Mashesha Stoves develop their award-winning brand

Kindness is key

Award-winning brand Mashesha Stoves approached Boomtown to assist with their marketing after receiving a R100,000 grant to increase awareness of the innovative stove and its benefits.

Mashesha Stoves are scientifically engineered to provide a clean, safe and environmentally conscious way of cooking. Initially designed for use in rural communities, it is also a convenient way to cook in urban areas. The innovative stove benefits schools, and forms part of a corporate CSR initiative to uplift individuals and communities. Hence the tagline – kind to people, kind to the environment.

The Boomtown team was briefed to assist in the development of the brand, the marketing strategy, and marketing material which has elements that need to be easily understood by those who are illiterate.

“This meant we split the target market and altered the communication method for each,” remarked Boomtown Account Director, Anina Pienaar. “There is a multitude of applications for the stoves. One is educating those in developing communities and giving them access through distribution as part of corporate CSI initiatives such as targeting Principals and the Department of Education to assist in school feeding programmes. The other is city dwellers who want a cleaner more eco-friendly way to braai or cook,”  added Pienaar.

Louise Williamson, the brainchild behind the product said, “Spending 17 years working in rural communities on sustainable living projects, I found out that over 12000 schools rely on wood to prepare food for over 9 million hungry learners daily, as part of the national nutrition programme. The schools use semi-enclosed shelters and are exposed to huge amounts of smoke, which leads to a myriad of health issues. In addition, indigenous timber is being used, leading to major deforestation, biodiversity loss and increased emission of CO2. The Mashesha stove is a solution – addressing social, environmental and economic issues.”

With this knowledge we created a solution that addressed the problem. Focusing on the benefits of the stove, the updated branding encourages the adoption of the stove to help the environment (using less wood) and help communities (less smoke).

“The ladies tasked with cooking and collecting wood can cook more food, faster with the Mashesha. Less time gathering wood and cooking, and less smoke means less illness,” commented Williamson.

“By reducing time spent on cooking and collecting, they have more time to do other things, such as empowering themselves by starting a small business and selling the food they cook, ” she added.

Part of the brief was to assist Williamson in her long-term goal of creating a community of ‘Amashesha People’, especially in the rural areas. The people who use the Mashesha Stoves will not only be able to make a living from it, selling food they have cooked, they will also be valuable brand ambassadors.

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