Kinyanjui Jiko – a fuel efficiency stove in Kenya

In a previous post we told you  about the Kenya Ceramic Jiko, a fuel efficient stove, it’s such a common stove, we all have one at home.   But did you know that it was invented by Maxwell Kinyanjui?

I recently I “discovered” another amazing jua kali fuel efficient stove – I was at a private party enjoying a fantastic barbeque meal with 100 other guests. I stole around to the kitchen where there was no oven, but out back a tiny aluminium stove that was producing enormous amounts of food with an impossibly small amount of charcoal.

I’ve since come across it again at a private ranch where only the cook knew how to operate the thing to bake the most amazing cakes.

Baking Breadin Baringo
Baking Bread in Baringo

And at Roberts Camp 100 miles north on the shores of Lake Baringo where the chef told me that one only used a tiny amount of charcoal, he lets it cool down somewhat and then let the bread bake without opening the oven until done (I guess he can tell from the smell?)

Fuel efficiency stoves
Fuel efficiency stoves

In recent months I’ve noticed these wonderful stoves everywhere, on roadsides and in jua kali markets.  I don’t know why I didn’t see them before. They come in a variety of sizes and openings are offered (two door or top hinged). They go for US $100 for a small oven (big enough to bake 4 loaves), and a little more for the bigger varieties. Great for baking, they provide important business opportunities for communities, and underprivileged groups like the Jacobs Oven making business for women and feeding orphans.

This is another of Maxwell Kinyanjuils inventions and it’s called the Kinyanjui Jiko. Maxwell is a household name in Kenya, founder of Woodlands 2000 Trust, he is associated with plantations, experiments with trees for fuel, furniture and new designs of fuel efficient stoves including the Kenya ceramic jiko!  Because of the deplorable state of our forests, Kenya is well known for efforts in improving fuel efficiency through  stove inmovations – many of which can probably be attributed to Maxwell Kinyanjui.  – the man gets two gold stars from me! I went to see Maxwell at his Kitengela Arborretum near Athi River just outside of Nairobi. He laughed when he heard that I was the proud owener of a clone. Yes, his inventions are sold only in Nakumatt and Uchumi. In good spirit he was pleased that the oven has been replicated with some modifications … all good business for the jua kali sector.

I bought one and was just amazed that this stove uses such a ridiculously small amount of charcoal. It is great for baking and slow cooking of vegetables and meat but not so good for traditional nyama choma. A well known Nairobi chef told me that he uses it to perfectly finish meat that has been braised on the traditional bbq. As a food loving vegetarian, I find it is brilliant for slow cooked vegetables –mixture of onions, garlic, potatoes, pumpkin, beetroot, aubergines, chopped on a tray and sprinkled with some salt, rosemary or other herbs, and olive oil  …absolutely spectacular results at a very low cost. Bread and cakes have so far eluded me.

Want one? Order it here

Musaki Enterprises Ltd.
Po Box 23058, Nairobi
Lower Kabete
Phone: 0724690352 or 0713564768
Email: or

3 thoughts on “Kinyanjui Jiko – a fuel efficiency stove in Kenya”

  1. Would there be a chance that this efficient stove could be connected with the carbon micro-credit incentive program? I know of a stove produced in Uganda that is part of the program Carbon Manna Unlimited. These stoves used in rural western Kenya will be monitored and the families using them will receive payment for building up Kenya’s carbon credit points. The payments will be using Safaricom’s Mpesa service.
    Is there a possibility that the Kenya Ceramic Jiko could be part of a program like this?

  2. What a fantastically clever idea. I’m not sure if it’s part of that scheme…Maxwell is more into selling the Jikos than anything…but why not? I’ll let him know. I spent another day filming him at his workshop learning how to make eco-charcoal and just enjoying the wonderful company of him and his son Teddy. A new post is coming up on this soon.

  3. I think that the way that the carbon micro-credit program would work is if there is a proliferation of the jiko itself to areas such as schools, hospitals and prisons. That way, you are tracking the amounts better.

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