29-year-old Charlot Magayi, a Kenyan innovator and founder of Mukuru clean cooking stove was awarded $1.2 million for the EarthShot Prize by British Prince William on 2nd December, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mukuru Clean Stoves is one of the five winners of the EarthShot Prize which was launched in 2020 and inspired by former US President John F. Kennedy’s “MoonShot” project in the 1960s to put a man on the moon.
Mukuru Clean Stoves made from charcoal, wood, Sugarcane won the Clean out Air category for its biomass stoves which aims to bring cleaner-burning stoves to women in Kenya and Africa as a whole.
As an orphan and a mother of one, who grew up in Mukuru slums in Nairobi, Charlot and her daughter repeatedly suffered from respiratory tract infections as result of fumes from charcoal, she was motivated to learn about the science of burning fuels and the pollutants.
In 2017, the Mukuru Clean Stoves project began at Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum, one of the biggest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Charlot’s aim was to get rid of the pollutant sources of fuel like firewood and charcoal which is still very rampant in many homes in Kenya.
According to studies, more than 950 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa rely greatly on polluting wood and charcoal for cooking, which is estimated to increase to 1.67 billion by 2050.
Charlot’s clean stove reduces pollution to 10% compared with traditional cooking and it uses much less charcoal. It costs $10 which is quite affordable for low income families.
Charlot plans to create an improved model which will be fuelled by ethanol.