Mpishi Hodari - Case Study: Rising Awareness on Clean Energy for Cooking to Local Food Vendors - Asha's Journey towards Clean Energy for Cooking

Asha, a seasoned local food vendor, Specializing in a variety of Swahili dishes, she caters to both dine-in customers and supplying to industrial workers in Mwenge industrial area. However, Mama Asha faces challenges associated with traditional cooking practices fueled by firewood and charcoal. Asha’s journey towards adopting clean energy for cooking practices took a transformative turn after her participation in the Mpishi Hodari training event.

Asha’s Mgahawa customers serving area

Background:

With over five years working in culinary business, Asha like many food vendor relies on non-clean energy sources, particularly firewood and charcoal, which not only poses health risks but also contributes to environmental degradation. The open kitchen setup fueled by firewood exposes her to respiratory and cardiovascular hazards, while also contributing to deforestation and environmental concerns. Recognizing these challenges, Asha sought alternatives, leading her to engage with the Mpishi Hodari program.

MPISHI HODARI PROGRAM:

The Mpishi Hodari program is an ongoing campaign in Tanzania, dedicated to enhancing the operations of food vendors, advocating for clean cooking practices, and fostering collaboration within the culinary community. Through workshops and informative sessions, the program aims to revolutionize the culinary landscape and promote the transition to cleaner energy sources. Asha’s participated in the kick off program of 24th November 2023 where 30 local food vendors from Kawe, Kigamboni, and Ubungo areas in Dar es Salaam came together for experiential learning.  The training provided her with insights into clean cooking energy and introduced her to suppliers of improved cook stoves and alternative charcoal.

Asha's turning point - Insights gained at the Mpishi Hodari Workshop:

Equipped with knowledge about the economic, health, and environmental benefits of clean cooking practices, Asha became interested in alternative charcoal, particularly briquettes. Interested, Asha reached out to a supplier, only to face challenges related to distance and transportation in procuring the alternative charcoal.

She explained, “I really wished to use briquettes after the Mpishi hodari workshop, but when I contacted the vendor, he mentioned that transporting them to Mwenge from Kibaha is quite a distance. I don’t know of any other place where I can find this specific type of charcoal.”

briquettes:

Despite initial challenges in procuring the alternative charcoal, Asha’s determination led her to join a local food vendor group from Kigamboni, where she found mutual support and shared experiences. This collaborative effort empowered Asha and her peers to explore clean energy solutions together.  She Shared 

After attending the Mpishi Hodari seminar I was inspired by kigamboni local food vendors so I decided to join their group known as UMALKIDA and therefore I paid a fee of Tshs 50,000/=as their registration fee. In a short time, we had the opportunity to participate in an event with content similar to that of the Mpishi Hodari seminar. The seminar was organized by the District Commissioner of Kigamboni, and it addressed environmental changes or climate change, specifically tailored for Baba & mama Ntilie “.

Additionally, Asha expressed interest in using LPG stoves but cited environmental challenges at her working area as obstacles to this transition. She explained

“This place is prone to wind, I know it will affect the performance of gas stoves the wind can interfere with the flame, making it difficult to control and maintain a consistent cooking temperature and during rainy season like this it will be even more difficult.

Despite this setback, Asha remains optimistic and encourages continued efforts by organizations like INTERFINi to conduct informative workshops so as to increase awareness on clean energy for cooking and creating rooms for networking.

Asha at her Mgahawa in Mwenge area, Dar es Salaam February 2024

CONCLUSION:

Mama Asha’s journey demonstrates the significance of ongoing educational efforts and community engagement in promoting sustainable practices within the cooking industry, power of community collaboration and the impact of informative workshops in overcoming challenges. This case study showcase the importance that is to be brought by creation of shared resource centres as hubs for information, training, and support related to clean energy for cooking. These centres can offer workshops, demonstrations, and educational materials, enabling vendors like Mama Asha to navigate the practicalities and benefits of clean energy adoption.

Kigamboni Local Food Vendors during Mpishi Hodari Kick off Workshop Nov 2023

Mama Asha’s journey further highlights the need for collaborative efforts in enabling local food vendors to transition to clean cooking practices and a call for development partners to join the initiative, providing support, resources, and expertise to facilitate a wider adoption of sustainable cooking methods among local food vendors across the country.

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