I recently had the opportunity of joining our team in Kenya to lead the 2nd monitoring period site visit for the Meru improved Cookstove project, one of CO2balance’s six small-scale Gold Standard projects registered in Kenya. Nestled beneath the eastern foothills of Mount Kenya, Meru County is subject to high poverty levels, especially in rural areas which lack access to health services, clean water and other basic resources. Similar to many areas in Kenya, the majority of people in Meru still depend heavily on wood fuel and predominantly use three stone fires for cooking which are highly inefficient and can cause serious health problems due the large amount of smoke they emit. Since 2011, the Meru Improved Cookstove project has focused on reducing the negative health, environmental and economic impacts related to cooking on three stone fires through the distribution of over 8000 improved CZK cookstoves.
During the verification site visit we were accompanied by a local expert and independent auditor who interviewed a large sample of stove beneficiaries and conducted a rigorous assessment of all the project data that had been collected during the monitoring period, in order to verify the emission reductions. Despite difficult road conditions, with the help of our experienced local field staff and expert driver we were able to navigate the laterite with ease and managed to visit over 30 households, all of whom were very happy with the Carbon Zero Kenya (CZK) Stove. One family mentioned that the time and money saved collecting and buying firewood has enabled them to devote more resources to their tea farm which has enabled them to increase their harvest, thereby generating additional income for their children’s education. Considering that some households spend over 20% of their income on fuel wood it is easy to see how using improved cookstoves, which reduce wood consumption by around 50%, can have a significant impact on quality of life.
During the site visit, it was also encouraging to see first-hand the excellent progress that the field staff have made in terms of building and nurturing ties with the local authorities, who play an important role in promoting the cookstoves and ensuring that the community support the project- as we have learnt through experience, participation is a crucial component to the success of any community based project!
Many thanks again to everyone in Kenya for their great work and ensuring the smooth running of the site visit!