Mashesha stoves - As a Bussiness Oppertunity
Applying for Corporate Social responsibility to donate stoves so that
- Demand is created for a business spin-off for agents to sell or rent out stoves across many communities. Both the selling and renting models automatically include skills development as training is needed for the value chain.
- Our business model for society (triple bottom line) is a product that builds social and as monetary capital which reduces burdens on women (and, if expanded to communities, the girl- child)
The innovation won the African Energy awards for innovation in 2015. Our own audits (2014-2016) have indicated a minimum of 56 % fuel load saving. This has a direct impact on reduced smoke emissions. Without the innovation, women that use wood fuel in their kitchens are forced to endure the unpleasant working conditions.
The Mashesha stove is an efficient alternative for schools. 6 Educators in rural communities, one rural school, Sappi Forests, York Timbers and White River Rotary have purchased stoves for their CSI. We have also created a trial spin-off for one rural group.
The novel concept was designed by the Director/Owner of SP. Proof of concept has been delivered through the advanced process of intellectual property registration with CIPC and through the independent African-wide Award. Viable production, made- to -order, is secured through an existing medium enterprise.
Rural uptake has been safely demonstrated through a formative evaluated pilot and through modest market penetration which happened through word-of-mouth sales and through CSI uptake in Mpumalanga. A pilot spin-off has been established at a women-owned co-operative. The enterprise has a sustainable infrastructure to easily upscale for the increased market share which would be assisted by additional investment.
There are no competitors yet.
We do not have any competitors yet. The Mashesha stove has not been copied or being made by anyone else.
Women Cooks’ quality of work life improved:
The stove will enable the cooks to work in a healthier enviromentthat encourages labour-saving. In the community, the stove saves 60% labour (wood not gathered and/or chopped).
Efficient, cleaner energy in communities-minimal environmental impact:
Our own audits have shown a 56% energy saving, 90% cost saving: use of supplemental materials as opposed to using wood.
Enable rural women/schools to rent or share benefits of stoves, demand created; further commissioned agents
With 70% of Sub-Saharan Africa relying on wood fuel to meet their daily energy requirements, the large and small Mashesha stove is desperately needed.
Fuel, energy and job creation is a crisis within SADC and Mpumalanga is conveniently located next to Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe where there is potential to grow the business into SADC.
We would expand into the 8 provinces of South Africa and open a bespoke engineering workshop for the Mashesha, creating employment for men or women. Fuel, energy and job creation is a crisis within SADC and Mpumalanga is conveniently located next to Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe where there is potential to grow the business into SADC.
We would purchase a delivery truck and contract professional proposal writer/s for the CSI applications. To create increased use and demand, we would use the CSI model of donations to selected schools/women’s groups until the business model gains traction and agents take up employment opportunities.
Our main needs would be to source as needed, professional proposal writer/s as the business model is leveraged off first achieving CSI to purchase stoves for the communities and then create demand. We need finance for the manufacturing/purchase of the stoves and to be able to donate them to communities to increase the existing modest baseline and benchmark for the product.
Marketing and skills transfer interventions are critical for us to ‘train the trainer’, drawing on unemployed women to conduct demonstrations in communities and learn business skills, in a combined model, together with SP itself which needs additional business skills.
Mashesha stoves - A Social & Energy efficient innovation for Rural communities
Communal and mass cooking for school feeding schemes and social events is a fundamental part of the socio-economic fabric of South Africa where social capital and cohesion are built around the iconic and fragrant ‘cooking pot’. This is an enduring South African reality which sustains the livelihoods of 11% of South Africans that rely on wood fuel for cooking. Of the national 11%, 36% of the rural population rely on wood fuel for cooking.
Yet the idealised picture of the ‘cooking pot’ comes at the cost of many hours of unpaid labour for rural women who work with unsafe fires in confined, polluted kitchens (for which no statistics or minimum health standards exist) in order to feed 9 million primary school learners
in South Africa (the selected sample for this case). An extrapolation of this
figure, for the purposes of this proposal (halving the 9 million and estimating 3 cooks per school), has 34 500 rural women whose health is compromised
and time is wastefully depleted to achieve nutrition for children’s survival and learning.
Added to this, the supply chain to bring the wood to schools has wider environmental implications. There is the obvious deforestation, global warming and climate change accelerated through carbon-burning fuels. There is the cost of transporting the wood to schools and the use of school budgets for fuel, which fruitfully can be diverted into direct educational resources.
In the face of this overlooked societal need for these ‘invisible’ women, the social enterprise, Sustainability Professionals (Pty) Ltd (SP) has created a unique, mobile 16kg (66 cm high x 50 cm wide) Mashesha stove. The stove burns with a clean, hot, efficient flame that saves roughly 56% of wood fuel. The Mashesha stove is made of mild steel, painted with high heat black paint for durability. Mashesha is a SiSwati word and loosely translated means “Fast cooking”.
Crafted as a compact double-barrelled metal chambered drum with strategically placed air vents, significantly small amounts of wood are combusted and heat is prolonged, for the large 50-Litre cooking pot through catalytic secondary ignition of syngas. Supplement fuel can be made from waste cardboard and daily cooking by-products which burn equally well in the stove. The making of supplement fuel is a further novelty: its ease of creation allows for work opportunities inclusive of people with disabilities.
The entrepreneurial venture is built around a tested multiplier effect of donating stoves as well as intensive skills transfer. The skills grown are around the use of the stove, making of supplement fuel, health, gender and environmental issues etc. The viability of this gender-sensitive, labour and energy-efficient stove for rural livelihoods has proved itself through strong marginal utility, personal testimonies, and baseline data. SP’s business innovation of donating stoves into poor rural communities intends to create a market demand which stimulates the industrial production of the stove. Employment of people at provincial or rural levels is increased through the production of the stove through two respective medium and microenterprises. More importantly, there is the commission model which allows rural communities to buy the stoves and set up their own micro businesses in a diversified business model. It is self -evident that this original invention and applied business model comprehensively meets all the criteria for social innovation.
Proof of innovative concept (as demonstrated above) for the Mashesha was independently provided through winning the continental-wide African Energy awards for Innovation in March 2015. Market scanning has shown that there are no other large energy-efficient inventions of this specification which are so evidently needed for the value-based socio-economic mass cooking model needed by rural schools and communities.
We set out that there is three-fold innovation:
1) the product specification itself;
2) the business model (starting with a corporate social responsibility to stimulate demand for commissioned sales to set up micro enterprises) and the applied labour, health and environmental social innovation.
The innovation is intended to have a social impact in the energy sector
2012 ETA awards: Winner of the Energy savings in the household’s category
2015 African Energy Awards: Winner of the Innovation Category
2015 Envirologic awards: Recycling Category: a Merit award
2017 Top 50 Entrepreneur Award: African Entrepreneurship Awards
At SP, we do social enterprise so as to grow the empowerment, health and localized equity/equality of mainly rural women to address the well-documented triple burdens of poverty (low-income groups), unemployment and inequality (women and female youth). These are starkly felt here, in the unequal society in the world (2016: Gini coefficient-0.77). Statistics SA shows that, while poverty has been addressed for South Africans since democracy, poverty of rural women is still a defining contour of our society. Despite the fact that these are big challenges, they are still felt at very local and context-specific levels, such as our main site of operations, rural Mpumalanga. Our social innovation narrative is therefore anchored in both big and small domains.
In the big domain, we anchor our social innovation principles in the Sustainable Development Goals –
SDG 5: Gender Equality,
SDG 7: Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and
Goal 13: Facilitates action to combat climate change and its impacts.
While these are large and ambitious goals for the globe, the SDGs will only be achieved through local mobilization and social innovations which incrementally build the national achievements for the global SDGs. Therefore in the local domain, the innovative design of our cook stove harnesses gasification principles built on environmental and health effectiveness and efficiency principles; allows for waste cardboard/paper to be used so that people, including those with disabilities, may make 'paper coal' which provides supplement fuel; reduces fuel load demand, and ensures a clean burn-high heat flame. The safe labour-saving design eases the gender burden in relation to daily workload & decent work in rural areas.
There are many energy efficient cookstoves available but none that can accommodate a 50L pot that is used for such environmentally-sound cooking for learners in crèches, primary schools (as noted in our sample) and high schools, on a daily basis. Additionally, there are the community events such as weddings, funerals, and community development events where communal safe cooking is needed to be done in a time-saving manner, so that women are freed up to share in the events, instead of being invisible labour in the background.
The Gender Inequality Index for South Africa demonstrates that South African women score at the low 83 rank for economic empowerment. Therefore, the business side of this enterprise model, built on the social capital of women who network in these collective cooking spaces, deliberately sets out to donate the stove to a sample of schools or community members so that there is an immediate and concrete demonstration of its value. Building from ‘the bottom of the pyramid’, these women are socially facilitated to initiate their own business conversations to join with SP as agents to sell the stove on commission.
According to Stats South Africa, there are more than 9 Million learners in 23 000 schools relying on feeding schemes. Mpumalanga alone has more than 1125 schools relying on wood fuel to cook for learners, not to mention more than 3375 households within this scope relying on wood fuel to meet their daily energy requirements.
The extent of the social need extrapolated to South Africa would mean that millions of families (estimated at 1 million households) and thousands of schools/communities would have an energy efficient, fuel- and time- saving, health-promoting and gender-conscious stove for South African rural communities.
The start-up investment provided by SP ensured that the intellectual property created a sustainable legal basis for the target groups. The legal registration realizes South Africa’s urgent priority of rural employment through jobs and skills development.
The practical means to meet this social need lies in stimulating Small and Micro Enterprise development through:
1- a fabrication workshop, the setting up of the supply chain,
2- training for a wider group on making supplement fuel.
3- The proposed budget allows for 60 Masheshas to be donated to the target groups.
4- Value addition is the complementary training on the value chain of the stove.
Some statistics on one sample shows the extent of the need: in rural Giyani shows that 99% of the people rely on wood fuel. The data states that 4 hours per day is spent on collecting wood. Extrapolated to the Lowveld region, 7 hours per week is spent on collecting wood.
Our target is therefore to create rural woman empowerment and for ‘invisible’ women's work and health to be eased and facilitated through the stoves. The time and labour savings have direct implications for women's unpaid labour time and for women to spend more time on activities of their choice and enter more formal business markets, considering the low score of South African women on the Gender Inequality Index for employment. Skills transfer has also increased confidence in many women.
The business model is aimed at persons in rural areas so that we can offer employment opportunities for youth and disabled people. They are invited to start their own SMMEs in making the supplement fuel and to sell/rent out the Mashesha stoves. The pilot has shown that this enterprise model may also be taken up by women co-operatives, thus further supporting the target of appropriate and sensitively-positioned rural development models.