Charcoal stoves, or “Jikos” (as they are known in Kiswahili), are an essential part of Kenyan cooking, from beans to chicken masala and from roasted maize to all kinds of roasted meat. In 1982, Dr. Maxwell Miringu Kinyanjui, made the initial prototype of the “Kenya Ceramic Jiko” and over time invented other energy efficient jiko designs including ovens and barbeques. For example, the Cookswell Charcoal Oven eliminates dependence on electricity or gas for all household cooking needs. This can translate into reducing energy bills by up to 70% through switching to charcoal. Given the high demand and use of Jikos, switching to an efficiently designed Jiko saves time, money and forests.
In 2007, Dr. Kinyanjui’s son, Teddy Kinyanjui, perfected the design for the Charcoal Drum Kiln. This kiln provides users with a simple, sustainable way to make charcoal without cutting down trees. Promoting the use of this kiln completes the Cookswell philosophy as illustrated by the “Seed-to-Ash Cycle”. The Seed to Ash Cycle shows how trees and biomass can be managed responsibly to ensure the protection of Kenya's forests. Indeed, the correct management and utilization of trees is the key to promoting an environmentally friendly energy solution for East Africa. It is easy to participate in the seed-to-ash cycle by planting trees, using wood without cutting the whole tree down, and using energy-saving stoves.