Maasai Stoves & Solar leader
A new spirit
Dear Friend,

I've just arrived in Tanzania after a long stint at Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters, preparing to move forward with multiple lines of work.

Robert V. Lange

We all know that once something is working well, it is hard to continue to have a creative and critical attitude to one's activities.  We can get locked into practice and forget that we invented it ourselves, and that the practice itself is not sacred.


Starting to bring electrification to bomas has reminded us to never stop trying to improve both the effectiveness and affordability of technology.  But if we are going to train ourselves and our Maasai colleagues to be better and better grid engineers, how about our stove itself? Can it be made better and cheaper to produce? Read more below.   


Clean water is also very important to us and we continue to move forward with water research. The Maasai Women's Organization is reaching a new milestone with Kira Levin's visit this month. Read her story below. 


I invite you to share comments at our new blogs on our newly-revised mobile-friendly website. As always, the Project thrives on your interest, participation, and commitment.
Thank you for your steadfast support.

With heartfelt appreciation,



Robert V. Lange  

Stove design voyage


We must preserve the good aspects of the Maasai Stoves & Solar stove:  

Maasai Stoves & Solar Women's Installation Team
Installing the Maasai Stoves & Solar stove.

But within these good constraints perhaps we can also bring the cost down and increase the fraction the Maasai men can pay. Project Manager Kisioki Moitiko, the women who test our prototypes in the home, and I are embarking on a critical stove design voyage during May.


It's going to be great fun. We have our first new prototype on paper and it takes about half as much steel. Wish us luck!


Boma electrification updates
Last January we celebrated the launch of our new electrification research project, bringing shared power to settlements far off the national grid.

Women and men digging a trench for electric wire 
We continue to sell Maasai Stoves & Solar single-home solar systems to households that purchased our stove. But we want to continue electrifying whole bomas to bring the benefits of shared electrical service, including computers, refrigeration, and eventually solar-powered water purification.

I invite you to read an article about the ten bomas of the pilot project, funded by Power Africa (a program of USAID.)
Maasai Stoves & Solar Education
New learning opportunities 

The settlements have toddlers and young children who might be in school, but for a variety of reasons aren't going at the moment.  Access to play on the new shared boma computer is a wonderful addition to their daily possibilities.   


During this trip I will be helping to explore the education and social impact of access to excellent math software for children on the bomas' computers. 



 Clean water research 


Good, clean water is a necessity for a healthy life. Better water quality for the Maasai is important to the Project. There are many approaches to water sanitizing, including filtering, using chemicals, and of course boiling. All are worth pursuing in appropriate contexts.  


There are high silt levels in many Maasai water sources 


The boma micro-grid project includes our development of solar powered 12-volt DC electrification, at both household and boma level. We have taken on water purification research using this form of electric power.   


We will soon begin work with water pasteurization, or holding water at high but below-boiling temperatures for a sufficient duration. This may prove to be a practical way to use electrical power to sanitize water.  


Before recommending a water purification method, we have to be sure that the approach deactivates the dangerous bacteria present. Maasai water sources with high levels of silt can prevent reliable bacteria counting using conventional approaches. We are now experimenting with new chemical and fluorescent methods, and we'll keep you posted on the results. 


Meet Kira Levin, advocate for the global community
Kira Levin

"Whatever their dreams are--I want that to be a real possibility," says Kira Levin, Maasai Stoves & Solar Intern and Brandeis sophomore.

Prevailing over scores of competitors,  Kira won the prestigious Davis Projects for Peace grant, funding her work with the Monduli Pastoralist Women's Organization in Tanzania, beginning on May 20.  She and the MPWO will start a small chicken farm while working on computer literacy, online communications, budgets, marketing, and fundraising. 

This is a dream job for Kira, whose life goal is to make a difference in the developing world. A three-way major in international and global studies, sociology, and anthropology, this is not her first Tanzanian trip. A visit to Tanzania was part of her high school history studies. "The books seemed to treat Africa as a country, with all the people the same. I wanted to see for myself. In Tanzania I met the most genuine people with a very strong community, and I've been trying to get back ever since.

Kira met Bob Lange at Brandeis through Elise Willer, a Brandeis graduate student and Maasai Stoves & Solar staff. Learning about the Project's education values and on-the-ground actions inspired Kira, who is now studying Swahili in preparation for her trip.  She'll have translation help from Kisioki Moitiko and daily language lessons with Mary Lazaro, an MPWO leader. 

Maasai women organizing 

" My hope is to be able to share all my skills to enable the women to do this work independently," says Kira. " I hope they will soon determine their own needs and fulfill them for themselves, with full access to the global community to do what they want."

Kira, we share your aspirations, and wish you well on your journey.

And now--it's your turn! 
We'd like to have a conversation with you via our new blogs
at the International Collaborative website homepage. We hope you'll continue the dialog at our Facebook Page. Invite your friends to "like" us,  come and visit us, and stay connected. Your support and good will makes all of the work possible.

And thank you to photographers Jessie Bryson and Philip Lange who help us to share our stories through their beautiful photography in this issue and at our website.  


For a better life for the rural world, and a cleaner environment for all

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International Collaborative, Maasai Stoves & Solar Project
81 Kirkland Street, Unit 2, Cambridge, MA 02138
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