World Water Day – What our project impacts on safe drinking water?

“Water is life”. This is commonly what we hear when working together with communities across the globe, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, in recognition that water is the essential building block for the living world. More than that, it is key to every aspect of human development, from the economy to a child’s education.

Today is World Water Day, where we focus on the importance of water as a resource and consider the progress that is needed to provide clean, safe water to everyone. Today, a quarter of the population of the world will drink from a water source that is contaminated, putting them at risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

The UN have developed their 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals with the aim to provide access to safe water to all. At CO2balance, we continue to work towards these goals by rehabilitating village hand pumps and providing education on sanitation and health in rural communities. Below is a summary of some of the key impacts of our projects:

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Gold Standard visiting our cookstoves projects in Rwanda

In my last blog, I mentioned that our Rwanda cookstove and borehole projects had been selected by the Gold Standard to be part of a new video showcasing the multiple sustainable development benefits of Gold Standard certified projects.  It is with great pleasure that we share with you a few photos from Gold Standard’s visit to our improved cookstoves project in February.

We had the pleasure to meet with two families in Ngeruka sector, who kindly received us and shared their experience with our improved cookstove. Both families explained how the stove helped them save money by reducing their need for woodfuel and how the significant smoke level reduction positively impacted their health. They also described the growing interest in acquiring stoves in the community due to their multiple benefits.

Below are a few photos of the visit.

It is always a pleasure to meet with the beneficiaries of our projects and see the impacts of the stoves on the communities. We look forward to seeing the final video and sharing it on the blog soon!

International Women’s Day Gift to Women of Corner Apii and Apala Telela Borehole

As the world commemorates the International Women’s Day, the women of Corner Apii and Telela Apala villages in Kole district, Northern Uganda surely have a reason to celebrate this day. Corner Apii borehole was drilled by the government and shortly broke down leaving the community of over 800 people with no option but to turn to an open spring that they shared with animals. This was constantly contaminated by animal waste and caused waterborne diseases to them like typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea among others.

The women of Corner Apii village suffered most due to the breakdown of this borehole. They had to use unsafe sources of water as the alternative borehole was far and inaccessible. This made them less productive as they had to not only collect water but also look for firewood to purify the water for drinking.

After an 8 months breakdown, CO2balance has helped rehabilitate this borehole today and given hope for clean safe water to the Corner Apii and Apala Telela community once more.

‘I had a small business that generated some extra income for my family but I closed it because I did not have enough time to manage it. I had to farm in the morning and later do house chores before going in search of water and firewood. This left me tired and with no time to tend to my shop…..’ narrates 67 year old Beatrice Alyango who lives half a kilometer from the newly repaired borehole.

With the repair of the borehole, she hopes to re-open her shop as she will now have enough time to tend to it.

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Beatrice Alyango

45 year old Santa Ocen, married with 10 Children who lives half a kilometer from the borehole celebrates the new water source. When the borehole broke down, she constantly worried about her little girls traveling for long distances unaccompanied in search of water and firewood. The same water collected was not clean and they ended up sick and missing school. She is confident that cases of diseases will now be a thing of the past as she totally trusts borehole water.

Judith Okello aged 35, a mother to 4 children is also happy that this borehole was repaired because it is going to sort out the issue of domestic violence in homes.

‘Husbands would always beat up their wives if they delayed to return home from fetching water. They would accuse their wives of meeting up with other men while fetching water from these far off wells hence the delay. The women’s pleas fell on deaf ears and this trend would continue because the women had to collect water everyday….’ narrates Judith Okello.

Corner Apii is just one out of the 20 newly rehabilitated boreholes in 2017. Another borehole rehabilitated today (pictured below) is Apala Telela and the women say ‘Thank you’.

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Women of Apala Telela borehole

Visiting the Rwanda Projects

This month I had the chance to visit our borehole projects in Kayonza district, Rwanda. Accompanied by our partners Rwandans4water, I went to visit three boreholes that were rehabilitated under our programme. The photos below were taken at Mutembo where we met with the community leader, who described the tremendous impact of the borehole on the wellbeing of the families.

Children of the community also showed us the stream that they used to collect water from before the project started. Rehabilitated in late 2015, Mutembo borehole is now providing safe drinking water for 180 families in the community eliminating the need to fetch wood for water purification. It is always a pleasure to see the impacts of our projects and we are thankful for the good work being carried out by our project partners and technicians.

In my next blog, I will share a sneak peek of the Gold Standard’s visit to Rwanda – we are proud to say that our projects were selected to be part of a new video showcasing the multiple sustainable development benefits of GS projects.

We will keep you posted!

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) Sensitization in Kaliro

WASH is the collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and these three cores are interdependent on the presence of the other. For example, without toilets, water sources become contaminated as a result of open defecation and poor waste disposal; without clean water, basic hygiene practices like hand washing are not possible. Drinking water sources are increasingly under threat from contamination, which impacts not only on the health of people, but also on the economic, environmental and social development of communities.

Threats to drinking water quality include unsafe handling and storage at the household level: water drawn from safe sources like boreholes may be contaminated by the time it reaches its storage point in households if poorly handled. In most rural areas, drinking water is stored in clay pots which are vulnerable to contamination if poorly handled.

Co2balance with its partner NGO WAACHA in Kaliro recently carried out a WASH sensitization to impart these three cores to the communities that are using the boreholes rehabilitated and maintained by it. They encouraged them on the need to have sanitary facilities like toilets and also influence behavioral change towards hygiene practices. Good hygiene practices such as hand washing with soap after using the toilet is essential to prevent disease and promote health.

The water resource committee members on behalf of the communities embraced the exercise and promised to elect voluntary health trainers who will move door to door training the households. They also pledged to encouraged the communities without toilets to build them at a safe distance from water sources and their homes and  install tippy taps with soap for hand washing after using the toilet. This will go a long way in promoting good health and the principles of WASH.

New VCS Issuance – Kenya cookstoves

CO2Balance successfully issued over 50,000 VERs under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)  for its efficient cookstove projects located in the constituencies of Mathira and Eldoret East, and Keiyo District.

Six years after the initial distribution of efficient cook stoves in these areas, the projects continue operating well, with 97% of stoves continuing to be used. It’s heartening to see the long-term impact these projects are making terms of reduced wood fuel used for cooking and improved indoor air-quality and health benefits.

With regards to the impacts of cooking practices, we are excited to see publication of the new toolkit provided by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, called FACIT : The webtool quantifies environmental and economic impacts for a variety of cooking fuel sources in various countries,  using data from a comprehensive life cycle assessment. It thus accounts for the impacts of fuels along the entire value chain, highlighting  the high negative impacts of using charcoal and firewood.

Feel free to contact us at co2balance if you would like to learn more about our cookstove projects or if you are just generally as interested in reducing carbon emissions as we are!

RIP Oscar Carlsson, designer of the Sholapur hand pump

The CO2balance team was saddened to learn recently of the passing of Oscar Carlsson, inventor of the Sholapur hand pump, who died in late January at the age of 89. Oscar designed the hand pump whilst managing the Sholapur Well Service in India in the 1970s.

Whilst Sholapur may not be a household name, the influence of the design on rural water access throughout the developing world has been astronomical. The India Mark II, the most widely used water hand pump in the world, is based on the Sholapur design. Over 6 million India Mark IIs are in operation in India and countless thousands more are in operation globally, guaranteeing safe water access to communities living in some of the most remote and challenging locations on the planet.

Oscar’s innovations included designing ball valves for the pump cylinder and a sand trap in the rising main to extend the life of the cup washers, amongst several innovations to improve the durability and longevity of the pumps. CO2balance is one of the many organisations whose work benefits from Oscar’s efforts, with the India Mark II being one of the most widely used pump models used in our borehole projects.

Oscar is remembered by his friend Ruper Talbot as “a rare being, blessed with out-of-the-box imagination and clever engineering skills that he translated into practical solutions to every day technical and social problems”. All of us at CO2balance extend our thoughts to Oscar’s family and friends and hope that many others will be inspired by him to bring practical and ingenious innovations to support livelihoods and protect the environment.

Featured image: an India Mark II hand pump repaired and maintained by CO2balance in Eritrea