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CEM Trains Sakata and Chang’ombe Cooperatives in Using Gas for Baking


There is a new lease of life for Sakata and Chang’ombe Community Savings and Investment Promotion (COMSIP) cooperatives in Zomba and Kasungu, respectively. With support from Scottish Government, the two cooperatives have been working with Community Energy Malawi (CEM) and Community Energy Scotland (CES) to start using solar ovens for their baking business.

According to CEM’s Energy Development Officer, Chawezi Gondwe, the two cooperatives were at first using firewood. This was contributing to deforestation in the areas. The coming in of solar ovens has helped in saving the environments. Gondwe further said that over 10, 000 tree seedlings were planted in the two areas to replenish the environment.

Women in Sakata using gas for baking

But recognizing the weather pattern in Malawi, there are months when the sun is not adequate. As such, CEM provided the cooperatives with gas cylinders which will be used to heat up the ovens. Last week, CEM officers met with the cooperatives to empower them on using gas.

According to Dorothy Chindamba of Sakata cooperative, the training on using gas has helped them. She says even though they were initially trained on using gas, they still had challenges in using it. This was affecting quality of bread and business.

Women in Chang’ombe taking out their bread from the solar oven

“We wanted further training on using gas. Now, even our new members, have seen how to use gas and this will help a lot,” she said.

She added: “The quality of the bread was not impressive and affected our sales. We discovered that we were missing some steps in using gas. Now everything is fine.”

The cooperatives are comprised of mostly women. The income they generate helps them in sustaining their families as it provides them with basic needs like food, shelter and education of their children.

Written by Wonderful Mkhutche

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