Tetra Tech is promoting alternative cooking solutions, sustainable forest management practices, and regulation to address forest degradation linked to growing urban charcoal demand.
More than 96 percent of households rely on wood fuels as their primary cooking and heating fuel—one of the main threats to Malawi’s forests. In addition, more than 75 percent of urban households also rely on charcoal—the single most significant driver of forest loss in Malawi—as a main source of cooking and heating energy. In 2019 it was projected that national demand for charcoal and firewood exceeded sustainable supply as a result of rapid population growth and urbanization. As a result, Malawi needs to implement innovative solutions that balance citizens’ energy needs and proper management and utilization of forestry resources.
Many thanks for sharing and well done indeed to you and your team for such a well-run event. It was a great pleasure to be involved. Good luck going forward.Martin Dawson, Deputy Development Director, FCDO in reflection of the Malawi Clean Cooking Fund launch event.
To reduce dependency on wood fuels—and specifically charcoal—and conserve forest cover in Malawi, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cofunded the Modern Cooking for Healthy Forests (MCHF) in Malawi Activity. MCHF is designed to promote sustainable forest management in select landscapes and alternative energy options in select urban demand centers to maintain forest cover and reduce land-based emissions. By increasing the demand for alternative and efficient energy options and technologies, and the supply of sustainable wood fuels from well-managed forest resources, MCHF will help Malawi reduce unsustainable tree cutting in both public and customary forests, improve forest cover, and conserve associated watersheds.
The Activity builds on the strong foundation laid by USAID’s Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi Activity (PERFORM), which supported effective governance and forest management processes, built Malawi’s REDD+ readiness capacity, and promoted low-emissions land use opportunities. MCHF applies a landscape approach that encompasses interventions across multiple geographic scales and land use types, including urban and peri-urban areas, forest reserves, plantations, customary land, and smallholder farms, to address wood fuel supply and demand dynamics holistically. The Activity also builds system-level resilience through an integrated land use management framework that seeks to integrate policies across sectors in order to harmonize development and conservation objectives.
The MCHF strategy will reduce unsustainable wood fuel demand, increase sustainable wood fuel supply, and strengthen Malawi’s business and regulatory enabling environment by:
By prioritizing local partners and working with and through government institutions, MCHF aims to strengthen local capacity for self-reliance and sustainability, implementing facilitative market system approaches, and supporting human and institutional capacity development. In addition, MCHF has developed an accelerator program to support early-stage entrepreneurs working in the cooking energy subsector to promote forest-friendly products and services.
The program’s design and implementation to date has improved forest governance systems and enhanced demand for fuel-efficient cooking technologies and alternative energy sources, improving the livelihoods of Malawian citizens. Among other targets, Tetra Tech’s implementation of MCHF will result in: