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TIE - INTRODUCTION

THE OPPORTUNITY
I think a person will only have a few opportunities in life that will change who they are as a person and how they view the world around them. Recognizing these chances and taking a risk seems to be the hardest part. Last summer an all-agency email was sent around for people interested in participating in the T.I.E. program. My experience with charities ended sometime around 3rd grade boy scouts, but the allure of traveling half-way around the world got my curiosity going. "Reply To All" ... "Delete" ... "Reply" ...

"Travel far enough, you meet yourself."
DAVID MITCHELL “CLOUD ATLAS”

TIE - LILONGWE, MALAWI

EXPECTATIONS
So I'm going to Malawi. Friends quickly started sending me 'essential' reading material, blog posts and links to the latest travel warnings from the US State Department (four of the top 5 countries being in Africa). I started acquainting myself with a part of the world I'd only seen on maps and in Disney movies. Malawi is located in Southeast Africa and is bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It has a population of almost 14 million people and is known as "The Warm Heart of Africa". It is also one of the least developed countries in the world and has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The economy is based mostly on agriculture and the majority of the population lives in rural areas.  How could I make an impact with an organization in an area of the world that I knew hardly anything about? The immediate reaction is to plan everything out. Account for every variable. In our business working harder than the next guy is how you get ahead and that usually means having everything figured out to the smallest detail. However, in this case that just wasn't possible. So a er a few weeks of sleepless nights it was time to start over and focus on the personal objectives that I wanted to accomplish from this experience.

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Embrace a new culture and way of life Push my creative language and voice outside its comfort zone Look at the relationship between people's happiness and sustainability Evaluate what was successful and how it can be used as a bench mark Engages W+K in more humanitarian efforts in developing economies

TIE - HESTIAN

WHO IS HESTIAN?
Hesitan is a organization that runs fuel-efficient projects in Southern Africa that help mitigate climate change. The goal of these technologies is to reduce indoor cooking smoke, a leading cause of acute respiratory infection, and the region’s dependency on unsustainable woodfuel consumption. They have developed three types of stoves ranging in sizes from household use to large scale agricultural applications.  In addition to their efforts to provide clean cookstoves to the people of Malawi, they also support the communities where the stoves are produced. They have setup production groups in the rural areas that provide all of the small cookstoves for distribution across the country. These production groups are typically run by women who learn technical skills to support their families by providing a second source of income. 

CHITETEZO MBAULA STOVE 1,000 KWACHA (~$3.00) UP TO 80% FUEL SAVINGS LOCAL PRODUCTION GROUPS

TIE - HESTIAN TECHNOLOGIES
CHITETEZO MBAULA Maeve promotes Chitetezo stoves in rural and urban areas of Malawi. These locally produced clay stoves improve heat retention and fuel savings. Material: Ceramic (Clay) Cost: MK 1000 (~USD 3.oo) Fuel: Wood and/or Agricultural Residue Fuel Savings: More Than 1 Tonne of Wood Per Year Added Benefit: Smoke Reduction

FIXED ESPERANZA STOVE Maeve installs an improved fixed cookstove, called the Esperanza, which is quick, clean and safe. Material: Bricks and Clay Liners Cost: MK 10,000 (~USD 30.oo) Fuel: Wood Fuel Savings: More Than 1.5 Tonne of Wood Per Year Added Benefit: Smoke & Accident Reduction

MAYANKHO STOVE The Mayankho stove can cook for hundreds of people at a time. It also offers very impressive wood savings for institutions such as schools with feeding programs. Material: Bricks and Metal Cost: Capacity Dependent (20 Liter - 200 Liter Sizes) Fuel: Wood Fuel Savings: 70% Wood Reduction Added Benefit: Smoke & Accident Reduction

TIE - HESTIAN

THE IMPACT
It became clear that this was an amazing opportunity to make a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives and inspire a conversation between the policy makers and the people that are directly affected by their decisions. The problem is deeper than reshaping the way people choose to cook their food - the forces involved in climate change are indeed massive and complicated. The awareness of why this is happening and what people can do is just the first step toward global change.

TIE - STRATEGY

THE PROBLEM
On paper Hestian's stoves are an amazing solution to the problems of deforestation and health risks associated with the traditional method of cooking over a three stone fire. The Chitetezo Mbaula and Rocket Barns reduce harmful cooking smoke and save about 80% in fuel consumption. It's obvious that everyone who uses a fire stove should have one in their home. The problem is that most people don't know these stoves exist and of their overwhelming benefits. To compound the problem energy and water outages are also huge issues in Malawi. The local government and power companies say that they cannot address local issues of utility shortages due to the fact that they are spending millions on algae prevention at their energy turbines in Lake Malawi. This pollution of water supply is caused by soil erosion into the lake. What is causing this erosion? The primary cause is the deforestation to supply the increasing demand for firewood as urban populations boom.

THE MAIN ISSUES

PUBLIC AWARENESS

DEFORESTATION

GOVERNMENT POLICY

TIE - STRATEGY

SPLITTING THE DECISION
A er spending some time talking about the problems that Hestian was facing and the best way to get their stoves into the homes of the people of Malawi, we were able to identify two areas where we would focus our attention.

1
They know that families at home are their primary target users for their stoves. Transforming these stoves into symbols of social status will drive demand on a user level and will generate interest in homes by word-of-mouth.

2
Large businesses and political officials also have a vested interest in reducing the pollution and solving the problem of utility shortages. This comes from the need to please constituents and existing budgets dedicated to environmental preservation.

In combining these areas of focus we sought to engage key players (e.g. hotel owners, large businesses, government officials) to back the initiative and place large orders of stoves, to create a tipping point where the stoves will be readily available for purchase by people who are interested in the stoves and recognize the Hestian brand. 

The everyday person drives the demand, while large investors and influencers dictate the supply in key locations.

TIE - CREATIVE

THE APPROACH
With a basic strategy in place we began an awareness campaign that would target both of the communities that would be influential in the success of the campaign. The two groups would become the focus for the next few weeks of work and the future for the Hestian brand. 

DEMAND - To address awareness and demand in the home, we needed to create brand recognition in the stoves. The current stove was fairly plain looking with no ties back to the Hestian brand or initatitve. Coincidentally, a new stove mold was set to go into production at the beginning of the new year. It became a clear that this was a great opportunity to introduce the "New Stove" and rebrand it with the Hestian logo, making it instantly recognizable within the market places.

SUPPLY - Engaging heads of political committees, large businesses and influencers required a different approach. These are the people who determine environmental policy and have large budgets to put toward orders of stoves. The culture in Malawi is a bit of follow-the-leader; if we could get people on the very top interested in the stoves, other people with power and influence would follow. Our goal was to create an informational vehicle that clearly illustrated how these stoves solve the problems that are important to their agendas. A social event was scheduled to get all these people in one place to spread the awareness and drive pre-sales of the new stoves.

These people want to do good. We just need to make it obvious and very easy for them to do so.

TIE - CREATIVE

THE STOVE WITH A NAME
Our first goal was to set apart the new stove from other stoves available in the market. Made from a new mold, these stoves were designed to last longer and be more efficient. Where to start? Hestia is the virgin goddess of the hearth, so we needed a name that fit in as being a little sister.  A er much debate we chose the goddess of Earth, Maeve. We created an entirely new brand and logo for the contemporary stove with a mark that would stand out and be easy to recreate with any technology or printing technique.  We then began working with local artisans to create a stamp that we could use to imprint our new logo on the side of the clay pots. A er testing various materials we decided a plastic/rubber stamp would be the best choice. It allowed for the flexibility of working with wet clay, but also the durability needed in the field of rural Africa.

MAE VE

TIE - MAEVE STAMP TESTING

TIE - CREATIVE

PROBLEM WITH A FACE
We knew that the only way to make this campaign a success was to get the support from government officials and local businesses that could create the demand for a supply of stoves that was already flush. Cabinet members have large budgets set aside for projects that fit within their department goals. Large businesses have a vested interest in the well-being and efficiency of their employees and are willing to spend money to streamline their own operations.  Education was the only hurdle that kept us from providing thousands of household with new Maeve stoves. Over the new few weeks we traveled all over Malawi to document every facet of the Hestian initiative.

WHAT WE DOCUMENTED

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Stove Production Facilities Household Users Government Officials Illegal Charcoal Production Large Economic Businesses

TIE - PHOTO DOCUMENTATION

TIE - PHOTO DOCUMENTATION

TIE - PHOTO DOCUMENTATION

TIE - CREATIVE

THE REVEAL
We would need an event for all of these people to meet and show them the stories we gathered in the field. Given the social aspect of African culture, a party was scheduled at the end of the four weeks. A local golf course was chosen as the place to reveal the new stoves and present our awareness video to influential people in the government and local business.  The video we created is broken into two parts; the first illustrates the massive problem that deforestation is causing and the second reveals the new Maeve stove and its outstanding benefits. Some of the footage in the video had never been seen before by the public. For example, we secured access to a group of illegal charcoal producers in one of the National Forest Preserves. Charcoal production is legal only by permit but at the time no permits have been issued. Yet, anywhere you drove, massive bags were for sale on the roadside.  The Principal Secretary of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change was our guest of honour and she delivered an emotional speech a er the slideshow concluded. She believed that with the help of the Minister and Malawi's President, our efforts could exceed expectations in the coming years. At the end of the party, 10,000 orders for the new stove had been placed.

X 10,000

TIE - SLIDE SHOW

(CLICK TO WATCH SLIDE SHOW)
PHOTOGRAPHY - TREVOR GILLEY MUSIC - PETER MAWANGA AUDIO REMIXING - JOHNNY FOX

TIE - AFTERWARD

THE EXPERIENCE
Returning from Africa was more difficult than I had imagined, a sort of reverse culture shock. I expected to jump back into my busy life on the same trajectory as when I had le . It's very easy to get sucked into the grind of NYC - you see people come and go and are always looking for the next best thing. The city that sparkles has a funny way of dazzling you into hypnosis. Hestian taught me a lot about sustainability, fuel-efficient technologies and working in developing economies. That a photograph is the best way to break down a language barrier and that people want to better their lives if only given the chance. Everything that would have been expected from reading the brochure. What I didn't expect was a new understanding of the hardships in the world and the confidence that in some small way we can all make a change.  The clarity I got from Africa is that we are all part of a global community and we rely on each other for the sustainability of our environment. There are communities all over the world that could use help from its fellow mankind. We are in an industry that has close relationships to some of the biggest brands in the world. We need to find a way to use these connections and resources to make a positive impact on the world around us. Helping to give exposure to the humanitarian work our clients are already doing is the first step. Beyond that we can find a way to create relationships on both sides of the field. We are a global network and we must begin forging relationships one email at a time.  My time living in Malawi with Hestian was nothing short of amazing. I worked with amazing people to spread awareness for something that will no doubt better the lives of people in Africa and help bring reform to environmental policies of a nation. A few months ago I had no idea what to expect and the challenge before me seemed impossibly overwhelming. Looking back, I am reassured of the human spirit and know that good people will always find a way to make the world a better place to live.

TIE - AFTERWARD

TREVOR GILLEY DESIGNER W+K | NEW YORK

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