First year of ACREST-CO2balance partnership

Since the local stakeholder meeting held in January last year, a significant progress was achieved in the jointly implemented “West Cameroon Improved Cookstove” Project. The Gold Standard Foundation listed our project, endorsing this unique partnership whereby local knowledge and skills are matched with international support and know-how. The improved cookstoves made at the ACREST Headquarter in Mbouda has been subsidised though the carbon market and was made affordable for hundreds of families, providing access to cleaner and healthier cooking environment.

One of the stove users is Madame Yontu Solange. She is very happy with the stove mainly because it cooks faster and uses twice less wood than the three-stone fire she used before. She also pointed out that the stove is safe and does not require constant supervision like the three-stone fire, this way she can carry out other household tasks or even go to the market while the food is being cooked. Given that the stove retains heat efficiently, it keeps the food warm even after the fire extinguished, which is also a great advantage as the family is big and everyone arrives home at different time to eat.

We are looking forward for another successful year with ACREST in Cameroon!DSC_0832

Supporting self-reliance

The hallmark of projects implemented by co2balance partners in Uganda over the past two years has been a strong partnership with communities. Water as a resource requires that the communities who consume it have to get involved in management of the boreholes lest they get back to their original state of ruin.

Last week, I got a chance to visit a local community of mainly farmers in Mbale district to distribute solar lamps as part of CSR with a local partner Peros coffee. Without a doubt the impact on the lives of the communities that the lamps will make only shows on their faces alone and the expected improvement in the study conditions of their children seems to be what excited them most.

The history of this school speaks of great commitment  from the community as well as community members. It is not uncommon to find a local school in Uganda with students seated under a tree but the residents of the surrounding village would not wait to sit back. They burnt bricks and from one grass thatched mud brick building they now have 3 classroom blocks with a total of around ten classrooms to serve their student population of 845, an average of about 121 from each class.The  school project is still ongoing and there were indeed some bricks buring in the background for their newly planned toilet facilities.

Communities like these are not uncommon in Uganda. Often the levels of service delivery have been poor so communities get together to do something that would benefit them long term. One of the communities we work with in Kaliro District in Saaka once showed us a hall that they had built from money gathered locally. This hall may act as a meeting place for students to do holiday study, for nursery school students to attend class and indeed for the community councils to hold their meetings.

We always encourage communities to be vigilant and that is why we are able to grow our projects. All the communities where we work were in the process of looking for money to repair their water sources. Unfortunately in some cases these processes had dragged to beyond two years and they had given up. However, the gaps bridged by carbon finance go a long way to restoring the basic human dignity offered by access to safe water and improved water and sanitation.