Expansion of the ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ – Assessment of New Boreholes

With the need for increased access to safe water in Northern Uganda, co2balance has just completed the assessment of 50 non-functional boreholes under their ‘Lango Safe Water Project’. Over 45% of Uganda’s rural population are still relying on unsafe water sources such as lakes, rivers, ponds, open wells, swamps and it’s against this background that co2balance decided to extend the project to unreached areas that are still using these unsafe sources.

These broken down boreholes were carefully selected with the help of the District Water Officers of Kole, Alebtong, Dokolo and Otuke, our Project Officer, community hand pump mechanics and the community. A criteria for eligibility was carefully followed to ensure that the selected boreholes are suitable for expansion of the project. This new development will expand on the already existing 41 boreholes under the maintenance program of co2balance in the Lango region.

Co2balance will embark on repairing these boreholes and they will add onto the already existing boreholes under its repair and maintenance programme for a period of 7 years.

Offsetting Companies = Greener Companies?

A new survey is out at the moment, run by the UNFCCC and the International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance (or ICROA for short), to look into the drivers behind corporates voluntarily offsetting their carbon footprint.  Imperial College London are running the survey and I’d recommend that you have your say.

For me it is quite clear – it’s about taking responsibly for your own carbon footprint.  If we all did that then climate change would be a lot easier to deal with.  While many companies that do offset do have this as their central reason, many use offsetting as a business driver, with green marketing and staff engagement all sound reasons.  As far as the planet is concerned, as long as action is taken, emissions reduced and resources use prudently then other drivers are secondary.

The favourite bit of mud to throw at carbon offsetting is that it gives companies licence to carry on polluting, pretty damming statement hey? Er, no.  The irony is that this is exactly the opposite.  The report by Ecosystems Marketplace “The Bottom Line: Taking Stock of the Role of Offsets in Corporate Carbon Strategies” showed that companies that take action and offset their emissions are more likely to take action on reducing emissions and energy usage compared on non offsetters.

  • offset buyers slashed their direct emissions by almost 17%, while non-buyers only reduced emissions by less than 5%.
  • offset buyers were more engaged in direct emission reduction activities compared to non-offset buyers.

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It would be too simplistic to say all offsetting companies are green companies; but from the look of it, they are a lot greener than those that do not….

Cooking with a Difference

Our initial baseline findings before starting off the improved cook stove project in Kisumu East indicated that people are more than willing to shift from using traditional cook stoves to using improved cook stoves only if they perceive a genuine utility value in adopting the improved cook stove. The success of improved cook stoves depends much on its design. The design ought to be well adapted to people’s needs keeping in mind the general design principles of efficiency, emission reduction and ergonomics characteristics that the carbon zero stove exhibit.

The recently concluded Monitoring Kitchen Survey conducted in Kisumu East in August 2016 led us to a household where Masela Odero, a 73 year old widow who lives with her daughter in law in Simboi village that is about 12kms from Kisumu town recounted her story.

Masela noted that “…..The three stone stove wasn’t working for me, because the stones were not stable enough to hold a cooking pot firmly. I kept struggling to adjust the stove size according to the cooking pot size and also regulating the amount of fuel was chaotic .As a result I had to bend in order to cook therefore by the time the meal was ready I was too tired to eat hence I had to look for a quick alternative source of stove .I had to pay a neighbor who was demanding 500/- ksh to build me a none portable stove, little did I know that it was the beginning of my problems.”

She continued to narrate that “First the stove consumed a lot of wood fuel since not all the heat was channeled to the cooking pot also the stove had no liner a whole log would fit in it. The smoke emitted was a major concern because there was blackening of the wall from soot and coughing was inevitable. Cooking wasn’t pleasant because the too much heat would make me stay far away from the stove, to avoid this I told my daughter in law to cook all the time, of course it made her dodge by pretending to go to the river in order to avoid cooking. In addition to all this I had to pay for repairs and maintenance of stove, the clay used was poor quality. Cooking was a chore I enjoyed but now I was made to think twice”.

Further she stated that “Just as I was about to give up on cooking carbon zero distributed improved stoves at no fee and I was a lucky beneficiary. It is fixed thus it eliminates the possibility of it toppling over when the food is being cooked or when children are around. Less firewood is used, which means that the wood burns more efficiently in the improved stove as compared to traditional cook stove. The liner minimizes the smoke emitted outside this reduces Blackening of the walls from the soot. This contributes to a great extent to the comfort of cooking making it enjoyable therefore no more dodging for Selina. For the health benefits my back does not hurt because I sit next to the stove where the heat is easily regulated. The best part about of the stove is that we have contact information of the field officers in case of issues like damages the stove is repaired free of charge hence making it affordable and sustainable for me”.

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The above photo shows a different household a woman cooking using traditional stove.

Look at the wall full of soot and the whole log that had to be used. The cracks on the edge clearly show the stove is not stable. The smoke emitted is also very wanting.

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The above photo shows Mrs. Odero cooking on a carbon Zero Improved cook stove.

With a smile she says that ….‘‘No trace of smoke is evident, costs on wood is friendly due to low fuel consumption. Sitting next to the stove is easy since it is fixed .the wall is clean and I love cooking all over again. My sincere thanks to Carbon Zero for the great job they do in the rural communities in Kenya and beyond.”

By Christine Nabutete and Moses Maina

Repairing for better service….

Before the last  four years moving most if not all households in Shimba Hills (Maungu, Kasighau, Golini and Muhaka) in Taita Taveta and Kwale  Counties were using traditional three-stone fireplace for cooking. During that period women used to spend an average of 15 hours per week collecting fuel wood from local forests in the larger Shimba Hills area for home use. Poverty rate around Shimba Hills is above 50 percent and unemployment above 25 percent. This called for a simple and affordable efficient stove technology to reduce wood consumption and preserve unique vegetation and biodiversity within the region.  And that’s how Carbon Zero came into the area and with the support of local leaders in consultation with local community members implemented an energy efficient cook stove project.  The project therefore identified the efficient CZK cook stove as an appropriate technology for this region.

The CZK stove is 50 – 60 percent more efficient than the three-stone stove. The project has been lauded by local community members as a life changer and a great step in the right direction. Some of the impacts and benefits of the projects so far include;

  • A majority of households in Shimba Hills area have benefitted from better air and from having to spend less time for collecting firewood
  • Over 8,000 efficient cook stoves were installed in the area
  • Most women have been able to create time to engage in other economic activities raising their income and living standard of their families
  • A large percentage of beneficiaries say that indoor air quality has improved
  • Each stove avoids about 3,2 t CO2 and 2 tons wood per year
  • The project has so far saved massive tonnes of firewood

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After four years since the stoves were distributed and optimally being used some started developing cracks and this led to the need to plan and repair and maintain them. The local community members having enjoyed the benefits of the stoves through Carbon Zero field staff send their requests which were positively received and a decision to repair all the damaged stoves made.

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One of the stove beneficiaries was quoted saying “…I have been so happy for the last four years I have had my improved CZK stove. And now that it’s cracked I request for it to be fixed as my life seems to be hitting a wall.  I can’t imagine using a three stone stove a gain.  Before I got the CZK stove I had to go to the forest every day, which is a 15-20km walk with all the heavy wood on my head. Now I only have to go to the forest twice a week. Who wouldn’t want that? That’s the life every woman would want to live.’’

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Early this month we took time and assessed all stoves in the region- over 8000 stoves and identified about 300 stoves that needed quick action, of which we repaired and ensured that the owners are able to continue enjoying their services.

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This has not only left the stove beneficiaries happy but as ensured that the stoves will continuously be utilized fully for the domestic cooking roles. The benefits associated with the stove usage will continuously be enjoyed by the stove owners. New members in the community are thirsty for the day they will also own the Carbon Zero stove.

A word from the Old……

In the vast county of Taita-Taveta, a small village of Kajire in Sagalla location thrives. And here we meet up with women from Kajire women group who have gathered for their monthly merry go round. With smiles and excitement on their faces they welcome us to their sitting. We introduce ourselves and we begin our small discussion on their experience using the Carbon Zero improved cook stove and its bigger impact in fighting climate change. Caroline Kwida who is one of the oldest members stands out, at her age of 76, she still has a lot to offer to the mother nature. With her advice and suggestion she captures the minds of her fellow members as she tells them about the Carbon Zero stove and how it has improved her lifestyle.

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You see, Caroline lives with her 85 year old husband and her cooking area is inside her two roomed house. As she explains how smoke used to affect her and her aged husband giving them all sorts of respiratory infections and itchiness that would not stop in their half blind eyes, she could not be more grateful  for the benefits of the carbon zero stove. She used to spend a lot of time fetching firewood now she says it takes her less than thirty minutes to gather firewood for her daily meals.  Before getting the improved stove she used to spare not less than three hours daily just searching for fuel wood.  The women are clearly amazed at this wonder stove and we request Caroline if she could be kind enough to invite us to her kitchen home which she quickly obliges. Not more than five hundred meters from the meeting place we arrive at her well kept homestead. She welcomes us in and starts to prepare us some tea so that we can also experience how fast the CZK stove cooks.

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We ask what she does with the extra time now that she spends time looking for firewood and he gladly  shows us her flock of ducks, she now has enough time to spend with her husband taking care of him in his old age and also take care of her flock of ducks which is her main source of income. Our tea is done in no time and the group members are very impressed. As we finish we cannot help but to wonder how this aged couple would have survived without the highly efficient CZK stove. Caroline and her fellow members are forever grateful for the introduction by Co2 balance of a life saving project. With a smile on our faces and confidence high up we take our leave to the next household.

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Household Surveys in the District of Kaliro, Uganda

Surveys are conducted to uncover answers to specific, important questions that are varied, cover a diverse range of topics, and can be asked in multiple formats. Surveys also help to know the impact of a project and serves the purpose of informing decision makers what impact the project has had on the target community. Accordingly, along with other strategies such as use of control groups, it also helps in attributing change in the target population to the project.

As a requirement of the Gold Standard, co2balance conducts monitoring exercises from time to time for purposes of improving the project and keeping it in line with its objectives. These surveys are done annually in randomly selected households and all the work is done with respect and consideration for the local community at all times.

All monitoring studies are recorded on a hard copy which the monitoring team transfers into digital format for analysis documentation and reporting.

Co2balance with its NGO partner WAACHA recently carried out this year’s surveys in the Eastern district of Kaliro and through that were able to generate lots of positive feedback from the community. 3 years down the road, they have continued to use the water and are happy with its quality and yield. Frequent chlorination and water quality testing has also guaranteed them of safe clean water.

Different surveys ranging from project surveys, sustainable development and water usage surveys are carried out.

Here are some pictures from the surveys.

 

 

 

Go Ahead for the ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ in Northern Uganda

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.

 

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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.