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Tanzanian Blacksmiths’ innovative tree-saving stoves win
international green energy prize
Tonight at a ceremony in London, the world’s leading green energy prize awarded £20,000
to the Kisingani Smith Group (KSG), a pioneering sustainable energy project working in
Njombe near the Southern highlands of Tanzania. The Ashden Awards prize was presented
to Reuben Patrick Mtitu, Chair and Director of KSG, by Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Wangari

The Kisingani Blacksmiths have trained 120 young people to build efficient stoves that burn
sawdust from local timber businesses and improved wood stoves – 3,500 have been sold since
2005. Locals can pay back the stove‟s cost in a few months and save on charcoal and wood.
Alongside this work KSG has planted over 100 hectares of fuel wood plantation and 24 hectares of
restored indigenous forest. Many trainees have gone on to set up clean stove enterprises in other

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chair of the Ashden Awards said:

“We are delighted to be recognising the extraordinary work of KSG, whose members have not
benefited from higher education, or extensive external support. They have simply used their
practical abilities and commitment to make a difference – giving skills and income-generation
potential to young people, and developing and selling effective wood-saving stoves, using designs
which could be followed by any blacksmith.”

Accepting the report on behalf of KSG, John and Reuben Mtitu said:

“Our Ashden Award is not just an acknowledgement of KSG, but a support to help us invest and
scale up our scheme, and ensure its sustainability. Our plan is to produce 40,000 more stoves by

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Ashden Awards, personally congratulated
this year‟s Ashden Awards winners at a separate meeting. A Clarence House spokesperson said:

"The Prince of Wales was deeply encouraged to learn of the solutions demonstrated by the
Ashden Awards that can reduce our dependency on a carbon economy. His Royal Highness was
particularly impressed by the local sustainable energy initiatives recognised and promoted by the
Awards, which not only meet the needs of communities, but tackle climate change and further
sustainable development."


For further information on the 2008 Ashden Awards international finalists (including case
studies) and to schedule interviews, contact Ilana Cravitz, International Press Officer:

T + 44 (0) 20 8985 3724; M + 44 (0) 782 551 0881; E
Download photos:

      Awards ceremony:
      Winners with HRH The Prince of Wales
      International projects:

Broadcast quality film footage of international projects and the Awards ceremony will be
available online at:

Notes to editors

   1. The Ashden Awards are a UK-based charity working to increase the use of local
      sustainable energy worldwide. They find, reward and publicise the work of leading
      sustainable energy programmes working across the developing world and in the UK. For
      further information, including details on past winners, funders and supporters go to:

   2. Five other international schemes were awarded £20,000 each on 19 June by the UK-based
      Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, to promote replication and expansion of renewable
      energy projects. Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (India) was awarded the title of
      „Energy Champion‟, and Bangladeshi solar programme Grameen Shakti won this year‟s
      Outstanding Achievement Award.

   3. Financial support from the Small Industries Development Association and the local
      Government has enabled KSG to participate at trade fairs. This has generated most of its
      orders and enabled members to make links with other organisations and obtain fresh ideas.
      Small grants from donor GORTA Ireland have helped to build the three village workshop
      buildings. The NGO „Tools for Self-Reliance‟ provided KSG with a bench drill and other

   4. The call for entries for the 2009 Ashden Awards opens on 19 June 2008. Expressions of
      interest for the international Awards should be received by 21 October 2008. Details and
      application forms are online at

   5. A new piece of research commissioned by the UK‟s Department for International
       Development (DFID) looked in detail at some previous Ashden Award-winning
       programmes. It shows that these programmes can achieve significant scale and deliver
       significant benefits for people and the environment – the ten surveyed programmes are
       serving 9 million people across Africa and Asia, and saving 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 this
       year (equivalent to the total domestic emissions of more than 700,000 UK citizens). The
       report is online at

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