The label which is named GWA+, meaning “stove+” in Bambara language will allow women and men to make informed choices about the cooking equipment they need. Essentially, this will be based on the technical and economic performance of the stove while also allowing their producers/suppliers to optimise the economic opportunities it offers them. GWA+, therefore, stands for more quality, more economy, more comfort, and more health.
In Mali, wood and charcoal remain the main sources of energy for cooking needs in households and SMEs. This has increased the pressure on the forest resources in a country that is already adversely affected by climate change.
The Malian Alliance for Clean Cooking (M-ACC) accompanied by sector stakeholders and supported by SNV / EnDev, initiated the development of a quality label for improved stoves to boost the market for improved cooking technologies. This process, which began in December 2019, has resulted in the adoption of a specifications manual for the label elaborated by three technical committees (Standards and testing - operationalisation of the label including monitoring quality control - promotion of the label). This adoption by end of February 2021, paved the way for the label to be used for its intended purpose.
At the launch event
The event was co-organised by the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, children and Family as part of their activities related to International Women Day which are taking place throughout the whole month of March in Mali. The event was held at the Maison de la Femme in Bamako and featured a programme of high-profile speakers including the Secretary-General of the Ministry mentioned above.
In his welcome address, the President of the M-ACC, Mr Ousmane Sory Samassékou underlined the importance of this initiative by asking: 'Has it ever crossed your mind that the simple act of cooking is one of the biggest contributors to negative impacts on health and environment in the world?’.
The National Director of Energy, Mrs Thera Aminata Fofana added in her speech: ‘This label is very welcome because despite many efforts to develop the sector since the 1990s we notice a stagnation in the sector while the control of wood consumption remains the core problem to solve in Mali’.
The Secretary-General, Mr Chiaka Magassa mentioned the linkages with the objectives of his Ministry by saying: ‘The initiative to launch this quality label for cookstoves and its inclusive nature is directly in line with the theme of this year’s International Women's Day - 'Female leadership, for more equality in Mali in the context of COVID-19'.
Harm Duiker, Country Director for SNV in Mali reinforced the potential gender impact by stating: ‘We are happy that the Minister for Women is hosting this event, but not because we see women as ‘beneficiaries’ or end-users of clean cookstoves. But because we believe that women are an important, and often neglected part of the solution to expand access to modern cooking for all.’
About the GWA + certification
Supported by the Malian Alliance for Clean Cooking (M-ACC), the GWA+ label is awarded by a neutral committee, made up of representatives of the Malian Agency for Standardisation and Quality Promotion (AMANORM), the Malian Agency for the Development of Domestic Energy and Rural Electrification (AMADER), the Collective of Women of Mali (COFEM), the Consumers Association of Mali (ASCOMA) and the Malian Alliance for Clean Cooking (M- ACC).
GWA+ will only be granted to stoves meeting specific quality and efficiency requirements for fuel consumption. One to three stars can be attributed to a stove. The more efficient the stove model, the more stars will be awarded. This graduated nature of the label intends to attract interest of companies to aim for better quality. For the moment, the label has been attributed to six stove models.