Teaching fuel efficient cooking techniques in rural South Africa – reducing emissions, increasing efficiency and improving the health and wellbeing of communities
Dirty smoke produced by cooking fires in rural South African communities releases potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as well as harmful pollutants that increase the risk of lung disease. To help reduce emissions and improve health and wellbeing, we're supporting an initiative that employs local teams to visit communities and show them more fuel efficient ways of cooking and heating.
This unique project teaches South African communities a new technique to ignite their fires called Basa Magogo, which means ‘Light it up! Grandmother’ in Zulu. Basa Magogo uses 50% less coal than typical methods, helping households to save money, as well as significantly reducing harmful emissions. Our support helps employ local teams to demonstrate the new technique, talk about the negative effects of smoke and encourage people to use Basa Magogo in their own homes.
Traditionally, a fire is lit at the bottom of a metal brazier, or stove, and coal stacked on top. This causes the fire to smoulder for up to an hour before the coal is burned through and begins emitting heat. Not just fuel inefficient, but time intensive too. Basa Magogo requires no new equipment, just a different way of stacking. It only takes 10 minutes to reach the optimum cooking temperature and saves on average 300kg of coal a year - significantly reducing household fuel costs in vulnerable communities.
The team aims to convert every coal-using household in the region to Basa Magogo within 10 years to empower communities to improve their standard of living, as well as reducing emissions to improve health and prevent climate change. Since the project began, almost 70% of communities that have been introduced to Basa Magogo continue to use this technique. This is the first project of its kind verified by the Gold Standard, an international certification for carbon reduction projects.
We’re proud to support the Basa Magogo project, in South Africa, as it shows by making small changes we can drastically reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier, and more sustainable, future.