Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Three Cheers For The Zeer!

No, I hadn’t heard of a zeer pot either until today. I was on my knees again – defrosting the freezer this time – when the post came. It was a flyer from “Practical Action” [formerly known as Intermediate Technology, the charity founded by Eric Schumacher, the ‘Small Is Beautiful’ guy]

Their Harvest Appeal this year [entitled ‘Hitting Hunger Hard’] is for Sudan, and lists three projects that PA are carrying out in that region. Here’s the info on one of them – the Zeer Pot

practical action zeer potIn the heat of Sudan, food doesn’t stay fresh for long. Tomatoes go off in just two days. After four days carrots and okra are rotten. For poor families in North Darfur and Blue Nile State, without any means of preserving their crops, this can lead to hunger and even starvation. The situation is especially grave for those most vulnerable like children and elderly family members.

One ingenious solution is the zeer pot: a simple fridge made of local materials. It consists of one earthenware pot set inside another, with a layer of wet sand in between. As the moisture evaporates, it cools the inner pot, keeping up 12kg of produce fresh for up to three weeks. Fruit, vegetables, water… The zeer pot keeps them all fresher for longer – providing much needed help to starving families.

A zeer pot makes an incredible difference  to food preservation in Sudan. For many families, it can mean the difference between potential starvation and having enough food to feed themselves.

Jawahir Eisa Mohmed says ‘Just one day after harvest our vegetables were spoiled by the heat. Now this clay refrigerator is changing things for the better’

Practical Action is Technology challenging poverty

Simple–but brilliant!

As I sorted out my bags of frozen peas, and blocks of frozen chicken stock, I realised how easy it is for us to take our fridges and freezers for granted – if you can, please send a donation to Practical Action, to help a mother in Sudan be able to provide food for her family.


  1. What a wonderful idea. I love that sort of simple yet highly effective technology. Thanks for the link!



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