Amina's road to success in the cookstoves market: a story of resilience


Amina Idd is in her early 20s and could easily be the queen of comebacks. She did not go to secondary school after her 7th grade. She has since tried and failed in two small businesses, but her failure has only made her more determined to succeed.

“I started as a fruit vendor, but it was not profitable, so I stopped after a while. Then my brother opened a movie rental shop for me, which was going well until the 2014 flood that swept away my DVDs and destroyed the shelf I used for storage”, Amina said.

As fate would have it, early 2015, SNV went to Morogoro in Tanzania searching for youth that would enrol in the Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) project, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. Amina expressed interest and was trained in moulding and assembling improved cookstoves under the project's renewable energy activities. “I am able to make my own stoves but because I have no equipment to make the parts, I buy and assemble the stove”.

Amina has established a local market for her products and is happy that the villagers see the value in spending US$9.2 on an improved stove that can use both charcoal and wood fuel. “I take them to the market and in one day I sell about 15 stoves at Tsh20,000 each”.

Amina applied and was selected by a panel of judges for a TV show on Tanzania’s ITV channel, Airtel Fursa (see video below). “Her tenacity and drive drew us to her. Even amidst numerous challenges she has kept going. We want to enable her to lift her business to the next level. And if she is able to employ other youth, it will be of bigger benefit,” an Airtel Fursa judge said in an interview.

After featuring her story of relentless effort in an episode, the show awarded Amina with workshop equipment that would enable her to mould her own clay parts for the stoves as well as welding equipment to fabricate the metal frames. “Amina, you have convinced us that you deserve this award. Our hope is that you will now expand your enterprise and employ other youth to help you produce stoves,” a representative of the show said at the award ceremony amid ovation from friends and relatives in her rural Magole town.

The OYE project is proud to have a shining star in Amina, setting an example for other rural girls.