If you are a poor girl growing up in the slums of Nairobi, orphaned at 10, and a teenage mother at 16, your life is filled with struggle. That was Charlot Maguyi’s life -- dropping out of school and struggling to survive by buying and selling charcoal as fuel to cook meals for herself and her daughter. One day, her two-year-old daughter suffered burns from the stove. Charlot started to think about finding a safer way to cook. She also wanted to find a way to reduce the smoke that was known to contribute to respiratory problems.
Long story short, Charlot got back into school in 2017 when she founded Mukuru Clean Stoves. Her company is woman-led and managed. They design, manufacture, and distribute improved cookstoves to low-income communities. The stoves are made from recycled waste metal and use charcoal, wood, and sugar cane biofuels. They address three problems: excessive fuel consumption, household air pollution, and childhood burn injuries.
If you are a poor girl growing up in the slums of Nairobi, no one expects you to become a Founder and CEO of a profitable enterprise in your twenties. At 29, Charlot Maguyi was awarded one of the five 2022 Earthshot Prizes, "Clean our air," for her work in reducing air pollution.
Environmental Voices Rising celebrates and congratulates Charlot Maguyi!
What is the Earthshot Prize?
The Earthshot Prize was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 ambitious Moonshot project “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills..."
The Earthshot Prize chooses to acknowledge and highlight solutions created by individuals or organizations to address our planet’s greatest threats from climate change with solutions to clean air, clean oceans, restore nature, fix the climate, and build a waste-free world. The winners used their skills and energies to face the challenges and create scalable solutions.
The challenge of the Earthshot like the challenge of the Moonshot – “is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win” ~John F. Kennedy