As you may well remember from previous blogs, CO2balance is currently working as a carbon consultant for World Vision to develop two clean cook stove projects in Wema and Mogotio, Kenya. Over the past 6 months World Vision has been busy engaging with the community, educating them on the benefits of improved cookstoves and collecting feedback on the project design in preparation for the stove launch. Following a number of participatory workshops, stove exhibitions and efficiency tests it was decided that the Kuna Mbhili stove made by the local Kenyan manufacturer-SCODE was the most appropriate and affordable for the communities.
Another important aspect of the project that World Vision has been finalising, is the creation of a micro finance institution (MFI) and credit scheme model-the improved stoves will be sold by the MFI to established community groups also known as chamas at a highly subsidised rate. Chamas will sell the stoves to the community members, offering small loans which can be repaid over a period of six months. This innovative model will allow the groups to build their savings accounts and invest in other sustainable community initiatives. World Vision have worked closely with the chamas, providing trainings on stove benefits, monitoring procedures for the carbon component and financials.
On November 20th, CO2balance were invited to attend the long awaited opening ceremony of the stove launch in Wema, during which the first 300 stoves were handed over to the community groups for onward sale. Among the particpants were a number of prominent authorities, including representatives from the ministries of environment, health and agriculture, the District Officer Heman Abdul (Below Left) and the local chiefs. Managing to attract this kind of representation at the event was a great achievement as it clearly indicates the type of support the project has from the government. Most encouraging was seeing the government officials fully endorse the project as they urged the communities to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Following a welcoming introduction by World Vision, each representative was asked to give a 10 minute talk in Kiswahili on the project, emphasising the environmental, social and economic benefits of using the stoves. Although my Kiswahili language skills are not quite up to standard, fortunately my colleague Charles Ruto was able to translate all the main points that were discussed. During the event it was CO2balances pleasure to explain in the simplest way to the communities about carbon credits and how we will be able to generate additional finance through measuring the reduction in carbon emissions which seemed to interest the community members very much. Last to present were the stove manufacturer SCODE who demonstrated the correct usage of the stove-how to load the wood fuel, what size pieces to use and how to light the stove-in order to maximise its efficiency.
The afternoon culminated in a number of fun events organised by World Vision including a poem recital by the local school children and an inspiring jiko song performed by a local women’s group. At the end of the day, all the stakeholders were happy and we can therefore say with confidence that the projects could not have gotten off to a better start. Despite such a positive outcome, there is still a lot of work to be done over the coming months in order to make sure that all the stoves are sold and the project conforms to the Gold Standard requirements.