An integrated approach to energy access in Malawi

The Msamala Sustainable Energy project was implemented in the Balaka district in Malawi, a rural and poor area. In this area, deforestation, inadequate access to energy at the household level, and unsustainable use of charcoal and firewood pose a great challenge. Therefore, the project included a number of components to reduce the demand for fire wood, increase the sustainable supply of wood, and retrain those in the value chain that were earning a living from charcoal production. The project also incorporated the production and sale of improved cook stoves, established literacy and village savings circles, and installed solar panels in 20 schools where forestry clubs were also set up.
The objective of the project was to improve sustainable access to and use of energy. A holistic approach was adopted by the project and it proved to be a success. The approach was innovative in terms of integrating environmental management, energy, education, and income-generation.
By the end of the project, there was a 25% increase in forest cover in the area and 13 participatory forestry management plans had been developed. To tackle deforestation, the Village Natural Resources Management Committees were trained to map the forest, manage its resources and introduce and enforce by-laws to prevent illegal felling. Furthermore, 24,359 stoves were sold to households and 8 to institutions in the area. Over 1,850 adults passed national literacy tests as a result of the project.

In December 2016, The Energy Facility monitoring team visited the project site in Malawi. The most significant result is that the various activities are being continued by the communities in Balaka 4 years after the project implementation officially ended. With the help of carbon credits, the communities have been able to generate additional income from the production of stoves to develop their local infrastructure.

For more information on the Energy Facility projects, please visit the ACP-EU Energy Facility Database.