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.


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.


We will keep you posted…!



Project Visit

Last month, I returned from a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya where I was able to see projects that are in their infancy but also some of our well-established projects. It was great to see people’s enthusiasm for the projects with the expectation that the projects would make a measurable difference in their lives but also be able to talk to people that have experienced a change and who express their appreciation.

In Ethiopia I attended stakeholder meetings for 5 new projects that are being established together with one of our project partners. It was fantastic to see how professional and thorough the team were in organising the meetings but also how engaged the local communities and also local government were in the work that is planned for the area.

In Kenya, I visited our projects in Meru and close to the coast around Shimba Hills. The contrast in the landscapes and experience from the two different parts of the country was striking, from the fertile soils around Mount Kenya to the vast plains around Kasigau, near Shimba Hills, both were incredible! As always I was impressed by the relationship that our field staff have built with the communities since the project was established and their knowledge of the local area.

I want to say a big thank you, ameseginalehu and asante to both teams for the trip; it is one I will remember!

International Day of the Girl Child

As the world over commemorated this year’s International Day of the Girl Child on the 11th  of October 2016, with the theme “girls’ progress = goals’ progress: what counts for girls”, 16 year old Scovia Adong, a pupil of Telela Primary School was oblivious about the meaning of this day or that it even existed. For her, it was business as usual. She went on with her daily home chores and left for school –  arriving late like she usually does.

Scovia lives with her 73 year old grandmother in a small grass thatched house and helps her with all the house chores and errands. Top on her list is collecting water for their house use which she does first thing before leaving for school. During her lunch break, she returns home to prepare a quick meal for her grandmother and also help her with cleaning the compound.

I wake up at 6am and set out to the open spring that is 3km away from my grandmother’s home. I have to move to that open source because the borehole (Telela) close to our home broke down. When it broke down, my mother requested me to move in with my grandmother so as to help her collect water. After collecting the water, I have to boil it so that it can be safe for drinking – after which, I help her with other tasks before leaving for school at 8am. Since my school is 1.5km away, I am always late for school and this affects my studies.


Telela borehole is one of the safe water sources being rehabilitated by co2balance under its expansion of the Lango Safe Water Project. This borehole rehabilitation comes as a gift on this special day of the Girl child for Adong Scovia whose home is just 30 meters from the borehole.The rehabilitation saw the borehole get a complete facelift from the old metallic pipes that were susceptible to rust to new plastic pipes that will ensure clean safe water.

The news of this borehole rehabilitation brought so much joy to her and her grandmother. She and her peers will no longer move long unsafe distances to access water from unsafe sources but rather have potable water close to them and minimize on the need to boil their water hence saving on the burning of woodfuel. The time saved will also help them concentrate on their studies and be able to achieve their set goals.


Scovia Adong says thank you!

As my Primary Leaving Examinations draw close, I will now have enough time to concentrate on my studies and have good grades to enable me join a good secondary school. I want to be a fashion designer or tailor when I complete school. Thank you co2balance.


Training and Maintenance in Rwanda

As part of the continuous input mechanism, at Co2balance we closely monitor and regularly discuss the feedback of our stakeholders in the countries we operate. Following such discussions with our field team in Rwanda, we have come to the conclusion that currently there is an additional need for training on stove operations and replacement of certain parts of our stoves to ensure that they keep operating at the highest efficiency. Since the first stoves were introduced almost two years ago, stove maintenance and the training programme were encouraged by the Rwandan CDM DNA from REMA (Rwanda Environment Management Authority) as well. Co2balance has been working closely with the authorities to make sure that there is a high-level support of our cookstove projects in Bugasera District. We are proud that the necessary maintenance work was carried out by local manufacturers in the very same district where our stoves are placed and that the feedback about the training programmes have been very positive as well.


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.


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”.


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.


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