Opening Ceremony and Warm Welcome for CO2balance!

The 20th May marked the start of our second Micro-Scale Improved Cook Stove project in the Bugesera District, Rwanda. As the factory loaded up the truck in Kigali, I travelled to the Sector of Mareba, where both the local administration and the communities were ready to receive the first stoves.

When we arrived, the Executive Secretary welcomed us to his Sector, and we were then invited to join the Ceremony to mark the beginning of the project in this area. Behind the Sector Office, a group of local people had gathered, ready to receive their new stoves. The Ceremony began with traditional singing and dancing to welcome us, and the Project was then officially opened by the Executive Secretary.

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After the introductions and explanations about the project and its benefits, the first stoves arrived from Kigali, and the local Community Project Officers began to fill out the beneficiaries details and give them their stoves.

The stoves are very heavy to transport, weighing approximately 23Kg each, and we saw some very interesting means of transportation by those taking their new stove home. . .

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In addition to the Sector representatives, journalists from National and Local Rwandan radio arrived, to carry out interviews and report on the project.

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 It was great to have such a warm welcome and to see how happy the communities are to be receiving the stoves! We’re looking forward to continuing our stove distribution in many more Sectors in the coming months. . .

Goodbye, CO2balance!

I’ve been at CO2balance for two years and am now moving on. Despite computers notorious (and frustrating) ability to cease functioning for no clear reason I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time and would like to thank everyone I’ve worked with over the two years.

Despite the fact I was initially employed as IT support it didn’t take long for us to realise it’d take more than a few computer issues to keep me busy and as a result I quickly started working on web development projects to occupy my time.

One of the projects I was able to work on was the Challenge Africa project sponsoredby SCC. The project allowed 5 employees from SCC to travel to Kenya to build a fence around a school to help benefit the local community. I built a website to allow the employees to raise money through events and publish them through an events feed. The trip was a great success with the participants raising £5,636 in just a few months.

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In addition to creating websites, some of my time at CO2balance was spent streamlining day to day tasks of others. One nifty system I created allows the projects team to tag photos from their trips to countries and events, then upload them to the server to be globally accessed throughout the office by simply searching for the tags, thus allowing us to vastly increase our image library for the future – keep an eye out for some new photos in the future!Image

After spending two years in such a great office with such great people there’s a great many things I’ll miss. Here’s just a few:

  • Listening to Richard’s music – from 15 meters away (despite his use of headphones).
  • Matt and his need for help with the simplest of IT matters.
  • The grubs up van and their fancy horn to reminding me it’s almost lunch time!
  • Everyone in the offices ability to forget every password, no matter how simple.
  • The projects teams stories of the outside world (I will continue to argue it’s overrated).
  • Being with people who think I know what I’m doing (Although I think you’re all well aware by now that my standard procedure is click buttons for a minute or two then turn the computer off and on again).
  • Paul’s quick cooking tips.
  • The Shop of Doom and their delicious Southern Fried Chicken baguettes
  • Pretending I understand what CO2balance does.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone at CO2balance. I’ve been given brilliant opportunities in my time here and the experience I’ve gained has been invaluable. I’d like to say an extra big thank you to Martin (if he reads this) for teaching me everything I know about programming, Dan for keeping me company for the last few months and Matt for frequently interrupting my workload and giving me a quick chuckle.

Good Bye CO2balance!

It’s been a pleasure to work with all of you and wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavours. I hope CO2balance can continue its great work in Africa and the rest of the world.

Risi Cheshire