Safe Water in Malawi with Concern Universal

CO2balance is pleased to announce that it has recently submitted 4 micro scale projects to the Gold Standard Foundation for listing. This marks a milestone in our work to date with Concern Universal in Malawi and lays the foundations for scaling up our partnership further.

Borehole repair

The projects in question aim to provide safe water to households in rural Malawi through a programme of borehole repairs and drilling followed by a preventative maintenance programme to ensure they continue to provide clean water to communities for the entire 7 year life time of the project.

While Malawi continues to invest and make progress in water sector development, there are still issues of functionality and equity across the country with some districts including Dowa and Kasungu remaining among the least served, estimated at 41% and 61% respectively. Safe water access is even worse across the districts with 24% of the population having access to safe water in TA Dzoole; 26% in TA Kayembe and 32% in TA Chakhaza in Dowa district; 24% in TA Santhe and 40% in TA Kawamba in Kasungu districts.

This is in part due to the high variability and climatic extremes present in this area of continent, but the primary reason is a lack of infrastructure and functionality issues.  Water stress has been shown to be a key barrier in achieving economic development, so achieving the growth necessary to invest in infrastructure remains out of reach in a vicious cycle driven by poverty.

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Decentralised water purification systems (such as boreholes and domestic filtration devices) offer a less expensive route to clean water security, but the costs involved in even these small scale interventions are prohibitive for most people at a domestic level.  Therefore the traditional technique of boiling water remains the only viable method of purifying water for households and  around 5% of domestic energy in Africa (primarily in the form of non renewable biomass) is used to treat water in this manner. This project aims to remove the energy barrier of purifying water through boiling by repairing, drilling and maintaining boreholes in undeserved rural communities.

Meru Improved Cook Stove Project Case Study – meet Mrs. Mutegi

Mrs. Mutegi, a farmer in Meru South is one of the many Meru South residents whose lives have changed since the introduction of CZK Improved Cook stove. The environment inside her house is now clean and smokeless. She says she can spend more time in other income generating activities as only less time is required to collect the firewood fuel.

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Mrs. Mutegi, a farmer in Meru South with her new Improved Cook Stove

 

The CZ stove saves her a lot of time and she is able to tend to her land. This has led to improved output in her farm produce.  She also finds enough time to take care of her animals which provides her with income to supplement her tea farming.  Her children spend the time after schooling to attend to her fish pond instead of wasting the time to collect wood fuel.

The Meru Improved Cook stove Project is located in the Meru South District of Tharaka Nithi County. More than 90% of rural families in Meru south use wood fuel to cook. The cost of wood fuel has escalated due to deforestation. Consequently, the families spend a big percentage of their income purchasing wood fuel. Besides the high expenses in wood fuel, another problem of cooking over open fire is the increased health problems brought by smoke such as lung and eye ailments. Deforestation is often the end result of harvesting firewood for cooking fuel.

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The project helps to reduce the pressure placed on local forests by reducing the amount of firewood fuel consumed during cooking. Additionally, the money a family spends on wood is reduced considerably. This translates into money being available to be spent on food, education and medical care.

Education on optimal stove usage is provided by the CO2balance team – a training framework has been developed to cover all aspects of stove usage. The education covers from lighting, effective wood loading for optimal stove usage.  Around 8,000 stoves have been provided to families in Meru.  To support this life changing project in Meru please contact us.

World Vision-Community Insight

On Thursday 8th May, CO2balance travelled to the World Vision office in Wema, Nakuru to train 30 local data collectors in conducting baseline kitchen surveys and kitchen performance tests for the World Vision Gold Standard Cookstove VPAs in Wema and Mogotio; both VPAs will be included under CO2balance’s recently registered GS1366 Micro Energy PoA and aim to facilitate access to improved cookstoves through existing micro finance institutions and designated community groups.

In addition to carrying out the baseline training, it was also a great opportunity to talk to the local community  who demonstrated a keen interest in the project  and were eager to share their thoughts. Apart from concerns related to the adverse health impacts of three stone fires many of the people we spoke to were particularly worried about the environmental impacts of deforestation.  Pointing to the surrounding scrub-land and barren hillsides, one of the community members mentioned how the entire area used to be covered in forest. Others noted that deforestation has led to changing weather patterns and a reduction in rainfall,which  in turn effects agricultural production. Based on the discussion we had, it is evident that the dissemination of clean cookstoves which reduce fuel consumption by around 50% will have multiple long-term benefits for the community in terms of sustainable development and wellbeing.

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With regard to the baseline studies, World Vision have since informed us that the surveys are already well underway and that everything is running according to plan. Come end of week all the data will have been collected and soon to be returned to CO2balance for analysis. We are grateful for World Vision’s ongoing support in ensuring that the surveys are carried out to the highest standards and look forward to moving ahead with the next steps towards Gold Standard registration.

 

A sobering week

It’s been exciting this week on the Kaliro front. Kaliro as I’m sure we all remember is the site of our new project. Our partners here, an organisation that we formally and informally call WAACHA, who we previously partnered with in stove distribution and who we have developed a very good relationship with were out in the field and managed to complete the feasibility assessment for new boreholes to be rehabilitated under our water program. Next week we should have a clearer way forward and it is very much something to look forward to. We were also able to get a review of our Efficient cookstove LOA which is a big step forward to implementation of that project. From my corner it looks like things are looking up for co2balance in Uganda and it will be an interesting many months ahead.

This week was a bit more sobering as well. Social media has been abuzz with a campaign dubbed #bringbackourgirls. it is unfortunate that in this day and age, in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, innocents can still be put in such harms way.  It reminded me of previous albeit similar occurance. At the height of the LRA rebellion in 1996, 10 years before the Northern insurgency ended, 139 female students were similarly abducted by the rebels. It brought unprecedented international attention to a a war that had been raging for almost 10 years and in a world without social media, alot of what we knew was from the BBC and the local papers. It is sad that 18 years after that the same thing could happen to another group of young girls.

I am always of the opinion that great wisdom is in taking care of our young ones. In Africa, your brother’s child is your child. Investment in the child is the greatest investment for any individual because they hold the future. In historic times, despite many births, children died at a young age from preventable diseases, many of which were water borne. There is still a high incidence of these diseases but it is quite heartening to see how the rates of these diseases goes doewn once a a safe water source has been made accessible. When we develop projects with communities we take pride in them passing the health test. At all stakeholder meetings, we emphasize improved health as one of the benefits of improved cookstove projects and safe water projects as well and we make sure we work to deliver that. Developing a water project requires that whatever doubts there may be are dispelled and we have developed a monitoring program that covers the bases sufficiently. One thing we pride in is excellence so we aim at being as meticulous as possible with every project. When we start off rehabilitation in Kaliro, we shall have one eye on improving the water access situation but we shall have an eye on making life easier for the children as well.

As I rise on Monday I will have one eye on Kaliro. however at the same time, I will spare a thought for the African child. i hope the young ladies that were abducted do get to return home.

Good news on the World Vision Baseline!

Our previous blogs stated our (co2balance) new partnership with World Vision on micro-scale cook stove projects in Baringo and Nakuru Counties in Kenya. Subject to Gold Standard rules before delving into the project implementation it’s vital to do a baseline study to understand the amount of wood combusted and therefore greenhouse gases produced within the project area before being reduced by the project activity.

As a result yesterday the co2balance team represented by Lucas and I were in Nakuru, Wema ADP for the World Vision baseline training. This however came after some in advent delays. We trained 30 data collectors who will be involved in the data collection for the coming KS and KPT. The Baseline is now scheduled for next week. This is good news!

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During the rigorous training we took the data collectors through the theory part of the surveys before doing various practical samples to ensure that they all understood the process for doing the surveys. The training included data collectors from both Wema and Mogotio; the ADP’s where the project will be implemented. This training allowed the data collectors to gain a greater understanding of the surveys and how they are carried out to meet the high standards required.

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After the training we had to remind the Survey field teams that as they will be going into peoples’ homes, representing co2balance and World Vision they need to do so with respect and be aware that the households are helping by letting them into their homes. We also asked them to remember thanking all households for accepting to be part of the survey.

Travel Preparations

Nothing can beat getting out into the villages where our projects have been implemented, and seeing the projects in action first-hand!

Being based in the UK and implementing our projects, we often hear stories, see photos and receive reports about how successful the projects are from our local partners and in-country staff. . . but there is nothing quite like being there. We are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to visit the communities, being welcomed into the homes of the stove beneficiaries, getting to know them and sharing their experiences.

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I am currently making the final preparations for my next trip to Rwanda on Monday. With a busy schedule of meetings in Kigali, I will be sure to also spend plenty of time with the communities to find out how the CO2balance stove has impacted them, and if there are any ways we can improve the project as it continues to expand.

Next updates from Rwanda!

 

 

Conservation works in Shimoni

Situated on border of Kenya and Tanzania along the Indian Ocean coastline, Shimoni today is best known for being the main gateway to the beautiful Wasini Island and to the Kisite Marine National Park. However it is little known fact that in the past 10 years 70% of the local forest has been depleted and increasing tourism in the area is posing further stress on the locally available natural resources. To be able to reverse this trend and to conserve its unique coastal forest there has been major local and international efforts under way. The Kenya Wildlife Service has been active in the area through its headquarter in the Kisite-Mpunguti  National Park where in cooperation with Global Vision International (GVI) it has been focusing on both marine and terrestrial conservation. Also, a local community based organization, Friends of Shimoni Forest has been successfully working together with various travel agents to promote sustainable tourism and to raise awareness of the fragile ecosystem in Shimoni.

Photo by Global Vision International (GVI)

Photo by Global Vision International (GVI)

We are proud to be able to contribute to these conservation efforts through our efficient cookstove project (Gold Standard 827 – Shimoni Improved Cook Stoves). Having been working in the area since 2009, CO2balance have distributed 826 improved cookstoves to date, this way reducing the reliance on the decreasing and precious wood resource locally.

To know more about our Shimoni project please visit our website: http://www.co2balance.com/project-details/?project=80

Solar Lantern Project in Kenya – meet Mrunde and John

This is Mrunde and John. They are both 13 years old and are cousins. They live together in a traditional mud house in Tsavo, Kenya with their family. They are in Standard 8, the final year of Primary School and keen to do well in their exams. They are both very excited to be given the solar lamps and are using them every evening to study hard from their text books that they share.

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Before the solar lamp, they used to struggle using a kerosene lantern which doesn’t produce much light but now they look forward to the evenings when they can use their solar lamps, which they call “their electricity”.

The solar lantern project was funded by Peros, and was in addition to their annual carbon offset work, where they support our Kenyan and Ugandan projects.  For more information on the solar lanterns project, and all the other projects that we run in Africa please contact us – 01823 332233; enquiries@co2balance.com

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GS1366 Micro Energy PoA Registration

CO2balance is pleased to announce the Registration of its GS1366 Micro Energy Programme of Activities along with the first VPA, GS1388 Isiolo Improved Cookstoves. This PoA has been designed to allow us to implement improved cookstove projects in a number of countries around the world and will hopefully allow small scale producers to scale up their operations using the revenue from carbon finance. These producers can also benefit from the security of joining an established programme as well as significant time and cost savings.

If you are interested in joining World Vision Kenya, Adeso and ACREST in taking advantage of our PoA, please feel free to get in touch via our website.

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ACREST Stoves in Cameroon waiting to be bought

 

Borehole Project in Bangladesh

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According to the Bangladesh WASH Alliance, a staggering 60% of the Bangladeshi population has to endure unsafe drinking water sources. The contaminated drinking water is an urgent and growing health problem in the country where combined with poor sanitation it is the leading cause of diarrhoea and is responsible for one third of the total child deaths. To be able to deliver clean water technologies, CO2balance will work with its in-country partner Concern Universal Bangladesh and community groups in the Chittagong Hills to identify broken down boreholes and renovate them so that they provide clean, safe water. CO2balance will ensure that the quality of the water delivered by the boreholes is fit for human consumption for the entire length of the project, which will be a minimum seven years.

This new project is going to take place in the Chittagong Hills which comprises an area of 13,295 square kilometres in south-eastern Bangladesh and borders India and Myanmar. This very hilly area of Bangladesh is one of the few remaining abode of Buddhism in South Asia, where the culture, language and physical appearance of the local tribal population also differ markedly from the Bengali majority of Bangladesh. Like other mountainous areas in South and Southeast Asia, the Chittagong Hills is also undergoing deforestation and land degradation arising from environmentally unsuitable activities such as tobacco cultivation in sloping land, shifting cultivation and logging. The borehole project also aims to address these challenges by providing access to safe water supply so local people do not need to burn significant amount of biomass to treat their water for drinking, cleaning or washing.

CO2balance and Concern Universal Bangladesh is currently organizing a stakeholder meeting which will mark the starting point for this borehole rehabilitation and maintenance project. The launching workshop will take place at 10.30 am on the 11th of May, in the Panchhari Dayamoy G. Primary School, Rangamati. We cordially invite all our international and local stakeholders to attend the meeting, as your knowledge and input will be of value at this event, helping us to design a project with maximum positive impact for local people.