FAPDR, our local partner NGO in the Rwandan cookstove projects has recently conducted interviews of those beneficiarias who were the first to receive the improved cookstoves in Bugasera. We were interested in their experience using the stoves in the past months, hoping that we can hear some positive feedbacks. The first interviewee was Cecile,18 old, first born daughter of Ngendahayo family who is responsible for cooking in the their household, preparing meals for 7 family members every day.
Her father Xavier told FAPDR that the family moved from the Southern Province to settle in Bugesera region in 1979 looking for land to cultivate. When they arrived in the region, it was covered with lush forests however around 2000 locals started to notice a decline in available firewood. To tackle the problem the government encouraged tree plantation in the district but the problem has been persisting.
Cecile then explanied that they were the first family to receive the improved cookstoves in Bugasera distributed by FAPDR. She told that she liked the stove mainly because of its favourable performance in the kitchen: it decreases the quantity of wood used and it gives out less smoke which in return keeps the kitchen clean. She said that she encourages the neighbours buy the same improved cookstove because it helps both for families in the kitchen and the region to preserve more trees.
I have spent the better part of this month in the field in Kaliro working on our monitoring surveys and then coordinating a Validation site visit by Gold Standard and Fair trade auditors. it has been a great time meeting with the communities and personally receiving their appreciation on behalf of co2balance. On one occasion, the community in Bukongolo followed after us during my surveys and performed a song and dance to appreciate the work that we had done. On another occasion a borehole committee chairperson offered us a chicken which served as our next day’s lunch.
One thing I really enjoyed about working with them was their eagerness to contribute to the process. After being mobilized by the community leaders it was good how they all took their time to ensure the systems in place are working and working for them. When developing projects it is such a temptation to impose rules upon community partners but sustainability is achieved in having community members charting out a suitable destiny for themselves.
Some members of the Budumba Water User Committee
Recently I wrote about the borehole that had remained unusable for the last 5 years, I was most glad to see this borehole, Iguliryo Nyolo, functional again.
An appreciative community member
We found out during the meeting that averagely in a year 9%-13% of boreholes are none functional and this could add up to as many as 50 boreholes and potentially 20,000 households lacking water during the year. The impact of every borehole rehabilitated is felt in terms of health, security, access to water and in temporal terms each household’s ability to earn more from the available time they have at had. We also received several testimonies about how marriages are happier now as well. Each step matters and so does each hand that partners to make the lives of others better.