Using just cement, sand and soil, we’re supporting women’s cooperatives to build cheap eco stoves as part of our community engagement programme.
The stoves – named Alevi Cook Stoves – work with both wood and recycled fuel briquettes (an eco-friendly substitute for coal and charcoal) and are more efficient, and therefore better for the environment, than cooking directly on wood. They also retain heat for such a long time that a large family meal can be prepared with only a few briquettes and in under 20 minutes. Best of all, they cost under $5US per unit, making them accessible for lots of Malawian families.
This new initiative started when the original stove creator, a fellow African named Mr. Alevi, trained two women’s groups in Phalombe and Mulanje – in the south of Malawi – on how to create the eco ovens. Thanks to financial support from NGO ‘Women Together’, these groups then joined forces with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust to impart their knowledge and skills to a women’s cooperative we were already working with in Lilongwe known as the Tingathe Widows group. The five entrepreneurial women in this cooperative have been working with us since 2015 on briquette production. Between them they make an incredible 10,000 fuel briquettes a year, with an average of 1000-1500 briquettes produced each month. Adding stove production to their repertoire will enable them to sell both the cooker and the fuel it requires to families in their communities, saving trees and boosting income generation.
So far 23 participants have been trained on how to build the stoves and we hope to work with two other groups in the coming months who are also already making recycled fuel briquettes.