Charlot Magayi – founder of Mukuru Clean Stoves – Kenya – 2021 WE Empower Finalist, Sub-Saharan Africa
Mukuru Clean Stoves replace traditional stoves with improved cookstoves that reduce exposure to hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), have lower fuel consumption and reduce overall cooking time. While there is a tremendous need in Kenya for these kinds of cookstoves, barriers such as affordability and accessibility prevent further adoption of improved cooking methods. Founder, Charlot Magayi, is passionate about reducing these barriers and empowering women through her improved cookstoves.
Charlot Magayi and Mukuru Clean Stoves
Magayi grew up in Mukuru, one of the largest slums in Kenya, and lost both of her parents at the age of 10 which led her to learn to live on her own at such a young age. Around the age of 16 Magayi became a mother to her daughter and was unable to continue going to school. Like many other Kenyans, she and her daughter relied on charcoal for cooking, yet this method can be dangerous with traditional stovetops and caused Magayi’s daughter to suffer a severe burn injury at the age of two. Sparking her interest in the advancement of better cooking technologies, Magayi set out on her journey to provide safe, clean and affordable stove tops that would improve the lives of those within her community.
Clean energy access
With over 36 million Kenyans having negative health impacts due to exposure to HAPs every year, the work done at Mukuru Clean Stoves reduces these occurrences through the provision of cookstoves that decrease fuel consumption by 30-60% and reduce toxic smoke emissions by 50-90%. In alignment with UN SDG 7 (Affordable & Clean Energy), Mukuru Clean Stoves utilizes recycled materials to produce stoves while incorporating local knowledge and expertise of women in the community. These women help to distribute and provide access to Mukuru Stoves within their respective communities, which in the bigger picture help to streamline the pathway to scaling their business model.
Mukuru’s business model provides employment opportunities for women within the community by including them in the production and distribution of stoves. Training and onboarding local women to become sales agents supports UN SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by providing income generation for these women through a 10% commission on each $10 stove sold. On average, this increases the household income by $7 per week, which enables them to provide for their families and grow their businesses. Even within the production facilities, Mukuru offers economic opportunities for local youth within those communities with 75% of artisans being female.
As happened to Magayi, life events may empower and inspire people to gain knowledge and take action toward remediating a situation. Together, we are a strong force, creating resilient communities for future generations.
by Ella Schneider