Fred Colgan photo
Stoves being sent to Kenya.
Fred Colgan photo
Stoves being sent to Kenya.
This spring, Fred Colgan will get cooking in Kenya with efficient wood-burning stoves.

Colgan and his wife Lise will travel to Africa to demonstrate how the stoves decrease deforestation, and smoke and greenhouse gases harm, to field workers from Catholic Relief Services, World Health Organization and the UNICEF.

Fred, a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Cottage Grove, produces, boxes and distributes the stoves to developing nations throughout the world. Until this year, the stoves have been produced on his land near Cottage Grove, but Fred hopes to open his first overseas factory in 2012.

CRS is one of the main supporters of Dadaab in Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp, where field agents work with refugees who have flooded in from Somalia to escape political violence and starvation. Fred and Lise have just returned from three months’ travel, when they brought stoves to Darfur, as well as every single refugee camp in Ethiopia.

Fred hopes the field agents will be receptive to the project. He believes they are the most efficient stoves on the planet.

At one point, there were a half-million refugees in Dadaab who CRS was helping assist.

“In the camps, they cook over open fires, burning up mountains of wood,” Fred said.

“There are lots of health issues form the smoke, so we’re addressing a lot of those problems.”

Members of their parish are very supportive of the Colgans’ ministry. Lise is one of the coordinators of the parish-wide Operation Rice Bowl fundraiser every year, with Fred’s help.