Kicking off climate change

Next week’s trip to visit one of the schools we work with in Kenya has taken a sporty twist, with Liverpool FC – through the Liverpool FC Foundation – kindly donating two shirts along with posters and signed cards.  Like most kids the school children at the Shikaadabu Primary School are mad about football so I am sure the lucky two children that get to wear the shirts will be very grateful to Liverpool FC.

We have got a mix of football allegiances in the office but we are all fans of anyone that donates to the schools we support over in Kenya.

The trip is all part of “Challenge Africa”, which we’ll blog more about next week…….

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Communities Eagerly Await Today’s Stove Delivery

It’s another exciting day in the Rwandan District of Bugesera, as the next truck load of co2balance stoves makes its way out of the factory in Kigali, and into the villages in the Ngeruka Sector.

After the success of the first delivery last month, where 225 households received a new stove, excitement is building amongst all members of the community as the next truck is due to arrive from Kigali today, this time with 450 stoves!

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Last month saw the first co2balance improved cook stoves reach the first households in this area of Rwanda, where people traditionally rely heavily on fire wood to meet their cooking needs. The Bugesera District is in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, and is characterised by higher than average temperatures and lower rainfall, which can often lead to droughts. Cooking is traditionally carried out on inefficient three-stone fires, which use large amounts of wood and produce large amounts of smoke inside the houses.

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The co2balance and Climate Corporation partnership has enabled those most in need to be able to access highly subsidised improved cook stoves. Tests have shown these new stoves to reduce the amount of wood needed for cooking by over 70% when compared to the three-stone fires . . . saving time, money and the environment!

5* Luxury Meets 5* Sustainability

This week I was fortunate enough to be invited to Mara Bushtops, a safari camp located in a private conservancy on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve. The aim of the visit wasn’t rest and relaxation but to understand the types of environmentally friendly initiatives they have already implemented and discuss ways that they could build on them by possibly leveraging carbon finance as an alternative revenue stream.

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But as this is a luxury camp it wasn’t all hard work and I was made to feel more than welcome right from the start as I was met by Daniel, the Head Ranger, at the airstrip with coffee and cakes to refresh me before the short drive to the camp. For those unfamiliar with the conservancy approach it is a land management strategy that allows wildlife and livestock to co-exist through careful management of grazing. The results were clear to see as we passed from one conservancy to another through un-managed areas where the trees and wildlife would instantly disappear and the landscape became barren. In return for allowing the camp to use their land and reducing grazing on it the Masai are also paid a set fee per hectare of land that they give over to the initiative; clearly a “win-win” for all involved.

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Mara Bushtops have taken significant steps to lower their impact on the area and boost their eco-credentials; from a kitchen garden that supplies a good proportion of their vegetables to solar hot water and electricity throughout the camp. Not to mention LED lighting and a “fridge” that keeps the produce cool without needing any power. But it’s not just about the camp, they actively support the local community and in particular the local school which now has a computer lab and will soon have a dinning hall for the kids as well as two new dorms for those that board.

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There was a lot to discuss and there is great potential to build on what they have already achieved in a relatively short space of time. Watch this space to see how things develop!