds or insects, and the drying process occurs at a much faster pace as compared to the traditional method. Dryers like this can become an additional source of income for mountainous families," said Navruzmo Aidieva, a workshop participant.

The dryer design used as a basis for the training was simple. It consisted of a wooden box with several shelves covered with glass. Such devices are user-friendly and can help address a number of social issues, including those related to food security.

"Personally, I was very curious to take part in the dryer construction process. It was the first time that I ever handled some of the tools. I also came to realize that there was nothing sophisticated about building such dryers," said Muborakkhotun Gurgalieva, a resident of Nisur village and workshop participant.

All the workshop attendees received general guidance about the operation of the solar dryers, along with pin-up calendars and other information materials. Another workshop on the construction of solar water heaters for the same ten female village residents will be organized in the near future in the neighbouring village of Ruhch.

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News and photo by Timur Idrisov, Little Earth, and Rozik Yaftaliev, Oyandasoz

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