Mary’s Meals in Malawi boosts enrolment figures

May 18, 2013

Use of smart technology improves social impact

The NGO Mary’s Meals  has been providing approx. 593,000 schoolchildren in 421 selected primary schools in Malawi with meals for over ten years now. With the aim of feeding children and thereby also increasing enrolment in schools, the young learners receive hot porridge made from maize flour mixed with salt and sugar. The challenge faced by the NGO, however, is a lack of firewood needed to prepare these meals. As 95% of the Malawian population rely on firewood, deforestation has become a real issue in the region.

However, an innovation constructed by a German engineer has helped to alleviate this issue: using an average of six kilograms less firewood per pot of porridge, a newly developed rocket stove uses only 1/10 of the wood that is normally needed to cook the amount required. This not only decreases costs but means that less wood is required on a daily basis.

This example shows that the usage of appropriate technological solutions can significantly enhance the social and environmental impact of a project. The organisation, which runs similar school feeding programs in 16 countries around the world including Haiti, Kenya, Zambia, India and Ukraine, has attained positive results in Malawi with the enrolment figures increasing from 200 to 525 in a short time.

David Hoffmann
David Hoffmann

David Hoffmann is member of the “empowering people. Award” team at the Siemens Stiftung (foundation). He holds degrees in Economics and Geography and has worked on development issues in the European Parliament and the German Embassy in Moldova. He also worked as project coordinator for humanitarian disaster aid missions.


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  • Food & Agriculture
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