Mataitoga’s passion

Anaisi Mataitoga is the founder of Gender Climate Change Alliance Fiji Ltd (GCCAF Ltd) which became a registered business on October, 21, 2012. Picture: SUPPLIED

HER passion to deliver the best quality stoves for rural dwellers has resulted in the invention of the smokeless energy efficient wood stoves.

For widow Anaisi Mataitoga, her passion to help the marginalised grew even stronger after various visits to the peri-urban and rural communities and seeing first-hand the depleting state of living still experienced by some families in this 21st century.

The Nawaikama villager from Gau is the founder for Gender Climate Change Alliance Fiji Ltd (GCCAF Ltd) which became a registered business on October, 21, 2012 and she also designed the smokeless stove to reduce indoor air pollution (IAP) — the biggest killer for children and women in third world countries for inhaling smoke from cooking fires.

“The company was initiated by a number of women from different walks of life and professions who had a common vision to bring a difference in the day-to-day lives of the less fortunate and marginalised sector of our nation,” Ms Mataitoga said.

The word gender is included in the business name to refer to both male and female inclusiveness.

“We the pioneers recognised the importance of gender equality and the need to be sensitive and inclusive with our policies and more practical approach to be able to achieve our vision and mission effectively.

“Most importantly we know that our calling will be amidst the giant male counterparts and we rate ourselves (GCCAF Ltd) as equal partners.”

Ms Mataitoga said like most businesses GCCAF Ltd struggled to be recognised and perseverance paid in 2016 which later caused a setback that resulted in the loss of our pioneer members.

“As managing director, I continued to look for donor agencies that support us deliver goods to the needy communities.

“Like any company we faced teething problems and challenged with looking for funds to support the company’s initial project.”

Ms Mataitoga said the first stoves were built in June 2016 to replace the typical open fire places. She said the initial design was not possible because of the costs so they did away with the roofing to meet the fund donor requirements which was the energy efficient smokeless wood stove to replace the traditional open fire cooking methods.

“Luckily last year GCCAF Ltd was selected to be a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Small Grants Program (SGP) grantee to fund the implementation of this pilot project — Smokeless Energy Efficient Wood stove at Kalekana Village in Lami.”

Ms Mataitoga said she was grateful Government was promoting her invention.

“I don’t see why not? The transformation can be visibly seen, it might cost a bit more from any other model since its body is completely made out of steel and galvanised pipes but safety, efficiency and longevity is guaranteed.”

Ms Mataitoga said GCCAF Ltd was grateful to the two previous donors that supported the initiative: UNDP SGP for the Kalekana Pilot Project and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the Nakalawaca Village in replicating the same project.

“I would like to see the day when most, if not all rural households benefit from the replication of the smokeless energy efficient wood stoves I designed for GCCAF Ltd.”