Phumelelani is cooking up a storm and saving Carbon

In SA there are at least 10 000 schools that still cook on open fires. Imagine the hazards the women who cook, endure daily cooking for 1200 learners as they do at Phumelelani primary school in Loskop, KZN. Besides respiratory issues, they have to constantly bend down and chop up masses of wood to fuel the flames. Added to this, some 66 000 tons of wood needs to be collected leading to deforestation of our dwindling savannahs and woodlands.

Magaret Nene cooks for 1200 learners every day on open smokey fires. She says she is always coughing and has sore eyes.
Some 66 000 tons of wood are used every year in South Africa for schools cooking meals on open fires

One of the aims of the GSS project is also to reduce carbon. With this in mind, Phumelelani decided to replace their dirty open fire cooking methods with Mashesha stoves. This unique fuel-efficient stove was developed by innovative, Louise Williamson who saw how bad the cooking conditions were in schools, whilst supporting them with environmental education projects in Mpumalanga. Over 2 years Louise painstakingly developed and tested the stove which has eventually won her some international awards like the 2017 Diageo Award and the 2016 Global Cleantech Innovation Award.

The Mashesha stove
The stoves produce virtually no smoke, use 50% less wood and allow the cooks to stand, rather than bend and they can accommodate the 70kg iron pots. Louise Williamson makes them locally in Mpumalanga.

Phumelelani has been able to purchase three large stoves and Louise generously donated two home-sized masheshas in a lucky draw for two of the ecstatic cooking, staff Margaret and Thabile. “Mashesha stoves are perfect for us,” said environmental coordinator and HOD, Sebe Mbele of Phumelelani Primary. “They save time and wood. They have less smoke and decrease our carbon emissions. Our cooks are over the moon because they knock out an hour earlier than before. Mashesha stoves rock!” 

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