Meet Louise Williamson: Owner of Mashesha Stoves

Louise Williamson the local social entrepreneur was named the winner, in the education category, of the African Entrepreneurship Awards held in Casablanca, Morocco in December 2017 for her pioneering invention – Mashesha Stoves.

Williamson has won a number of awards for the clean-cooking practical stoves. The AEA competition received more than 5000 entries from across the continent.

Winners were named in 12 categories, among them Williamson. She explained that the competition comprised a number of rounds, and saw entrants judged in various categories, among them their feasibility.

Mashesha stoves are not the only cook stoves on the market, but are considerably larger than anything else that is available, which is makes it suitable for large-scale cooking such as in schools.

The benefit the stoves offer schools specifically is why they won in the education category.

Williamson added that she developed the stove specifically for schools in rural areas.

“Usually these schools don’t have proper kitchens so they cook bent over a fire. Sometimes they get donated kitchens but they can’t afford to maintain them, and they return to the traditional cooking method.

“The smoke is terrible for their eyes and lungs and uses a lot of wood, which the gogos often have to chop themselves before cooking for all the children,” she explained.

Mashesha stoves uses strategically placed air vents that enables the stove to reuse the smoke it emits for heat and use less firewood. It is also tall enough that an adult can use it standing up straight and has bars to keep the pot from falling off.

It can also work with a waste cardboard and mieliepap mix, making the stoves even more sustainable.

A number of local companies have come on board by donating Mashesha stoves to schools as part of their corporate social investment strategies.

If you too want to get involved, contact Sustainability Professionals on 072-436-8347 or visit

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