OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

African Makers Media: calamity vs. #cleancookstoves.

Short mini-documentaries about African makers of clean cookstoves and smokeless fuel, with a social media campaign to save lives & trees.

Photo of Diane  L. Hendrix
13 13

Written by

Half the world's population (3 billion, mostly women) cook on open fires, but most don't know that home fires are more toxic than the smoke of 200+ cigarettes, daily. Carbon from wood-fuels is the second leading cause of global warming.  African Makers Media's video (above) introduces a few change makers and the impact we plan with their stories.

At 6'7" Tom Osborn, from western Kenya, hoped to be a basketball star. Instead, when his mom fell sick, his science club project at Innovate Kenya became his first startup, and he put his college scholarship on hold.  With GreenChar, Tom plans to "mitigate climate change while creating employment and driving economic growth."

Half Maasai Payan ole-MoiYoi had worked as a design engineer in the U.S.(Seattle) for a decade, but he decided to raise $18,000 on Kickstarter and came home to Nairobi two years ago, determined to build a cook stove that's cheap, durable, safe to use and loved by customers. With ambitious ideas for building a huge customer base, he's been on TV and in the news with six stove designs for Kenya Stove.

Tom and Payan met recently in Nairobi and have begun to work together. Tom sells Payan's stoves, and Payan is designing an efficient machine for Tom, who makes briquettes from his family's sugar cane waste. Tom needs a talented designer/maker he can trust and stoves to sell. Payan is refining his sales strategy to reach 100s of thousands, with a growing design business and a smart sales and maker team.

Three hundred such startups work in Kenya, trying to survive by selling #cleancookstoves to save some of the 4.3 million who die each year.  In six months we aim to produce new stories of #cleancookstoves and fuel makers and recruit African social media and tech designers for an interactive platform and outreach campaign, using local crews & partners.

Stories of innovative problem solvers, well told and well distributed, empower change: protecting lives and trees, reducing carbon emissions. A McKinsey report says, “capturing and sharing inspiring stories from the front lines may be the first step: a way to shift perception, motivate audiences, and inspire collaborations that can allow good ideas to reach scale.”  See our plans at  African Makers Media.

Our mini-docs are personal stories that show the who, why and how of African makers, to engage global viewers in inventive problem solving. We aim to build awareness and demand for #cleancookstoves via social media in Africa and the diaspora

We produce stories for hundreds of thousands, using social media, mobile phones and the channels that actually change behaviors used by our Tanzanian partners, Media for Development International, who  have reached millions to improve health.

African Makers Media seeks African designers to build a collaborative platform and social media managers to raise #cleancookstoves action in communities. Share your ideas in the comments below! 

We seek other stories from video makers in East Africa and beyond. Fuel maker Betty Ikalany makes charcoal from tons of peanut shells in Uganda, while 90% of forests in some areas have disappeared. Betty also gives safe haven to women who learn to sell clean fuel, as they prepare to leave abusive husbands.   

Stories link investors and mentors to makers, to help them reach massive numbers of new customers. We invite partners and sponsors to help launch this story and outreach campaign by September, 2016.

This winter our crews will film personal stories of startups that work to make daily cooking fast, safe and green.  Collaborate with us for stories of change that change the story of Africa. We need your skills and ideas. Contact us at African Makers Media.

Attachments (1)

new YWI one pager.pdf

Young World Inventors was inspired by my MIT students who started nonprofits and companies as undergraduates, working across cultures. We have filmed with ten startups, with three more coming. African Makers Media is a #cleancookstove initiative of Makers working for clean air and reforestation, with stories for global viewers.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Diane  L. Hendrix

Thanks, Susannah,  and you ecoart projects are intriguing.  I am looking for collaborators to build audiences for stories on on #cleancookstoves, as well as Cyrus Kabiru in Nairobi, who "gives trash a second chance" and makes collectibles from digital garbage.

View all comments