Mashesha stoves - Sparking positive change
Business Description: Sustainability Professionals (PTY) LTD is a female-owned Social Enterprise that sells a uniquely designed range of energy-efficient biomass stoves for mass and household cooking and heating, based on an intentional business response to an investigated need for contextually suited efficient cooking solutions.
Business Background: Seventeen years in rural enterprise demonstrates that communities need cheaper, healthier energy for cooking and heating. Through innovative re-engineering, we patented the “Mashesha cook-stove” range. This provides both an employment creation model that runs on social enterprise/co-operative lines as well as affordable, cleaner and healthier cooking solutions that are aligned with a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Problem/Solution: In Sub-Saharan Africa, 76% of the population is reliant on wood fuel to meet their daily energy requirement. Globally around 4,3 million people die prematurely due to household air pollution and millions of trees are logged for firewood. In South Africa, 12,146 schools rely on approximately 70 000 tons of wood fuel at the cost of R 1.1 million annually to comply with the constitutionally-driven nutrition programs and women’s employment. The cooks are exposed to smoke pollution and suffer lung and eye diseases. The collective process has negative social, environmental & economic side-effects. Our business is an integrated solution of employment-creation and market penetration of the Mashesha stove which burns with a clean hot flame, halving the fuel load and cooking time.
Products: There are 5 units in the Mashesha cookstove range. This ranges from 3 types for the Lower Living Standards Measure (LSM) which provide contextually suitable portable metal energy-efficient stoves suitable for African style cooking ranging from households to mass catering where 50L to 100L pots are used. There are two units aimed at the upper LSM market for the outdoor barbecue-cooking enthusiast. All the units use 50% less wood compared to open fire and generate significantly reduced smoke.
Markets: Donors/CSI to support food and nutrition programs and gender-responsive employment creation; community schemes & individuals for cheap, culturally-appropriate energy and multiplier employment; Independent retailers for African outdoor lifestyle and ‘green’ energy solutions.
Competition: Eco stoves currently on the market are very small, often requiring specific types of fuel sources and are not suitable for the mass communal cooking market needed in Africa. An American company has developed a large cookstove but it is not portable, versatile and requires a specific size pot, which restricts its application. It is 3 times more expensive than ours. The Mashesha stove is portable, durable and versatile in its applications and this allows for existing pots and fuel sources to be used and is a proudly South African innovation. The current trend in SA shows that schools that receive conventional kitchens cannot afford to maintain them and go back to cooking outside on an open fire. The Mashesha is an African solution for an African problem.