Many Africans use charcoal for their cooking, but over the years the effect has been disastrous for the continent’s forests. In Tanzania, a new home-grown energy saving cook stove fueled entirely with gas has the locals buzzing.
A revolutionary gas stove invented in Tanzania has won several international ingenuity awards. The stove has transformed the lives of people living in several impoverished communities in the east African country. Now, orders for the gas stove are arriving from across the country and beyond. Here is a quick demonstration of the product.
“i will start with the first process of how to release the gas. Make sure that everything is connected very well, like this; now this bolt holds the tank in place. As you can see the cooker is ready for cooking.”
Humility is what describes innocent kazungu, a self-taught engineer with inventions in a wide variety of pursuits, including office carpet, a gas flat iron box, a massive duty vacuum cleaning the machine, and environmentally friendly paper bags. He has a remarkable ability to use locally sourced materials to invent products, despite repeated hardships.
Kazungu is part of a new breed of young African innovators. He says that in his community, families spend hours looking for firewood, bending over a hot Smokey charcoal stoves preparing their meals and this ignited his interest to come up with a solution that is cheap and user-friendly.
“The place where i live there is a woman who sells charcoal. Someone came to buy charcoal worth 2000 Tanzania shillings. The amount she got was minimal, and she started complaining that it was not enough to cook with… that’s where i started having this idea. She was saying some of us cannot buy gas tanks, so what do we do.”
Innocent kazungu spent several months working on a prototype for the cooker, a process that wasn’t easy. Now, his cutting-edge design has picked up several international innovation awards. The stove is entirely made out of scrap metal found in the slums around Dar el Salaam.
“I started designing this cooker. Well if people are complaining that they cannot afford enough charcoal and they cannot afford to buy the big tank. So this cooker which is smaller and uses a small gas (tank) and they can use it for several days and cut down cost.” Since the introduction of the gas stove, – it has become a hit in the city. Martha Mkunde is a local businesswoman interested in buying the product.
“For now, I’ll start with ten pieces and see how the customers respond to them and if they like them I’ll continue to sell them”
Mary Mwandre, a resident of Dar el Salaam, says this stove will have a significant impact on the community and hopes that the idea will spread across the country.
“We’re very inspired by what he’s doing. He is doing something that he’s passionate about, and you can see it in him. If he gets, sponsor, he can expand his knowledge and probably take this project to another level. i am sure he will be on a different level in the next five years.”
Kazungu hopes to use this platform to network and scout for potential investors. For a young man whose dreams are significant, the sky is the limit on his ideas and inventions.