Improved Malawi Cook Stoves:

Greener and Safer

Summary of Benefits
Project Developer
  • Reduction in unsustainably harvest firewood

  • Fuel switching to sustainable crop residues and small diameter on-farm wood


  • Verifiable improved health outcomes for women and children


  • Time-savings and drudgery reduction for women and girls


  • Climate change mitigation from avoided carbon dioxide, black carbon and methane


  • Adaptation to climate change and improved climate resilience

The Problem

80% of Malawi's population live in rural areas and 95% rely on solid fuels such as firewood for cooking. Many use inefficient 3-stone fires or traditional pot support with stoves which is only able to partially combust the wood fuels. During which, toxic particles (PM2.5) reaching 400ug/m (30x WHO standards) is released and breathed in by the women cooking. The amount of smoke that they involuntarily breathe in is equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day. According to the Institution for Health Metrics and Evaluation, air pollution from cooking is the 4th leading risk factor contributing to death in Malawi in 2016.

Furthermore, the firewood that they use are unsustainably harvested, at least 2 to 3 times per week, from surrounding forest (that can be 5 to 10km away from their homes). This contributes to reduction in tree cover and land degradation. Other climate impacts include permanent loss of carbon sinks, release of methane, black and brown carbon from partial combustion, loss of climate resilience, and food and water security.

A Local Solution
with Community and Global Impacts


Replacing traditional stoves with domestic fuel-efficient improved cook stoves coupled with better ventilated kitchens.

The ideal fuel for these new cook stoves are small pollard branches from fast-growing nitrogen-fixing agroforestry trees with crop residues. This reduces the burden and risks the women and children face when they collect firewood from forests that are 5 to 10 km away from their homes.

Each of these fuel-efficient stoves is expected to reduce 1.5 to 2 tons of unsustainably harvested firewood per year resulting in annual reductions of 2 to 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Coupled with the better-ventilated kitchens, this would also reduce indoor air pollution from open fire cooking and reduce risk factor for many health issues, such as respiratory and heart diseases. These positive health outcomes can be quantified by CQuest Capital (CQC) under a new methodology developed through the Gold Standard-CQC Partnership.

Implementation Summary

Local artisans and the Malawian women can build their own stoves after the training and support from CQC and their local partner, Total LandCare.

Each stove is registered with a unique serial number, GPS coordinates, installation date and photographs. The household receives a unique Registration Card with the corresponding serial number.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals
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