Cleaning up smoky skies in Mozambique

It’s hard to imagine here in New Zealand as we debate whether gas stoves have a future in our kitchens, but wood or charcoal is a household staple in many parts of the world. From generating light to providing warmth to purifying water and cooking food, the smoke is constant.

In Maputo, Mozambique’s coastal capital, this is the reality for 85% of the urban population with serious health implications: women and children disproportionately exposed to the smoke suffer high respiratory illness rates. It isn’t cheap: low-income houses spend upwards of 30% of their monthly income on charcoal, and charcoal prices are on the rise. Plus, the intensive burning of these fuels emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Add to that the fact that Mozambique is at the very frontline of the climate crisis. According to the Climate Risk Index, it is the most vulnerable country in the world, with climate change causing an estimated 700 deaths and a loss of 12% of GDP in 2019 alone. 

The [new] stove we have today has many benefits. It allows us to save money. The money I would spend on that sack for 2 or 3 months, it is saved, and I use to buy notebooks with it, and a lot of things for the children here at home.

Fernanda Milambo

That's why we’re proud to be supporting MozCarbon, a Mozambiquan initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the country, working with the Gold Standard. Their cookstove project replaces traditional stoves in low-income peri-urban areas around Maputo with more efficient burning stoves. 

In the words of MozCarbon CEO Goodmore Chatora this is "an opportunity to work together for the good of both local communities in Mozambique and citizens of New Zealand at large".  

How does it work? The stoves are made in Mozambique and are sold door to door by MozCarbon sales reps, predominantly women trained for the job. Low-income families can buy the stoves below cost subsidised by selling carbon credits (that’s where we come in). There are payment plans and mobile banking options to help make it more affordable to most. 

This stove does not emit smoke. When cooking, it does not cause coughing. Even if you are using it in the midst of visitors, no one coughs as a result of the smoke. So it’s good.

Elina Valente

The result? Cleaner, healthier air, saving families money and fighting climate change.  

To date, MozCarbon has: 

  1. distributed over 60,000 stoves to low-income households, benefitting more than 300,000 people;
  2. reduced households charcoal use by over 50%, saving USD 132 per year;
  3. minimised smoke by 70% in the kitchens of recipients (and its corresponding disproportionate impact on women and children);
  4. saved more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere; and
  5. created more than 200 jobs directly, of which women fill 70%.

MozCarbon is aiming to distribute up to 300,000 stoves by 2025, improving the lives of 1.5million people. We want to help them get there.

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Low-carbon. High-impact.