Empowerment—essential value of Maasai Stoves & Solar Project
Read about Martha Lobulu–a Maasai woman taking control of her own future.
Power is the capacity to get something done that one believes is worth doing. Empowerment is the process of creating power. It involves enlarging both elements of power:
- Create the ability to perceive and evaluate goals
- Find ways to achieve goals once they are set
Power at its best is generalizable. It may be developed and expanded in a particular context. But the changes in the people who know and want and have used power can be generalized, increasing power in other arenas of an individual’s life.
Women’s empowerment and the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project
We take advantage of every challenge as an opportunity. For example, the smoke in Maasai houses calls out for a stove solution that includes a chimney. This meant we could not use a ready-made stove as a solution. A chimney requires resource-consuming installation.
We could have hired outside installers. But instead, we saw that the local women could become the installers in response to recognizing the empowerment opportunity, and this continues to lead to many advantages.
For example, in the villages there are now groups of women who understand the stove and are not afraid to dismantle it for maintenance, because they know how to put it back together again.
Presentation on Women’s empowerment
The Kenyan Country Action Plan for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Committee invited Kisioki Moitiko, Project Manager, to present at the 2013 Conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
He delivered a talk on women’s empowerment, sharing the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project experience of “seeking opportunity within challenge.” Because women’s empowerment is a core value for all our work, there are examples in every facet of the Project. Contact Kisioki for information about the presentation.
We focus on strengthening local economies. Bricks for the stoves are made by local brick-making businesses. These businesses locate clay that is appropriate for fired bricks and build their molding and firing facilities near these deposits, if they can.
The steel sheeting is imported by firms in Arusha and sold by local merchants. We purchase it in 4 x 8 sheets and cut, bend, and weld them into fire box pieces in our own factory.
Women’s teams in the villages do the installation, laying the bricks for the foundation and chimney.
We transport stove parts and materials to villages using our land rover and trailer or our TOYO motorcycle-powered small pickup truck.
There is a growing corps of people involved in the project as a long-term, productive activity for the people. We encourage this. Efficiency comes second to the potential sustainability of the changes in people who will be facing challenges all their lives, and need to know how to get the power to do something about them.