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Maasai Stoves _ Solar thumb_s up
"Thumb's up!"

Robert V. Lange
Robert V. Lange
We announced many new initiatives over the past 12 months,  and I'm writing to share progress news with you.

Read below to find out what is happening with the the Monduli Pastoralist Women's Organization. 

The three  leaders pictured above took part in the solar training for electrification, attended by 20 Maasai. Read more updates in this enews.

You may remember that our second corn flour mill began operations in October. See photos from our new mill.  And read about installations of our updated design. 

This winter I've been back in the U.S. collaborating with Project partners, and there will be very exciting new developments to report soon. 

 I invite you to view new articles and share in the knowledge of what we have already accomplished together. Thank you for your interest and support.

With gratitude,


Robert V. Lange
March 2016

 Monduli Pastoralist Women's Organization (MPWO)  
MPWO and Project Leaders
Many of the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project women have been participating for years. These veteran women founded and built the resources of the MPWO since its inception, and there are now 160 members. 

The MPWO worked together in the early days to develop policies. They also initiated  small livestock businesses to fund the organization's programs.

Today, as new villages join the stove project, the newest installers also want to participate fully in the exciting life of the Monduli Women's Pastoralist Organization (MPWO.) How can the new members be integrated fairly?

The women of the MPWO recognize that there cannot be two levels of membership. How can the MPWO admit the new women to an equal standing? Can the MPWO legitimize an immediate equal share in the organization's resources, while also being fair to veteran members?
The MPWO supports activities with livestock businesses 
Here is the group's solution:  Women coming into the Project who wish to join the MPWO now pay 50,000 Tanzanian shillings to join. This entitles them to an equal share of the group's resources.

How much is 50,000 shillings? It is approximately the fee a stove installer receives when her team installs six or seven stoves. The fairness of this solution will reveal itself in the real experience of the women, as they increase their power and freedom. 

Working to involve the Tanzanian Rural Energy Agency

Project villagers have a great appreciation for electric grids for their bomas (settlements) and the demand is very strong.
Micro-grid electrification with Maasai SToves _ Solar
Laying the cable for boma micro-grid 
As long as pastoralists continue to live much as they do now, building micro-grids on a settlement-wide scale is the best fit for accessing the benefits of electrification.  
We demonstrate our commitment to bringing electrification to the people by successfully piloting the approach. We also train growing numbers of Maasai men and women to be expert grid installers. Developing a variety of funding approaches that match the particular financial and social situation of varying bomas is also central to the process.
The bomas own their solar equipment once it is installed and there are no further fees for the electricity.  
 Some boma owners can pay the entire cost. Others pay a fixed fee for each connected house and corral. The Project then supplements these with external funds.
We have presented our approach to including Tanzanian pastoralists in electrification to the Tanzanian Rural Energy Agency. We are proud of how well this method works, and are in discussion with the agency, working to involve them and engage their support.

New stove design updates
In a typical Maasai household, the ICSEE stove models distributed from April of 2011 through August, 2015 use approximately 40 kilograms of wood a week. We are now installing our newest design. It is well worth introducing for new features adding to its durability and function. To date, we have installed 600 of the newest stove version.

This latest design version removes bricks from inside the firebox. In earlier versions they were vulnerable to the high temperatures there. We also added a chamber that women can use to heat water while they cook without requiring a second pot.  
Maasai woman carrying wood
Less wood consumed means less wood-carrying labor for women 
Since we did not alter the draft patterns of the stove, we expect the same efficiency levels as our earlier models. We expect to continue to reduce wood use from100 kg down to 40 kg per household, as compared to the traditional three-stone cooking fire method.

We recently measured five homes with the new firebox installed and are happy to report they they show an average use of 41 kg of firewood per week, and just 5.8 kg per person.

We've just begun collecting these data and will continue to keep you up to date as we approach a significant sample size. So far, we are very happy with these results.

Location, location, location

"I'm going to buy seeds and fertilizer for my vegetable plot at home."  
This is what the women working at our second corn flour mill in Monduli Juu answered when we asked what they would do with their new earnings.  Increasing productivity of their home vegetable plots is high on the list. 
We opened our new mill  last October and is going very well.   At our first mill location in Mto wa Mbu,  the big Maasai market is on Thursday.  Our second location is in Mondulu Juu, with a Saturday market day.   Both of our mills are open all week, but most of the business happens on market day.
Our new mill in Monduli Juu
We rented rooms for the mills located right in the markets. On the big shopping days, women buy  their corn right there, carry it to the mill, and socialize while waiting for their kernels to be ground into flour. 

Both locations require connection to the grid for the power to run their two ten-horsepower motors. An experienced woman works alongside a newly-hired woman at both locations. We choose our new hires from among the poorest in the community, many of whom are widows.   And the women earn much appreciated cash and an ICSEE stove.
Starting a new vegetable garden 
There is fertile land and adequate rainfall In the Monduli Juu region. The Maasai there are diversifying their economy as much as they can as they adapt to shifting climate and potential changes in rainfall patterns.  The vegetable gardens are an important part of those changes.  
Thank you to Philip Lange for photography