Alex Opio’s story

45 year old Alex Opio, a father of 10 children is a resident of Tetugo Village in Otuke district and a user of the newly rehabilitated Barabolo borehole that was sighted by co2balance in its expansion of the ‘Lang0 Safe Water Project’ as one of the many broken down boreholes serving a big population with no other clean alternative point water sources.

Alex lost his left limb to a landmine explosion at the peak of the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda in 2004. Gazzeted in an internally displaced camp, he was deployed at the Local Defence Unit that was tasked to protect families living in the camps. They were required to escort the women and children who went out into the fields to farm and also look for water and firewood.

To solve the water scarcity issue, Barabolo borehole was drilled near their local church but due to lack of proper management, it broke down. The borehole serves over 300 people but had been broken for over a year which pushed them to use an open well that was meant for animals. The nearby health center recorded so many cases of water borne diseases especially among the children.

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Barabolo borehole before repair

Alex’s family that lives half a kilometer from this water source had to trek for over 2kms to an open well which had unsafe water and also had some security concerns due to the presence of the rebels and sparse settlement patterns of the communities.

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Alex and Engineer Tom – repair works going on in the background

Alex says that with the repair of this borehole and its proximity to his house, he is guaranteed of good health through clean water and safety for his family. His two wives and the other women that use the borehole have been able to open up a savings group through which they will borrow and lend money to provide funding for other income generating activities like small trading/businesses. The nearby borehole has made it possible for them to save time hence the ability to carry out other activities like trading and farming to improve on their income and food basket.

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Fully rehabilitated Barabolo borehole

Pumping Strong: Recurring Issuance of 5 Gold Standard Borehole projects in Northern Uganda

As a project developer, CO2balance pioneered the development of Borehole rehabilitation projects under the Gold Standard. We have been working in Northern Uganda  since 2013, repairing 41 boreholes and providing access to safe drinking water to more than 25,000 people. These project have now been issued for the 2nd and 3rd time. This is a great achievement for our field staff and our partners in Uganda as well as everyone else involved in developing and maintaining these projects.

Co2balance conducts regular assessments and works closely with local communities in order to ensure that sanitation and hygiene conditions are suitable to ensure safe water supply. Regular repairs and maintenance works are conducted by our partners to deliver continuity and reliability of water provision. Three years after the projects inception, we are proud to say: our boreholes are continuing to pump strongly.

 

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Borehole Maintenance in Dokolo

 

The investment co2balance provided in the development of water infrastructure in the Alebtong, Dokolo, Otuke and Kole has been particularly important because these districts suffered heavily under the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from 1997 to 2007. The civil war left many basic services non-functioning and in need of long-term investment.

We are looking forward to continuing the successful work that is being done. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about our borehole projects.

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Tightening a pump handle

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Greasing a pump chain

 

 

Introducing myself

Let me introduce myself, I’m Tom and I have just joined the co2balance team as Carbon Projects Officer. I am passionate about international development and environmental issues and I’m delighted to have joined a company doing such outstanding work to combat climate change and improve livelihoods in rural communities throughout Africa and beyond.

I have an MSc in International Development from Bristol University and have spent the last 2 years working in sub-Saharan Africa, firstly with Temwa in Malawi and then with Planting Promise in Sierra Leone. I worked on delivering a range of community-based projects in areas including agriculture-forestry, education and small business development. These experiences helped me to understand the challenges faced by rural communities throughout Africa, but also the potential of small projects to support adaptations that benefit livelihoods.

It’s really exciting to be working for co2balance and to be working on projects having a positive impact for communities whilst delivering measurable emission reductions. The fact that so much is achieved by a small team shows the dedication and expertise of co2balance’s staff. I’m looking forward to learning from the team and contributing to advancing the company’s work in the coming months and years.

Outside of work, I’m a massive football fan and enjoy cooking, cycling and travel. I hope to be writing on the blog again soon with updates about co2balance’s projects, watch this space! Below is a picture of me on the Chombe plateau above Lake Malawi back in 2014.

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Good news for the climate this week

A few days away from the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22), I thought I would share some good news. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – Low Carbon Economy Index – found that the global carbon intensity (emissions per unit of GDP) fell by 2.8%, which can partly be attributed to a decrease in China’s coal consumption equivalent to a 6.4% fall in carbon intensity.

Although this 2.8% decrease is below what is required to stay within the two-degree global warming limit, the good news is that it happened during a year where economic growth was “healthy”. This further illustrates the shift towards decoupling economic growth and global carbon emissions.

This news comes just a few days before the entry into force of the Paris agreement on Friday 4th of November. The achievement of the threshold of 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of total global greenhouse gas emissions in October, a key milestone, should hopefully pave the way for successful negotiations at COP 22 and ambitious climate action in the years ahead!

Empower a Woman; Empower the World!

While most governments in Africa acknowledge that empowering women and girls is a key contributor to economic development little as been done to achieve this noble goal. In Kenya women are the backbone of the rural economy. Nevertheless they receive only a fraction of the resources geared at ending poverty i.e. land, credit, inputs (such as improved seeds and fertilizers), agricultural training and information compared to men.
Empowering and investing in rural women has been shown to significantly increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition and improve rural livelihoods not only for women, but for everyone.

With this understanding Carbon Zero Kenya got into Kenya with a different approach on its aim to fight climate change and empower rural communities. It invested in working with rural women as agents of change and this has so far proved fruitful. Since the inception of Carbon Zero Kenya energy efficient cook stove projects in Nyanza most rural women with the neighborhood of Kisumu have been privileged to be beneficiaries of the improved cook stoves.

And it’s in this region that we meet Mama Akinyi who lives in Nyahera village which is located approximately 20kms west of Kisumu town.  Mama Akinyi says that…“The traditional cook stove “kite adek” has been in my family for a long time .I used to buy firewood every week which cost me about 300/= Kshs, which was very expensive considering the fact that I did not have a constant source of income. Per month this totaled to 1200/= kshs,sometimes I was forced to purchase the firewood on credit basis from the wood vendor, this  made me run away when I heard him looking for me. During rainy seasons the wood price escalated, wood was not readily available and sometimes if available was not dry.

One day at the market I met this lady from Umeme women group who introduced me to a jiko ya kisasa, artisanal cook stove”.

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Having read my past blogs you will remember that Carbon Zero Kenya in 2014 trained a group of 15 women form the community (Umeme women group) on how to produce and assemble an efficient CZK artisanal cook stove.

Mama Akinyi continues to say; ……The group used to do a demonstration on how to light and use the stove and this really motivated me to purchase it through an installment basis which was convenient for me .One of the key aspects of the stove was the ability to cut the firewood consumption by approximately 50% leading to the reduction on the amount that I was spending per month to purchase the firewood. The use of the artisanal stove has allowed me to purchase firewood in bulk thus enabling me to prepare the wood in terms of making sure they are well dried and readily available. Also my relationship with wood vendor has improved drastically because am able to buy in bulk and pay on time. Having cut wood consumption by 50% it made it easy to save and start an income generating activity.

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With the funds I managed to save, I started a small kitchen garden where I planted kales and other vegetables .This provides food for my family and is also a source of livelihood. The money from this venture has made me join a “Chamaa” which has enabled me to buy a mobile phone making communication easier. Through this chamaa we do table banking with the money I get form my vegetables farm I intend to save money for a year and borrow a loan to take my son to the University. All this could not be possible were it not for the improved cook stove which was designed by carbon zero and produced by Umeme women group’’.

The story from mama Akinyi verily confirms the fact that Women are essential to ending poverty around the world. Strengthening women’s roles as leaders, entrepreneurs, consumers and economic stakeholders will transform the African continent and the world in totality.

Prepared by; Christine Atira and Moses Maina

Stroke of Luck for Rural Women in Kenya

Worldwide demand for energy to meet social and economic development and improve human welfare and health has been on the increase over the years. This has attracted many versions of energy efficient technologies springing up with an overall objective to save planet Earth.

Carbon Zero Kenya Ltd has remained a key player in the fight against climate change by developing projects that aim at mitigating the effects of the current global crisis. Over the last six years Carbon Zero has persistently worked with local communities in Kenya in promoting use of clean energy thus reducing demand for wood hence bringing down the overall speed of deforestation.

In the South of Mt Kenya is Mathira East project where the company has continued to advocate  and champion the adoption of energy efficient cook stoves, not only with the aim to mitigate green house gases emission but also improving the lives of the community  both economically and socially.

Among the notable aspects of the Carbon Zero energy efficient stove that attracts massive beneficiaries appreciation is in its great ability to save fuel. Wood fuel is a scarce commodity in this region. In addition, fuel costs have risen as more and more forests are cleared, therefore Carbon Zero stoves come in handy in the search of solutions for fuel shortages.

In one of the many success stories in the area, we meet Mrs. Grace Kangacu in her home. She is an aged grandmother from Mathaithi village. She shared her journey before and after receiving Carbon Zero energy efficient cook stove.

Pointing at three children playing outside her house, Mrs.Grace Kangacu explains how she felt deserted when her other grandchildren were growing up. Being a widow, she felt very lonely .She further recounts that before receiving the CZ stove she used to spend the nights alone because her sons’ wives could not allow the children to her kitchen as they feared a likelihood of fire accidents. ’They said that I am aged therefore not swift enough to handle the playful young ones’’ which she agrees it is true. ‘’All this changed when I started using my new (CZ) stove. Now my evenings are full of laughter from my grandchildren since their mothers are comfortable to let them visit. My new stove is safe as the fire is well enclosed inside the stove to prevent accidents and conserving a lot of energy too,’ ’ She confidently wraps up her testimony.

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Seeing that wood collected from Mrs. Grace’s farm lasts longer while using a CZ stove, the need to make back up wood purchases has  also become a thing of the past.

Carbon Zero Kenya is proud of making a change and brightening Graces’ sunset years.

Compiled by; Purity Maina, Virginia Njeri and Moses Maina

Feasibility Assessment in Zambia

Many community members are very satisfied with the provision of clean and safe drinking water from our projects.  Following the repair of rural boreholes, we receive comments like this one: “We have no more stomach problems or frequent cases of typhoid” says one man months after the rehabilitation of his village borehole.

co2balance and Vita are currently  enabling clean water development in East African countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia. Wanting to expand the impact of their successful water projects, Vita and co2balance are now looking at starting further activities in Zambia.

To get a first  impression of the situation on the ground, co2balance Director Mark Simpson and Vita’s Head of Programmes John Gilliland recently visited the Southern African country.

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Meeting with potential partners as well as viewing broken and repaired boreholes, co2balance and Vita are building contacts and assessing the potential for new projects – capable of improving rural livelihoods and reducing carbon emissions.

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We will keep you posted…!