Meet the women changing the clean cooking landscape in Kenya

By Davina Ngei and Ruchi Soni

Violet Mokaya: Senior Inventory Assistant & Supervisor at BURN

The name Violet pops up several times during our tour of BURN Manufacturing. My interest is definitely peaked. Who is this lady that is constantly mentioned by her colleagues? What is her story? When we finally meet her, her story is worth the wait.

Violet learnt about BURN through a friend in 2013. Her journey at the manufacturing company began as a line worker, but through hard work and determination, she rose quickly through the ranks – starting off as a line leader, up to an inventory assistant, then an inventory supervisor, and currently a senior inventory assistant and supervisor.

In her current role, Violet receives and supervises materials for cookstove production, while also working with the dispatch department. Most impressively, she is the first and only woman to operate a forklift at BURN; in fact, she’s been awarded for this. While other women employees have been afraid to take on this task, Violet has jumped on the opportunity to learn and master a new skill. “I have taught more men how to operate this machine,” she says proudly.

Violet Mokaya, Senior Inventory Assistant at BURN. Photo Credit: Davina Ngei


With this kind of initiative, it is no surprise to hear that Violet was selected to be one of four employees taking part in BURN’s year-long Leadership Program. She now has the opportunity to train as a leader across departments, sharing her knowledge of how each department works to produce quality products. This enables her to strengthen her role as an anchor between the line leader and factory management, streamlining operations for better production efficiency.

And what does she love about her time at BURN? “I have been empowered with the ability to make my voice heard when something is wrong, and I can make my requests known. I also have authority to solve challenges within my team, which allows me to grow as a leader,” says Violet.

It seems hard to believe when she says she was initially a quiet person. “My self-esteem and communications skills have improved dramatically, with the support from my colleagues and management” she tells us.

Violet is an inspiration for everyone at BURN and for the manufacturing sector as a whole.

Twice recognized as employee of their year, and six times as employee of the month, there’s no limit to what Violet can achieve. “I take great pride in my work, and my favorite part of the day is admiring all the cookstoves I have stacked high up to the ceiling,” she says.


Elizabeth Karinga: Quality Analyst at BURN

Precision and attention to detail – two key attributes that ensure quality and customer satisfaction. This is also Elizabeth’s (or Liz as she prefers it) forte. Her vast knowledge on the production process is evident as she points out the manufacturing processes during our tour of the state-of-the-art BURN Manufacturing facility.

From the sheet cutters to the final welders, Liz is both proficient and confident about how BURN manages to manufacture a cookstove every minute. So how did she get here?

Liz who studied physics in university, heard of BURN through a friend. She was hired as a quality intern, and steadily moved up the ranks to assistant, and now analyst; a job she both loves and excels at.

Her responsibilities include overseeing incoming materials and the final product, as well as addressing issues with quality, organizing inspectors, and dealing with warranty cases. “It’s very challenging; balancing the aesthetics of a cookstove with its functionality is not an easy job” she says.

Elizabeth Karinga, Quality Analyst at BURN. Photo Credit: Davina Ngei


In the 2 years she has been working at BURN, Liz has experienced exemplary career growth and on the job learning, all in a thriving working environment. She is part of an efficient quality department team with colleagues who are easy to approach and work with. She provides guidance which is followed, and takes the initiative to discuss and solve any problems she encounters within her team. It’s no surprise her family is proud of her.

During her free time, Liz loves to travel and read motivational books. The last book she read was the Secret by Rhonda Byrne, a book about positivity and the belief that thoughts have the ability to change the world around you. Her bubbly personality a testimony, you can tell that she lives by that mantra. Liz’s future plans include completing her masters in the next two years, with the hope of working in an energy firm. The sky is definitely the limit for her!

Back to News