New innovations, key to mitigating climate change impacts – Capital Radio Malawi
23 May, 2024

New innovations, key to mitigating climate change impacts

Taonga Mhango in her shop. Photo Credit: Chinsisi Moyo

Its 9 o’clock in the morning and Taonga Mhango is already in her shop located deep Kawale Township, one of Lilongwe’s high-density areas.

This is where she proudly displays her innovation; the “Mbambande Quick Fast Mbaula” a modern cooking stove deemed environmentally friendly.

The shop is stocked up with stoves in all kinds of designs, as she takes me on a tour, the tall, fair skinned woman, can’t hesitate but smile while she unpacks the one of a kind innovation she conceived five years ago.

Inside Mhango’s shop.

Unlike what the appliances already in use in most households which either run on electricity or charcoal, Mhango’s stove is unique as it uses sawdust and other environmentally friendly elements.

To prove this, she attempts to light a fire which surprisingly does not emit as much smoke as one would expect and as such helps cut down the amount of hazardous fumes going into the atmosphere.

Mhango uses sawdust to demonstrate how the Mbambande Quick Fast Mbaula works.

“This Mbaula is one of the best cooking stoves, it is not time consuming because it has a  fan that helps keep it burning,” she says.

Mhango’s innovation is just one of a few environmentally friendly innovations that have sprang during the past couple of years. It is however the first woman-made.

With the current energy crisis, there are observations that more Malawians are now seeking inexpensive energy sources that are readily available and easy to use.

The Malawi government is currently encouraging people to adopt environmentally friendly energy sources through the MW2063 development agenda.

The agenda according to National Planning Commission’s (NPC) communications manager, Thom Khanje, puts women and youths in the forefront as agents to champion its implementation.

Laying out some some clauses of the MW2063, Khanje indicates that the agenda has 3 pillars and seven enablers.

“The seventh enabler dwells much on environmental sustainability. This calls for interventions aimed at protecting the environment, a catalyst towards mitigating impacts of climate change,” he explains.

In Malawi, women and the youth are in majority. The NPC is advancing on this group as it has potential to make meaningful contribution inline with the development blueprint.

Despite women doing well in social and economic growth through innovations, environmentalist are attributing the slow adoption to a lack of financing mechanisms and growing inequality in societies.

Dominic Nyasulu, who is an environmentalist, singles out a case of a women’s group in Karonga who are empowered to make briquettes. A few years down the line, the group cannot access funding to ease production of their products.

“Women have been hit hard by the impacts of climate change as such it is important to make sure that they have access to essentials  that will help them implement climate change solution strategies,” he adds.

Malawi envisions to increase uptake of climate smart technologies by year 2063.

To date, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender has set up a network of women on climate change.

The network according to Malawi Environmental Policy Advocacy’s Deputy Director Shamiso Banda nurtures innovations by women.

“This network will play a key role in making sure that innovations by women are embraced and increase their involvement on climate change interventions,” she says.

Banda believes such as approach will in the long run scale up adoption of the modern technologies.

This story was produced with support from the Women in News Social Impact Reporting Initiative

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