We build stoves in Kenya in co-operation with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a non-profit organization manageing a protection area. The protection area covers roughly 400 km2 and lies a few kilometers west of Nanyuki, the capital city of the Laikipia district not far from Mount Kenya.
Ol Pejeta manages an extensive development program for the surrounding communities, a program which now also includes building stoves for the local households.
The tried and tested construction of the Nepal clay stove is suitable for the Kenyan kitchen without modification. Unfortunately we do not find good quality clay in Ol Pejeta and the surrounding area. In addition, the mechanical stresses involved in preparing ugali are much higher than when cooking dal bhat (rice, lentils and vegetables) in Nepal.
To increase the strength, we therefore install components made of baked clay. The combustion chamber is formed by a cylinder of fired clay. It absorbs the mechanical loads of the directly heated pot. On request, the stove can also be covered with a cement coat, which further increases the strength.
In 2020, Hillary Mutuma, stove construction coordinator at Ol Pejeta, and Gilbert Mithamo, our pottery supplier, collaborated with two vocational schools in the area to develop a new type of stove they called "Jiko smart". This is a so-called "rocket stove", i.e. a portable single-flame stove in the form of a bucket. Jiko smart consists of a metal housing with an inlay made of tanned clay. Opposite the fire gate it has an outlet where a chimney can be attached. This discharges the exhaust fumes away from the cook or directs them outside.
The stoves are manufactured at the Nanyuki technical vocational school and the Matanya vocational school and since 2021 sold by the trained stove builders.
First pilot "Nepal-stoves" were built in the communities around Ol Pejeta in 2013. The compact stove with two cooking plates proved suitable for different ethnic communities.
We closed 2013 with the first training for ten local stove-makers in Ol Pejeta. Our most experienced stove-maker and trainer from Nepal, Bel Bahadur Tamang, lead the training. After two weeks of theoretical and practical training the the graduates were ready to start work in their home communities.
Village meetings were held with the newly-qualified stove-makers. In these meetings the advantages of the new stoves and the offer of the "Ofenmacher" were explained and discussed. Through our stove builders and the Ol Pejeta community workers, we maintain regular contact with the communities and organize further meetings.
Further training courses were held in 2015, 2018 and 2021 and a total of around 50 stove builders were trained.
We are currently offering the Nepal stove and Jiko smart in parallel. The customer has the choice. There are indications that Jiko smart is increasingly replacing the clay stove.