Searching for Sustainable Solutions in Improved Cook Stove Practice in Malawi: A Cultural Historical Activity Theory Approach
The Improved Cook-Stove (ICS) has the potential to contribute to sustainable firewood harvesting and consumption in Malawi because it is energy efficient. However, accelerated uptake, utilisation and production of ICSs put stress on ICS construction materials. Findings from a qualitative case study that explored uptake and use of ICSs in Ehlonipeni demonstrate that ICS production is putting pressure on ndhulani, a major material in ICS construction. It is contributing to slow stove construction and jeopardising the growth of the ICS practice. This paper argues for ‘boundary crossing learning’ in the search for more sustainable solutions to address the challenge. It recommends: that key activity systems in ICS practice utilise pluralism and diversity in exploring sustainable solutions; and that facilitation of ‘boundary crossing laboratories’ is necessary to support this endeavour.