A simple saw-dust stove which is changing lives in Mzuzu

Chiyembekezo Glyn Moses in the blue suit

Mzuzu Youth Organisation (MYTO) is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to equip the youth with skills in welding, tyre fitting, painting, auto mechanic and many other technical skills. MYTO has been operating since 2012 and is based at Chiputula in Mzuzu with Chiyemebekezo Glyn Moses serving as its Director.

In July between 13 to 14th, Chiyembekezo Glyn Moses attended a training of trainers workshop in Mzuzu organised by Renew’N’Able Malawi (RENAMA). RENAMA which is implementing a project which is called “Top-of-Mind Awareness on Green and Inclusive Energy”, invited advocates in all three regions of Malawi to train and educate them on various “green” initiatives. The project has three objectives of which one of them is to increase knowledge and problem solving capacity of the general public through training and advocacy materials.

It was through this training of trainers that Moses was inspired to play a part in his community by teaching households how to make a simple stove using a 5 litre paint tin. “We learned about briquettes and when l got home l pondered and decided to make saw-dust stove because it is simple and utuchi (saw-dust) is locally found in Mzuzu”.

Saw-dust stove (paint tin)

This stove, instead of using charcoal or firewood as fuel uses saw-dust, which is usually perceived as rubbish by carpenters.

Moses claims that the saw-dust stove is much more economical than the average charcoal stove which most people tend to use in the average Malawian household:

This is simple, anyone can afford whether rich or poor. An empty tin of paint is at K150 and a 50kg bag of utuchi (saw-dust) is at K200 which means you can use less than K1000 per two weeks which is fair, cheap and clean

What is inspiring about Moses is that he has been training communities since October 2017, of his own accord and with his own resources. He started visiting households within his immediate community in Chiputula where most have embraced the simple technology.

It’s now a month since l started this campaign without any outside help. l  just do it myself just for the love of my community. I do it myself because I am a technician and l have the boys who do welding at our organization”

What is equally inspiring about MYTO is that they do not rely on financial support from international donors. MYTO trains the community of Chiputula in skills such as tyre fitting, painting, panel beating, welding and auto-electronics. Funds for the daily operation of MYTO are realised from these activities which the community are involved in by providing services to communities within their vicinity.

The saw-dust stove welded by MYTO

After realising that not everyone would use the paint tin stove due to its cosmetic outlook, Moses decided to weld a saw-dust stove which looks appealing to the eye to those who can afford to buy it. This stove is much bigger in diameter and can cook for large families with big pots. Moses claims that sawdust which is squished into the chamber of  this stove, can heat bathing water in a bucket, boil water for morning tea and even cook lunch with one load of saw-dust!

Moses lighting up the stove in Chibanja, Mzuzu

Moses showing community members in Chibanja how to stuff the stove with saw-dust












Moses says he is using saw-dust as a fuel because Mzuzu has a lot of surplus saw-dust due to wood cutting businesses spread around the city. As of now, people are able acquire this saw-dust for free from wood cutters who are happy to rid their premises of mounds of saw-dust.

So far MYTO has trained nearly 70 people in making and using the saw-dust stoves in the areas of Chiputula, Zorozoro, Malivenji, Msofi, Chibanja and Chigwere. Future plans are in the works in that he wants to make a bigger stove which uses saw-dust which gado (fried cassava) fryers in Mzuzu can use instead of the firewood which they use.