Charlot Magayi: From A Teenage Mother At 16, Now Feted By Forbes For Her Innovative Stove

Making a slip in life should not define your future as this inspiring story of Charlot Magayi attests. Growing up as an orphan in the slums of Nairobi and being a teenage mother did not stop her from chasing her dreams.

In this article WoK brings you the story of Ms Magayi, founder of Mukuru Clean Stoves who was among the four Kenyans to make it to the Forbes 2022 30 Under 30 list.

Early Life

Charlot Magayi was born and raised in the slums of Mukuru in Eastlands, Nairobi. Her father died when she was two years old and her mother later when she was barely 10 years old. Due to the challenges and lack of good role models in the slums, became a teenage mother at 16 years old. Her daughter would one day get burnt by a traditional cooking stove in the slums and was hospitalized for a while. Despite all these challenges, she never stopped but instead worked hard in school and was able to secure an opportunity to join Kenyatta University where she pursued a degree in Environmental Science.

Establishing Mukuru Clean Stoves

During a past interview with Business Daily, she revealed that it was her daughter’s accident that made her start thinking of alternative cooking solutions while at the University.

“Of all the events that shaped my career journey was when my baby was burned by a traditional stove. After that day, I started thinking about cooking solutions that posed less of a safety risk to children in the household. My idea was refined during my campus days in Kenyatta University,” she explained.

In 2017, she established Mukuru Clean Stoves with the aim of addressing three main challenges including; excessive fuel consumption, household air pollution and children’s burn injuries. The company makes, designs and distributes improved, reliable and pocket-friendly cooking stoves to low-income households. The stoves are made from cassava stems, water hyacinth, sorghum waste and sugar cane which makes them environmentally friendly. She started the company at Mukuru Slums but later moved to Rarieda in Siaya where she has employed over 25 individuals and works with over 200 sales agents who are mostly women.

Achievements, Success and other activities

Through her company Mukuru Clean Stoves, she has been recognized and awarded for her fight to reduce household air pollution and her contributions in empowering marginalized women in the western region of Kenya. She won the Waislitz Global Citizen Award in 2019, The World Bank’s inaugural SDGs and Her award in 2018 and the Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) Empowerment Award in 2019.

In 2021, she was recognized by Africa Business Hero for her innovative solutions to the community. In 2022 she was named as Stanford Global Energy Hero and appeared in the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list. Apart from being the person behind Mukuru Clean Stoves, she serves as a Member in the Board of Directors at Rockflower. She also serves part time as a Fellow at Westerwelle Foundation, Echoing Green and Global Good Fund.

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