May 24, 2023 Mike Kalumb
Community Energy Malawi Limited is implementing a project called Kuphika Moganizira Chilengedwe which seeks to reduce the use of charcoal and firewood by encouraging the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The project is being supported by the Government of Japan and UNDP.
CEM is implementing the project in Lilongwe and Zomba where among others it is are distributing gas cookers, Chitetezo Mbaula and also installing biogas systems in different institutions.
Speaking to Malawi24 online, Wonderful Mkhutche who is Advocacy and Communications Manager at CEM said as Community Energy Malawi they thought of working on this project after observing that many people in the country are using charcoal or firewood for cooking and if they start using gas they will stop using charcoal and also firewood.
“For example here in Lilongwe we know how Dzalanyama trees have been destroyed because of charcoal and firewood and then we thought through this project we are going to make a practical intervention to make sure we are moving people from using charcoal or firewood to gas at the same time reducing deforestation,”said Mkhutche.
According to Mkhutche, since the launch of the Kuphika Moganizira Chilengedwe project the number of Malawians adopting gas a a source of energy has been rising.
Mkhutche also noted that the beneficiaries of this project were identified by the Ministry of Energy and there are about 2700 beneficiaries — 1000 were identified from rural areas and they are getting Mbaula zamakono while 1700 were identified from urban areas and they are getting gas cookers.
“For the gas cookers there are two categories, for the subsidy ones they are only paying for the gas inside the cylinder for example those who are getting the 3 kg Gas cylinder they are only paying 7350 kwacha only. There is also a category of promotion in this category as we are selling half the price of the market value of the item but for the Chitetezo Mbaula we are distributing for free and the biogas systems we are also installing them for free,” explained Mkuche.
The gas cookers are supplied by 265 Energy which is also responsible for training users in the project.
Speaking to Malawi24, Talumba Masambo 265 Energy project manager said as supplier the purpose of this project is to find cleaner ways of cooking so that as a country Malawi can preserve our environment and 265 Energy has come in as a supplier at the same time as a partner.
Masambo added that as 265 Energy they have been conducting trainings to people across the country and they have seen an increase in usage of gas among Malawians because right now many people know how to use gas and the fears they had on gas are gone.
In his remarks, Director of Energy in the Ministry of Energy Joseph Kalowekamo said as Government they have taken LGP as one of the viable alternative sources to be used for cooking and they are promoting usage of this technology in the country through public awareness on the importance of using gas for cooking.
“So the role we are playing is to create public awareness more especially on the availability of this technology and also usage. It is a viable technology and as Government we want many people in the country to stop using charcoal, firewood and switch to gas,” said Kalowekamo.