An Interview With Mary and Josphat
Josphat is a stove entrepreneur from Kenya who tripled his production thanks to your support.
Josphat is married with four children. His business has tripled since receiving support from TAP last year. He currently employs 13 people and sells an average of 42 stoves per month. His lifetime goal is to help two million women gain stoves in Kenya.
TAP's LOCAL PARTNER: GVEP
WHY DID YOU WANT TO WORK WITH FUEL-EFFICIENT STOVES?
"This area is largely wood-fuel scarce. When I was growing up I could watch my mother struggle to fetch firewood. The task was frequent and backbreaking. I therefore felt, at an early age, that there was a need to solve the problem. Luckily, after I cleared college and was around and about, I got an opportunity to train in institutional cook stoves and later on got into domestic ones. For me, being in stoves business is a fulfillment of a dream I had harbored for long."
HOW HAS YOUR BUSINESS IMPROVED SINCE GETTING SUPPORT FROM GVEP?
"I have increased my production output by at least 3 times. I have also been able to lower the cost of production through the machines I got from GVEP. Initially, I used to outsource such services as welding. Through marketing and branding support, I have increased both the scope of my market reach and the publicity of my business. GVEP also trained me on the need for product diversification which motivated me to stock other products like solar which has diversified my revenue streams."
HOW IS YOUR BUSINESS HELPING THE COMMUNITY?
Empowerment of women - "Our stoves are energy efficient and hence do contribute to emancipation of women from the drudgery of high-frequency fetching of firewood."
Improvement of livelihoods - "Again, due to energy efficiency households are able to cut their fuel budgets and make money from saved trees. Conservation of the environment and health improvements through mitigation of noxious emissions [are other benefits]."
Employment creation - "I have employed 13 people and created opportunities for stockists who are retailing my stoves. I also hire casuals during such activities like off-loading of raw materials and loading complete stoves."
EXAMPLE OF EMPLOYEE WHOSE LIFE HAS IMPROVED:
"A new sales agent is now able to educate her children. In fact, her brother was almost dropping out of secondary [school] at form 2 but she is now supporting him and he has been able to resume studies."
VISION FOR NEXT TEN YEARS:
"To have reached my target of disseminating two million clean cook stoves in the Mt. Kenya region so as to benefit the households and also increase my returns."
Mary bought a stove last year and is now sending all of her kids to school, thanks to the money she's saving on firewood.
Mary is a mother of four children. Mary first saw someone using the fuel-efficient stove in the market. She was able to purchase it with the help of the women’s savings group she belongs to.
DO YOU NOTICE ANY BENEFITS FROM LESS SMOKE?
"Yes, my children, they can be around it now. I would not let them when I did not have the coal stove because they were smaller and the smoke was very bad. I feared the small ones would come close to the fire, too."
DID YOU RECOGNIZE THAT THE SMOKE WAS BAD FOR THE CHILDREN?
"Yes, if they inhaled the smoke they would have very bad coughing and I feared for their health. Now, with the coal stove I can cook comfortably in the kitchen, my husband can finally sit in the kitchen with me and talk to me."
DOES THIS SAVE YOU MONEY ON BUYING FIREWOOD?
"I am using more money for school fees and buying house goods like food… Although the school fees are quite an amount, I can pay them and save money. Every month I spent 1000 on firewood but now I only spend 400 shillings so I can save 600 shillings.
[I am saving for] something that can light the home at night. I have seen some solar lanterns that could be of use. I want to save up to buy that. Now the government is giving people piped water but you have to spend some money to pipe the water from the main pipe to the home, I am saving for that.
Using less firewood is a major improvement. The community needs more of these technologies that are incredibly life enhancing."
Every $20 provides a fuel-efficient stove for a family in Kenya.