Education & Employability
Planet Green Africa - Clean Cooking in Kitchens All Across Malawi
This feature highlights the impact of Planet Green Africa and how the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) supports the organization to protect the local environment and improve the health and livelihood of women in Malawi.
Mwayi Kampesi, the founder of Planet Green Africa, leads with courage and passion.
For as long as she could remember, she cared deeply about protecting the environment and empowering women. So, it came as no surprise when she made the decision to leave her job as an Architect to start her first business, In House-Interiors, in 2014, to merge her two passions for the environment and female empowerment. Through In-House Interiors, Mwayi manufactures interior décor and green interior accessories using environmentally friendly raw materials.
Three years after the successful launch of her business, she founded Planet Green Africa, with the same purpose of protecting the environment and empowering women.
Planet Green Africa is a renewable energy company that produces eco-friendly cooking briquettes from recycled agricultural waste while closely working with the local women farmers to procure the agricultural waste. The organization partners with local women groups to sell the final briquette product.
It’s a smart solution in the fight against climate change – creating a cleaner, safer cooking fuel option for the people in Malawi while saving forestry and championing women's entrepreneurship.
For this work, Mwayi has received several awards and recognitions including a special mention in Forbes Magazine as a 2017 Forbes Africa 30 under 30 recipient. She was included in the 100 Top Start-Ups under the World Youth Forum in 2018 and received the Obama Foundation African Leader of 2019 award. Recently, she was listed among the 100 Faces of Hope Awards at the African Women Summit.
These awards pale in comparison to the impact Mwayi is making through Planet Green Africa.
Today, the organization has a total of 516 smallholder farmers that have been economically empowered. These farmers make an extra income from selling agricultural waste that they could have otherwise just burnt in their fields. Mwayi is most proud of the 25 women that serve as business partners and business owners, selling charcoal briquettes in kiosks in their communities.
While this work is done from a place of personal passion, Mwayi and her team, are supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT).
“We have had a wonderful journey and a fulfilling and valuable relationship with QCT, we truly love being a part of the family of the QCT benefices. QCT has been our supporting partner since 2020. Through the support that we have received, both financial and technical support has enabled Project Green Africa to grow its impact. The financial support has enabled us to buy machinery and enabled us to increase our production capacity by 400%”.
Since its partnership with QCT, Planet Green Africa has increased the number of women smallholder farmers from 116 to 516 in a two-year period. The organization has also increased the number of kiosks in communities from 10 to 25. This means 15 more women now own businesses as suppliers of charcoal briquette.
“We have increased the adoption of the use of sustainable clean cooking fuel in households by 10% in the communities that we currently serve. The funding has also enabled us to reach out to more than 13,500 people through community sensitization programs on environmental conservation.”
Mwayi and her team have their eyes fixed on ensuring Planet Green Africa expands its reach and becomes a leading organization in the supply of sustainable clean energy solutions in Malawi.
We are currently in Blantyre, but in the future, we would like to have a bigger factory that will be able to service the other three major cities in Malawi.
As a young entrepreneur, Planet Green Africa was entirely started from a personal passion and savings. It was not easy to find financing to grow the dream. However, QCT came and allowed us the opportunity to grow.
Before QCT, we did not have a defined structure to enable us to work effectively, but with the technical support from QCT, we have been able to create an organizational structure that now enables us to be more effective and efficient in production. Their support has built a lot of momentum for us and growth.”
Today, Planet Green Africa's briquette burns up to three times longer than traditional firewood fuel, emits more heat and has no toxic gas emissions. This provides local households with a safer alternative for cooking.
The briquettes are also much cheaper than firewood and charcoal, selling at half the price to ensure accessibility for all.
Learn more of how you can show support to organizations like Planet Green Africa on the Queen's Commonwealth Get Involved page.
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