Community Driven Development of Rocket Stoves in Rural South Africa

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Anne de Chastonay Michael Bugas Shreya Soni Robert Swap


This paper presents a sustainable cook stove project made possible by a partnership between a United States university and a South African community.  Faculty and students from the University of Virginia and the Mashamba Primary Presidential School collaborated to produce a cleaner and more sustainable method of cooking. The Rocket Stove, a high efficiency stove that uses wood as fuel, was adapted and implemented in the Mashamba Primary Presidential School in 2010 through a collective effort from both the University and Mashamba.  Since then, University of Virginia students have revisited Mashamba and are now working closely with the primary school to determine the positive and negative impacts the cookstoves have instilled on the community.

As collaboration between the University of Virginia and Mashamba Primary School continues and more knowledge about the integration of the stoves is revealed, the partners hope to disseminate information about the Rocket Stove to other portions of the region.  The following is a story about the implementation of the rocket stove within a community. It is also a story of how service learning and engaged scholarship can produce a sustainable solution impacting what development means to a community, creating a ripple effect within an entire region.

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How to Cite
DE CHASTONAY, Anne et al. Community Driven Development of Rocket Stoves in Rural South Africa. International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 2, p. 49-68, dec. 2012. ISSN 1555-9033. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 sep. 2017. doi:
Community Engagement, Rocket Stove, Service-learning, South Africa