Our Stories

Energy and cost efficient stoves in schools

Every year more than 3.3 million meals are served up to children across our 28 partner primary schools in Tanzania. Now, So They Can is equipping school kitchens with cleaner, healthier, and environmentally friendly cooking technology for the job.

Improved Institutional Firewood Stoves are 70% more efficient on firewood consumption compared to traditional three-stone open fireplaces.

Manyara Primary School’s kitchen is always busy – there are 555 students and 8 teachers to feed, and  208 of the students board on the campus. Like most school’s in Tanzania the use of a traditional open fire for cooking requires a large amount of wood which is expensive, and it creates an unsafe work environment for the school’s cook.

‘It was difficult preparing student meals. The kitchen was challenging – excessive heat, smoke and debris in a confined space all had a detrimental impact on my work and health. Rainy days made it difficult to start a fire’

Rafael, School Cook

The School Management Committee and the Head Teacher led a strategic cost saving plan. With the savings they accumulated, they were able to construct a modern kitchen – designed for improved food preparation, as well as improved food and staff safety. In August, So They Can equipped the kitchen with 2 Improved Institutional Firewood Stoves.

‘We used to consume at least 10 tractor loads of firewood at a cost of approximately TZS 1.6 million (approx. AUD $1,000) every month. Now, because our 2 new stoves require small wood chips instead of logs, our monthly wood consumption has decreased by over 85%’ 

Mr Matandiko, Head Teacher

Below, the old kitchen on the left. and the new kitchen on the right.

‘The kitchen upgrade and new cooking stoves have brought great improvements – no smoke, less wood, and more space. Now I am able to work comfortably. These changes will impact food quality, and ensure that children enjoy nutritious meals’

Rafael, School Cook

Manyara Primary School is 1 of 4 schools that are being equipped with Improved Institutional Improved Firewood Stoves this year, as part of our School Improvement project.


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So They Can commits to accountability We want to be one of the most trustworthy non-profit organisations in Australasia, and we want to know how everything we do is helping our partner communities. It is important for any non-profit organisation to know exactly what is working so we can focus our attention on projects that deliver great results. We also need to know which projects are not working, so we can improve or stop them. We are designing a new system to capture the most important data and measure our success. “We need to identify successes and gaps.” – Wilson Kaijage, So They Can Tanzania MEL Officer Last week representatives from So They Can International, So They Can Kenya, and So They Can Tanzania gathered with international experts in Arusha, Tanzania for a 2 day Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) workshop hosted by Penny Verdich, Growth Coaching International and Terri Anderson, STC International Tanzania Country Director and MEL Manager. “Monitoring and evaluation cannot be separated from accountability.” – Elizabeth Kisio, So They Can Kenya MEL Officer Attendees created a template for the new system which will measure data at the beginning, middle and end of each So They Can project. Ongoing staff training and organisational evaluation will make sure these systems get better and better. Measuring and proving our achievements will help us give children access to quality education. It will also give our donors and partners confidence in our performance.

So They Can commits to accountability

We want to be one of the most trustworthy non-profit organisations in Australasia, and we want to know how everything we do is helping our partner communities. It…

Read More