Nakatomi 2 Creatable Finch UNICEF Australia UNICEF Burundi Creatable - Rocket Stove - Burundi

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Andy Timms, Ben Bray
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Hamish Pain, Tom Bremmer, Matt Edwards
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Greg Attwells, Hannah Beder
  • Client
Judge's comments:

A perfect example of simple design solving a real world problem. Built by the community and for the community


Since its inception, we have partnered with Creatable to design and deliver creativity-led STEM-based education and innovative projects for high school students in Australia.

In 2020, Creatable was engaged by UNICEF to develop an innovation and entrepreneurship curriculum for Burundi, the poorest country in the world.

We needed to find engaging, relevant and reproducible STEM projects for the Burundi high-school students to engage with. It needed to be an experience that might inspire an entrepreneurial spirit and promote positive change in communities. At the same time, we had to be incredibly empathetic about the realities of life in the world's poorest nation.

We focussed on ideating around first principle issues that negatively impacted people and their communities. Air pollution, deforestation, food supply, water supply, personal safety and school attendance were critical areas ripe for an innovative mindset.

Numerous ideas were developed to go into user testing. The local UNICEF team tested each concept with local teachers and students. Their direct feedback led us to design a course to teach them how to build a more efficient cooking method.

According to the World Health Organization, smoke inhalation, caused by inefficient home cooking devices, causes 4.3 million premature deaths every year, making it one of the most lethal environmental health risks worldwide.

The basic concept of having an air flow inlet from below a solid fuel in a fireplace to improve burning efficiency has been known to the western world since the 1800s. Similar cooking fires designed for efficient fuel use and low-smoke output, like the Dakota Fire Pit, have potentially been around for thousands of years.

As such, we designed and tested a variant that could be efficiently built out of the materials we knew were available to the people of Burundi. The Rocket Stove. We compared numerous iterations of rocket stove designs to traditional open-pit and chimney fireplaces to validate their performance. Our testing showed that the Rocket Stove had more complete combustion, making it significantly hotter and reducing soot output.

We designed and illustrated a textbook for students and a handbook for teachers to teach the core principles of the stove. This was then translated into French as the Burundi language of choice.

The Rocket Stove has been taught to thousands of young Burundians who have built and are using Rocket Stoves in their homes. One entrepreneurial group of students from the pilot program have created a business, making and selling rocket stoves for all the houses in their village. This course has been officially implemented in the Burundi curriculum.

We are working with Creatable and UNICEF on a second program that focuses on alternative farming methodologies that students can experiment with at home and ultimately scale up to mass food production.