Elius Muhumbise







Designer-in-Residence Elius Muhumbise
Location Uganda
Inventions Hands-on educational programs to engage youth in building fuel-efficient stoves in their communities and mobilizing environmental clean-ups.
At D-Lab


Meet D-Lab Teacher and Designer-in-Residence, Elius Muhumbise
Elius Muhimbise is a primary school teacher at the Iruhura government primary school in Kabarole District, Uganda. After school and on the weekends, he does conservation work in his community by engaging youth to organize waste clean-up efforts, test water quality, protect wildlife, and build low-cost cook stoves as an alternative to the highly inefficient three-stone fires. Elius and his students have been attempting to scale-up adoption of these cook stoves by showing families how to build them (including how to make bricks, if the families cannot purchase bricks), lending a hand when the families start building in their kitchens, and asking families with the new stoves to pay it forward by teaching and helping a neighbor.

Elius is part of the Kasiisi Project network of schools, the national representative for Let's Do It Uganda, a member of the Global Efficient Cook Stove exchange, a Teacher-in-Residence with D-Lab’s youth program, and a mentor for the D-Lab: Education class team working in Uganda. His visit to D-Lab was his first visit to the United States.

Current Project 
Elius is currently focused on moving his cook stove project forward. Elius and his students live near the Kibale National Forest in Uganda, where they recognize that unsustainable use of wood for cooking and other needs could lead to deforestation and a depletion of natural resources. He began by attending a workshop on how to build stoves that burn less wood, developed by the Kibale Fuel Wood Project and Camp Uganda. He has since worked with his students and neighbors to build these stoves in his community, adapting the design together with families, depending on access to materials, the layout of the home, cooking preferences (ex: a larger version for using two pots at once instead of one), and more.

At D-Lab, workshop manager Jack Whipple supported Elius and Jessica Huang from D-Lab’s youth program in recreating these stoves, both with and without additional insulation, using materials from places on campus like the Edgerton Center as well as local garden and hardware stores. Biomass research scientist Dan Sweeney and his team of D-Lab students then helped Elius in testing the stoves on emissions, fuel use, temperature, cook time and other parameters to better understand the current design and suggest improvements.

Stove Materials (varies, depending on what is available to the families)
Bricks, cow dung, mud, clay, sand, water, ash, sawdust.