Malawi: boosting sustainability with solar lamps and energy-efficient stoves

Energy partnership promotes the use of energy-efficient cooking stoves and high-quality solar lamps.

Over one billion people worldwide live without electricity. They often have to use energy sources hazardous to health and harmful to the environment for cooking and lighting. This is where the Energising Development (EnDev) partnership comes in. Jointly financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and Sweden, EnDev promotes access to sustainable sources of energy in a total of 25 African, Latin American and Asian countries.

Malawi is a case in point. Just nine per cent of the country’s 17.2 million or so inhabitants are connected to the energy grid. And the nation meets over 90 per cent of its energy needs by using firewood and charcoal. But open fires are inefficient and harmful – each year, around 2.5 per cent of Malawi’s forests are destroyed, in most cases for firewood. The majority of families use kerosene and battery-operated lamps for lighting purposes, another two hazardous and environmentally-unfriendly energy sources.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working on behalf of the EnDev energy partnership to assist Malawi to make more efficient use of available sources of energy such as wood and sunlight. It provides the population with comprehensive information about clay cooking stoves, which use significantly less wood than open fires, and high-quality solar lamps, which provide an alternative to the existing kerosene lamps. In order to meet growing demand for the energy-efficient clay stoves, GIZ is helping manufacturers to establish sales channels and professionalise their production operations.

272,000 Malawians were given access to sustainable sources of energy between 2013 and 2016. With GIZ’s support, some 3.4 million people were connected to a source of electricity between 2010 and 2015. Additionally, an average of 8,000 energy-efficient stoves are purchased each month in Malawi, and the country is cutting its carbon emissions by around 30,000 tons a year as a result of their use. This is equal to the emissions that would be produced by 55,000 or so flights from Frankfurt to Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.

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