Expanding on its successful activities in Northern Uganda, Co2balance has just listed a group of 12 new Gold Standard Projects in the Lango Sub-Region.
The ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ seeks to increase access to safe water supply for thousands of households within the six districts of Dokolo, Otuke, Alebtong, Kole, Lira and Oyam. Focusing on boreholes, the project will utilize a variety of zero-emission technologies like hand-pumps or solar-powered pumps to provide water in rural communities. With over 45% of the rural population in Uganda relying on unprotected and easily contaminated water sources like rivers, lakes or open wells, the project shall reduce the need for water purification and the combustion of firewood.
Unprotected water collection point in Alebtong District.
In the Lango region, many boreholes have fallen into disrepair because maintenance proved too expensive or programs have been poorly managed. Co2balance will use carbon finance to work with community groups to deliver a long-term rehabilitation and maintenance program. Stakeholders are currently invited to provide their feedback towards the project until the middle of October.
Broken Solar Power Borehole in Alebtong District
Damaged Water Tank
A short post to introduce myself and express how happy and thankful I am to have joined such a nice team. I started at Co2balance a bit more than two weeks ago and it has been a great learning experience so far. I am truly impressed at how much is accomplished by such a small team. It reflects how dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable people are here. I am looking forward to interacting with the rest of you over the next few months and contribute to some of the great work that is being carried out.
A bit more on my background, I recently graduated with a MSc in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University in Sweden, after having completed an undergraduate degree in business. The place I call home is France, Montpellier in the South to be more precise, but I kind of feel home wherever the “wind takes me” like we often say in French. I have a passion for learning languages and traveling, which has led me to move around quite a lot in the past six years, mostly in Asia. Other than that, I enjoy fitness/running and photography. Below is a picture of me at a camel festival in Pushkar, India around 4 years ago.
Approximately three billion people across the globe cook every day using open, three-stone fires or rudimentary traditional stoves. Cooking with these traditional cook stoves is inefficient and grossly polluting, harming health and the environment, and contributing to global warming. In many places worldwide, women must walk for hours to collect firewood, risking their safety and sacrificing energy and time that could be used to earn a living. While often overlooked as a major contributor to the global burden of disease, cooking over open fires indoors is the largest environmental health risk in developing countries i.e. Kenya.
In Kenya the case is not different, many households can relate with the simple and accessible mode of cooking. For decades, women have been using this cooking style not knowing the danger that they expose themselves to.
To curb these menace Carbon Zero has developed various improved cook stove models that suit the needs of different local communities with higher efficiencies that have been able to cut down on the amount of fuel used and reducing the time spent cooking allowing women some free time to engage in other income generating activities. Carbon Zero stoves have enabled women to cook with less than a half of the wood they used to use on wasteful three stone fires and in much less time. This saves lives because less wood means less smoke and thus less disease.
In the Western part of Kenya in Kisumu Carbon Zero has distributed over 10,000 improved cook stoves. Among the stove models distributed in the area was a brick rocket stove that locals have over time complimented for its good service. The rocket stove was the first cook stove to be built in Kisumu East region as part of the pilot project to be used in the rural settlement, where wood used for cooking had led to the immense deforestation of trees. The liner effect on the stove creates a highly efficient, largely smoke-free burn.
Mrs. Abigael Awour who is 65 years old lives in Rapogi village in Kisumu county were she has been married for the past 35 years and stays with her daughter and 2 grand children. She is a beneficiary of the rocket stove and we seek to get her opinion on the stove after using it for the last four or so years. With a smile she narrates that “Before receiving the brs cook stove, I had the traditional three stone open fire cook stove, which consumed a lot of fuel and I had to cut down most of the trees I planted so that I could sustain my family. I stay with my grand children who are very young which means I had to cook several meals a day and it was devastating because it was time consuming, very expensive, I also developed health complications, severe back pains and was on a lot of painkillers because I had to bend while cooking since the stove is practically on the ground and cannot be raised.”
She further adds that “After receiving the Rocket Stove I have seen a lot of changes especially in matters that deal with health because I no longer cough a lot due to the smoke reduction since I dry my wood completely and my back pain is no longer severe. The stove was done by professionals who considered all ages; I can now sit down and cook comfortably without straining, save money since I don’t need too much drugs for the back pain, now I have time to do farming and from the savings from firewood I buy maize seeds. Also the stoves retain heat so I only cook twice a day and leave the food warm on the stove for anyone to consume. Now it’s not necessary to cut down a tree to cook, all you need is a few small branches. Energy saving stoves are of great importance to our community, says Rhoda, one of the youth volunteers on the project. The stove saves a lot of energy and money because less firewood has to be collected or purchased. It also cooks faster so women have more time to engage in other income-generating activities and it is more hygienic than the traditional model. The stoves have greatly improved our living standards and for me the rocket stove form Carbon Zero is the best thing that ever happened to women in Rapogi.”
Compiled by Christine Atira and Moses Maina
“My name is Omara George aged 49 and I live in Dokolo District. I am a user of the Aminoleke borehole that was rehabilitated by co2balance in 2013. Before the borehole was fixed, my family used to walk long distances in search of water and would collect it from the swamps because the only alternative source was too far away. Having a large family meant we had to collect water twice a day to meet our needs. I was also afraid that my wife and daughters could be attacked or raped while they were collecting water especially during the evening hours since we still had rebel activities in our village. The water we drank was always dirty and I worried my children would become sick with typhoid or other water borne diseases that are common in this area. Our lives have improved so much since the borehole was repaired; the water yield is always good and clean, and most of all I am happy because my family are safe and have more time for going to school and the farm. We are very happy with the project and grateful for all the help you have provided us.”
“My name is Ogwang Paul, I am 11 years old and I fetch water from Atek B borehole. I am happy that we now have a borehole close to our house that provides clean water. We no longer have to go to the lake to fetch water like before. I used to wake up at 5am and go with my siblings to fetch water before going to school. This greatly affected my studies because we were always late for school and missed the first lessons. This greatly affected our performance in school. Now that we have a working borehole close to us, we can fetch water and get to school on time. I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”
Purency Altero Okori aged 60 is a resident of Akwangi village and a user of Akwangi borehole which was rehabilitated and is being maintained by co2balance.
“I live a few meters away from the borehole and this has made my daily life easy. I am able to do my housework on time and still go to the market and attend to my stall where I sell vegetables to earn some extra income for my family. I no longer have to boil the water we drink as the water collected from the borehole is clean and safe since water treatment is done frequently. That means I no longer collect so much firewood for use at home.”
“My name is Adongo Fiona, I am 13 years old and I study in Telela Primary school. I am in level 3 and my best subject is science. I want to be a nurse when I finish school. I am happy for this borehole because I no longer have to travel long distances to collect water for our household. We no longer suffer from diseases like diarrhea and typhoid because the water is clean.
Thank you for this water.”
The effective operation of boreholes is very much dependent on the communities that own the boreholes as they are seen as the very first custodians of these facilities. Co2balance contracts a project partner/officer to be an engagement representative within the community. Each month our project representative is required to conduct basic checks on each borehole to see if they are in good condition. They also continue to engage with the community to ensure that they are observing good hygiene practices and using the pumps in a sustainable manner.
Usually water fetched from a properly clean and maintained borehole is safe for human consumption without the need for boiling but if this water fails the safe water chain test, then it can cause lots of illnesses to people. If people fail to use clean containers for their drinking water, they face the threat of getting water borne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid among others.
During the monthly routine visits, apart from checking on the mechanical conditions of the boreholes, our project partners/officers also check that the borehole surroundings are kept clean, no human activities are going on at/around the borehole, no animals are accessing the source, use of clean water collection containers by the community among others. This is to ensure that the community maintains a high level of sanitation and hygiene and that the water collected from the borehole is safe up to the very last drop used in the household.
Here are some photos from this month’s routine visits.
Maintaining clean, safe water remains one of our greatest national and global challenges and responsibilities……… Jerry Costello
In Eritrea Co2balance and Vita are expanding in developing borehole rehabilitation offset projects. Adding to existing activities in the Maekel and Anseba District, 6 projects in the Southern District of Debub have just been listed with the Gold Standard. The projects will deliver access to clean drinking water for several dozen villages over a minimum of 7 years.
The local stakeholder meeting was held in Mendefera in May, bringing together 70 representatives of local and regional administration, water departments, WASH Committees and community members.
Responses to the project were overwhelmingly positive, exhibiting a strong desire to get started as soon as possible. The communities engaged in the consultation showed a strong desire for the rehabilitation of their boreholes and a real interest in contributing to ensure long-term maintenance.
“Water is Life”, is a common saying among the stakeholders. Currently, however, access to this valuable resource is limited by inadequate water quality, requiring people to live with the negative health consequences or to boil their water. Using wood fuel is common practice, but deforestation and soil erosion have become significant problems in many areas.
Vita and co2balance will be identifying and start repairing boreholes this month in order to ensure access to clean water as soon as possible and to reduce the need for wood fuel use within the largely rural district.
With new technology comes better ways of life. Human beings and energy are inseparable. How to sustainably utilize the various energy sources is still a 21st century challenge yet to be properly countered.
Among many rural households wood is the common energy source. It is utilized significantly for rural domestic cooking. In Kasighau division in Voi district this is not an exception. From the ancestors to the current occupants wood fuel as been greatly utilized for domestic cooking. Over the years there as been a rise of population in the division. This as been caused due to immigration in the area in for people to exploit the different precious stones found within the locality. The rise in population can also be attributed to natural increase in birth rate among the local residents. As a result of increase in population there as been over exploitation of wood fuel. All the house holds initially utilised the three stone traditional jiko. This stove is wood wasteful. During cooking a lot of wood was normally consumed with the stove. A lot of fire flames were normally lost since the jiko could not concentrate the flames to the cooking pot. This led to women spending a lot of time in cooking and collecting wood. Many are times when the children slept hungry because they could not wait for long hours while the dinner was being prepared. They could be out won by sleep during the cooking process with the three stone traditional jiko.
Their being a savior in every calamity the donation of fuel efficient Carbon Zero stove (shown in the above picture) to the locals was really timely. The stoves were like an antidote that neutralized the wood crisis which had started to set pace in the area. Now there is all smiles in the face of the women in the locality. With the Carbon Zero stove the women now utilize less time for cooking since the carbon Zero stove concentrates the fire flames to the cooking pot and retains heat within it for a long period. The amount of wood also utilized by the stove is far less compared with the traditional three stove jiko. Since they require little wood cooking with the modern Carbon Zero stove the women in the locality utilize significantly less time for collecting it.
Not only is the stove user friendly but it is also environmental friendly. Over the years that the stove as been in utilization the locals have realized an increase in tree cover in the area. Apart from community sensitization on the need for adopting afforestation programmes in the locality this can also be highly attributed to adoption of fuel efficient Carbon Zero stove for all day to day cooking. The area categorized as an ASAL area is now being endowed with a vast trees cover. Thanks to the conservation King, Carbon Zero stove.
Rains which were not common in the past now are occasionally experienced in Kasighau. This has greatly been influenced by an increase in tree cover in the locality making the environment a bit green something that was not there five years ago.
Compiled by Kenneth Mukuru, Moses Nyaga and Moses Maina