Jackie in Malawi Blog #4 - Community Energy Malawi

05 July 2016

Our Jackie visited Malawi on a Road Trip with our sister organisation, the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP), to visit and film member projects.

Our Media and Communications Officer, Jackie Farr, is in Malawi to join our sister organisation, the Malawi Scotland Partnership, on their Road Trip!

You can follow Jackie's journey on Twitter and Instagram using #JackieInMalawi, and find out about the projects she visits in these blog posts.

Blog #4 - Community Energy Malawi

Along a very bumpy and dusty road, we reached a small village in Dowa, the site for the Scottish Government funded Sustainable Energy Project. This project involves environmentally and economically efficient clay cooking stoves, made locally, and sold locally, providing a more sustainable and energy-efficient method of cooking and income for the community.

The stoves reduce cooking times and use less firewood than traditional stoves. Also, because of its low-smoke design, the stoves create a healthier environment for cooking.

We first visited one of the shelters they use to make and store the stoves and met members of the local community who are involved in the project. Clement began to interview the group on the impact the stoves had had on their lives, and was interesting to find out more about the health and environmental benefits of using the stoves.

We then visited another of the shelters for a demonstration in how to make clay cook stoves - it was fascinating. Using only tools and resources they would find in the village they had made molds to make the pots, rulers for measuring the sizes of handles for the pots and a device to shape the clay and smooth it down.

It takes around two-weeks for a cook stove to be finished, so they had one stove already prepared to show us the second stage of the stove development – just like on cookery shows, ‘and here’s one I made earlier…’

With a finished stove, the volunteers lit a fire, with very little firewood, and began to dance and sing as the water they had placed on top quickly began to boil.

Profits from the stoves go back into the project to make more stoves. The volunteers were so passionate about their project and asked me to pass on their thanks and appreciation to the Scottish Government, and their partners, Community Energy Scotland, for all their support.

This project proved that working with local communities and local knowledge, and by listening to their needs, is vital to any successful, sustainable project.

Working together in a two-way, dignified partnership, once again, prevails.

-Jackie Farr, June 2016

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