The traditional method of cooking in Malawi is called 'Mafuya' and involves placing a pile of sticks on the ground surrounded by three stones. This method is very inefficient and produces a large amount of smoke, damaging to health. Malawi is struggling with issues of deforestation and firewood is expensive, increasing poverty.
It was during our visit to Malawi in 2011 that a medical student, Helen Robertson, pointed out the damaging effect of cooking smoke on the health of the women, babies and young children. We began this project in an attempt to address these health issues and soon discovered that there were other benefits. These include:
1. The stoves use up to 65% less firewood alleviating poverty and deforestation.
2. Stove building provides employment for our team of builders and administrators.
3. When we ask women what they appreciate about the new stove they tell us that they no longer get headaches because with Mafuwa they used to have to blow constantly to keep the fire burning. In addition they also mention that their children no longer get burned.
4. The stoves save women significant amounts of time because they require less time for collecting firewood, less time to cook and less time to clean the pots. These time savings are transformational liberating women to pursue other business and social activities.
Our first project at Mbulukuta village in 2014 saw 150 stoves built and the second project at Ntiya village in 2016 192 stoves. Between September 2016 and May 2018 we were able to build nearly 1000 stoves in seven villages in the Mbedza area. In 2018 we applied to the Department for International Development for funding through the Small Charities Challenge Fund and were successful enabling us to embark on a new project to build 2100 stoves. This project started in July 2018 involving 18 villages and will be completed in December 2019. In July 2019 we also heard that our bid for a second SCCF grant has been approved and this will enable us to build a further 2000 stoves in 2020. In preparation for this project we are piloting a new initiative in Monkey Bay.
CAN YOU HELP?
Although we have been successful obtaining funding from DFID for our stove project this meets around 85% of the project costs, we need help to find the remaining 15%.
We have the capacity within our stove building team to build more, any extra funding will mean we can reach new villages with this project.
Consider joining us on one of our visits to Malawi seeing the project in action.
If you would like us to come and give a presentation about our work and you can provide a suitable audience/venue let us know through the contact form.