Louise Williamson’s mashesha cook stove directly improves the lives of thousands of women and children in rural schools and drastically reduces lung disease among female cooks. The mashesha (“fast cooking”) stove is the signature product of Sustainability Professionals. The South African hopes the company reaches all 11,500 rural schools in South Africa, and an additional 9 million households still cooking on traditional stoves.
The Presidential Jury marveled that Louise “demonstrated a passion for helping schools prepare hot meals and help women who prepare these meals. Many women face healthchallenges because of year-long exposure to open fire. This entrepreneur invented anaffordable, safe and environmentally friendly solution which consumes half of the fuel.” Louise is passionate about community health and sustainability and “aims to improve the quality of life for impoverished communities” with affordable cook stoves and reliable fuel.
In South Africa, schools are tasked with the challenge of feeding every student. Provided with food, schools are not provided with stoves or fuel. Schools, and their female cooksbear the burden of cooking on inefficient andunhealthy stoves. The mashesha reduces wood consumption by more than 50%. And, the smokeless stoves prevent women and students from breathing in toxic smoke.
With $100,000 to boost production, Louise hopes to scale throughout the region. She says“70% of Sub-Saharan Africa relies on woodfuel to meet their daily energy requirements.”And, most of these are cooking on inefficientstoves, causing hours of wasted time and even premature death. With mashesha, this bleak reality will soon change.