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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – March 18, 2002: Pot-in-Pot Cooling Device - 2002-03-15

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

In many developing countries, it is difficult to keep food cool. Most areas do not have electricity to operate devices to keep food cold, called refrigerators. Food often spoils, or becomes unsafe to eat within days. This can cause diseases and loss of money for farmers. However, in Nigeria, one man is working to change this.

Mohammed Bah Abba, a teacher, invented a cooling device using two round containers made of clay. Mister Abba’s invention is called a Pot-in-Pot Preservation Cooling System. A small pot is placed inside a larger one. The space between the two pots is filled with wet sand. The inner pot can be filled with fruit, vegetables or drinks. A wet cloth covers the whole cooling system. The device keeps some foods fresh for several weeks.

Food stored in the small pot is kept from spoiling through a simple evaporation process. Water in the sand between the two pots evaporates through the surface of the larger pot where drier outside air is moving. The evaporation process creates a drop in temperature of several degrees. This cools the inner container and helps destroy harmful bacteria found in food.

Mister Abba started producing his cooling device in nineteen-ninety-seven. Since then, he has given more than twelve-thousand devices to people in villages in Nigeria. He estimates that within five years, people all over the country will be using his invention. Mister Abba also hopes to export his Pot-in-Pot cooling system to other hot, dry nations facing similar problems.

The Rolex Watch Company of Switzerland has also recognized the value of this cooling system. Two years ago, Mister Abba received the Rolex Award for Enterprise. This award is given every two years. It awards people trying to develop projects aimed at improving human knowledge and well-being. Winners receive financial assistance to help develop and extend their projects. An international committee considers projects in science and medicine, technology, exploration and discovery, the environment and cultural history.

You can learn more about the Rolex Awards for Enterprise on the Internet Web site, w-w-w-dot-rolexawards-dot-com. Or you can write to the Rolex awards committee at P-O-Box one-three-one-one, one-two-one-one Geneva, twenty-six, Switzerland.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.