On 18th July, MBAULA was invited to attend a meeting of cookstove producers in Mulanje organised by Mount Mulanje Conservation Trust (MMCT) and Mulanje Renewable Energy Agency (MuREA). Representatives from United Purpose were also present for the meeting and also took part in some of the major discussions. They were 13 cookstove producers who were also present and some of them were dormant groups who have not been making any stoves.
The meeting’s aim was to encourage cookstove producers to produce more stoves and to stop relying on nongovernmental organisations to help them with resources for their production groups.
Firstly, the cookstove producers expressed the challenges they encounter when they are carrying out the usual cookstove making activities. They asked if they could be given more paddle moulds so they can reach their maximum output potential. They also expressed that it is problematic to secure clay because most of the time clay is found on someone’s land lot. Most of the time the owners of the land do not grant them permission to mine clay on their property.
All the discussions thus focused on addressing the challenges which were expressed by the cookstove producers.
Moffat Kayembe spoke on the history of MUREA and cookstove groups in Mulanje, the work that they have done and what their future plans are. Most of all, Mr Kayembe encouraged the cookstove groups to become self-reliant because help from NGO’s is finite.
Arnold Kadziponye spoke on how production groups play an important role in being part of the many solutions to save Malawi’s waning forests. They were told of how their work was aiding Malawi’s goal to disseminate 2 million fuel-efficient stoves by the year 2020.
Mbumba Chigalu (MBAULA) spoke on how MBAULA works to aid information within their network to ensure that Malawi is on course to achieve its 2 million target by the year 2020. They were told of the monitoring activities which go on and of the National Cleaner Cooking Awareness campaigns. They were also encouraged to share their stories with the network to record whatever relevant activities apparent in the cookstove sector of Malawi.
Doreen Phwandaphwanda and Andrew Chigwenembe from United Purpose spoke on the market constraints within the cookstove sector, particularly on the cookstove producers’ end. The discussions dwelled on how the cookstove producers can meet the demand market of cookstoves in Malawi. The cookstove producers were thus encouraged to produce more stoves without compromising quality.
Ntchindi Msuku, the Data and Management Officer of MBAULA recorded the details of production groups who were dormant and sought to restart the production of stoves.
All in all, the cookstove producers were encouraged with the discussions and it was agreed that they should also meet in the month of October. The plan was set that these types of meetings with cookstove producers in Mulanje should be scheduled every three months.