More boreholes rehabilitated

In partnership with our local NGO partner Rwandans4Water, we have finished the rehabilitation further 30 boreholes in Gatsibo district this month. According to the data collected on the field, it means that at least 15,000 more people have now access to clean water, many of them are young children. Borehole users are also involved in community sensitization programme and in the monitoring so our project partner can always have the most up-to-date information from each and every boreholes. Rwandans4Water  have complied a fantastic video of their ongoing work in the district which also features the projects we are working on together, please have a look!

Progress in Rwanda – borehole rehabilitation in Gatsibo

In partnership with our local NGO partner Rwandans4Water, we have finished the rehabilitation further 30 boreholes in Gatsibo district this month. According to the data collected on the field, it means that at least 15,000 more people have now access to clean water, many of them are young children. Borehole users are also involved in community sensitization programme and in the monitoring so our project partner can always have the most up-to-date information from each and every boreholes. Rwandans4Water  have complied a fantastic video of their ongoing work in the district which also features the projects we are working on together, please have a look!

Eritrean Borehole Projects in Gold Standard Listing Process

As a result of its pioneering global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA), co2balance are assisting partners develop projects in countries that have yet to see much benefit from carbon finance initiatives. The most recent additions to our PoA are GS 4422 and 4423 which are first of its kind clean water borehole VPAs in Zoba Maekel, Eritrea.  These VPAs are implemented along with our partners Vita an Irish Charity. Both projects proceeded to the Gold Standard listing process this week. Watch this space for updates from the borehole rehabilitation programme as the success of these projects goes from strength to strength.

Zoba Maekel Stakeholder Consultation Photo

Zoba Maekel Stakeholder Consultation July 2015

Vita Team addressing the stakeholders in the district

Vita Team addressing the stakeholders in the district

An Introduction..

Hi everyone,

My name is Richard Stone and I thought I would write a quick introduction after joining the CO2balance team this week. I’ve recently graduated from the Master of Environmental Sciences programme at the University of Southampton and I’m excited to be joining a team with such a high level of expertise in finding quality climate change adaption solutions. I live locally in the South West of the UK and I am happy to be joining the Taunton office where it is clear everyone is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the carbon management industry. Already I feel welcome, I have relaxed in to the office and I am excited about being able to contribute to the team and to the valuable work that they do. I’m very much looking forward to getting up to speed on all the on-going work and working with the rest of the team in the future!

A bit of background about myself – before joining CO2balance I’ve done a lot of cycling, swimming and running and I’ve included a picture of myself at the end of my cycle across the length of the UK, from John O’Groat’s Lands’ End.


Working With Co2balance

I joined Co2balance on June 15, 2015 as a Project Development Coordinator for the projects in Uganda mainly in the Lango sub region and Kaliro district in Eastern Uganda.

I was very keen to learn more about carbon finance in relation to water projects and this is what Co2balance has to offer.

My orientation covered visits to the projects that included Kole, Otuke, Alebtong, Dokolo and Kaliro districts and it was a great experience meeting the borehole users who were so enthusiastic and appreciative of the projects that had been introduced to provide constant safe water.

Growing up, I had always wished to live in the Lango sub region of Uganda (which borders the hometown I hail from) because of it’s good climate and friendly community.

In February 2004, my wishes were clouded by the invasion of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel terrorist group led by Joseph Kony that attacked and killed innocent civilians irrespective of gender and age, widespread human rights violations like abduction, mutilation, child-sex slavery, and forcing children to participate in hostile acts.

They wiped out hundreds of people from the northern and north-eastern part of Uganda. This also saw many people being abducted and children turned into child soldiers.

This led to many people fleeing for their lives and they ended up in settlement camps with so little provisions to even cover their basic needs. Led by the top LRA commander Okot Odhiambo, the rebels attacked one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Barlonyo and killed over 300 civilians and abducted others.

Few years later, the war ceased with the fleeing of the rebels and people decided to go back to their home towns because the situation in the camps were appalling. The government with the help of aid agencies helped secure the areas for the people and drilled boreholes to offer clean water as one of the basic needs of the community. However, as a result of a high population and lack of maintenance, these boreholes broke down and people went back to using unprotected open wells which saw an increase in water borne diseases like typhoid, cholera, etc coupled by so much fear of walking to distant water sources lest they are again attacked by the rebels.

Co2balance with its borehole rehabilitation and maintenance project has seen many of these boreholes repaired and clean water is now easily accessible to the communities – of which they much appreciate.

‘We the women no longer have to walk for many kilometres to open wells to collect water as the repair of the boreholes has made clean water more accessible…’ said a one Agnes Olila.

During our visit of Otuke District, we had a chance to visit Barlonyo Memorial site where 121 victims of the LRA were buried in mass graves. This still leaves a big scar on the hearts of the people in the Lango region who lost their loved ones to this great injustice.

thank you lettermass gravewomen thanking Co2balance

World Vision Improved Cookstove Projects Registered

Since the beginning of 2014 CO2balance has been working in partnership with World Vision on the implementation of two Gold Standard improved cookstove VPAs located in the Rift Valley Province, Kenya. GS3079 Wema Improved Cookstoves and GS3080 Mogotio Improved Cookstoves aim to address the environmental, social and economic problems associated with cooking on three stone fires by promoting energy efficient cook-stoves to households through established micro-finance institutions, thereby making them more affordable. Furthermore, local stove producers can also benefit from the security of joining a long term initiative.

Since the project started, approximately 2000 improved cookstoves have been purchased by households in the project areas which has already had a significant impact on reducing wood consumption and carbon emissions. Over the last 8 months, approximately 1000 tonnes of wood have been saved across the two VPAs which equates to around 1700 tonnes of avoided CO2.

We are pleased to announce that the projects are now officially registered under the Gold Standard, representing a key milestone in the carbon project cycle.


Breaking Barriers to the Uptake of ICS in Kenya

It is estimated that 2.7 billion people worldwide, who mostly live on incomes of less than US$2/day, depend on solid biomass fuels (fuelwood, charcoal, animal dung, grass, shrubs, agricultural residue) to meet their basic energy needs for cooking and heating. Many of these people cook on open fires, often inside their homes. As well as being very inefficient in the use of scarce firewood, women and children are exposed to harmful levels of wood smoke, which is a major cause of respiratory disease and premature death. Cook stoves are estimated to contribute around a third of global carbon monoxide emissions while the black carbon particles and other pollutants in biomass smoke are also thought to play a role in global warming.

Improved cook stoves, designed to burn biomass fuels more cleanly and efficiently than traditional stoves, have been promoted by charities and governments in many developing countries since the 1970s. A variety of approaches have been tried, including “build-your-own stove” projects, community-focused participatory schemes, manufacturing stoves in remote villages and market-based commercial activities.

In other countries, the progress has been less spectacular. Schemes have failed for a whole range of reasons which are only partially understood. Reasons for failure include: cost of the new stoves, cultural resistance to change, negative experience with previous “development” projects, lack of fuel, failure to understand users’ needs and so on. Some stove initiatives have relied solely on the attraction of new technologies rather than taking a more holistic approach which learns from past mistakes and also from successful intervention projects.
The cost of energy efficient cook stoves is relatively high. Hence, most of the targeted households cannot afford them. In attempt to enhance demand, uptake, and adoption, Carbon Zero Kenya has adopted a participatory and cost effective approach. The approach has led to the training of local communities on stove production; sourcing stove materials from local materials thus enhancing affordability and access to efficient cook stoves. Carbon Zero seeks to produce very low cost cook stoves that low income earners can easily afford and still acquire the fuel efficiency.
CR 1

In order to enhance adoption and utilization of efficient cook-stoves, Carbon Zero undertakes education, community sensitization and awareness creation to address health, livelihood and quality of life. Through regularized usage surveys, qualitative data collected and analyzed help in addressing the socio-cultural concerns/needs of the target beneficiaries/community.
Carbon Zero continues to widely research and develop cheaper but efficient stoves taking into cognizant that continuous innovation as well as testing of technology in use assist in stove improvement.
Carbon Zero keeps on sharing experiences and expertise on market development for efficient cook stoves and socio-enterprise community organizing for enhanced household efficient cook-stove adoption.

Compiled by Charles Ruto and Moses Maina

Local Stakeholder Consultation In Zoba Maekal, Eritrea

On Sunday 12th July, our project partners Vita conducted a local stakeholder consultation for the upcoming clean water projects to be included in the co2balance GS1247 PoA in Zoba Maekal, Eritrea. These are first of its kind Gold Standard clean water VPAs in Eritrea. At the meeting there were over 130 participants which included the local district administrators, representatives of the WASH committee, and experts from water source departments, and members of the local communities.

Mr. Yemane Abai, Director General of Agriculture and Land in Zoba Maekal gave an opening speech saying that the proposed borehole rehabilitiation will play an important role for supplying clean drinking water particularly in rural areas. He expressed his gratitude towards Vita and co2balance as they shall support development of Eritrean communities by repairing broken hand pumps. He reminded members of communities that they shall endeavour to work alongside Vita and co2balance in fostering a collective sense of responsibility for the new repaired boreholes, to achieve inclusive and sustained long term future prosperity in the region.

The local stakeholder meeting formally begins the new Vita and co2balance partnership borehole VPAs in Eritrea and we are excited about what our future work will hold. Watch the space for updates and photos from the field.

Zoba Maekel, Eritrea Source:

Zoba Maekel, Eritrea

Counting the Benefits!

Most often, benefits from development projects are quick, very visible and short-term, while those of environmental conservation are not. Thus for any environmental movement, it is important that people are not only informed about the importance and benefits of environmental conservation but also understand the linkages that nature and its conservation have with the various other dimensions of their lives; social, cultural, economic etc. One of the major considerations while planning a development project or while resolving conflicts such as this one, is to look at advantages and gains that would come to the masses as against benefits for a selected group of people or agencies. Analyzing each option scientifically is necessary not only to understand impacts of a project on the environment, but also one which helps in building a strong and accurate background for the cause.

Environmental educators have to be able to empower people to undertake environmental action. The bridging of this gap between environmental education and environmental action is the absolute solution to conservation. The next case presented here is a story of one Elijah, a resident of Mathira East in Nyeri County who’s determination to reduce wood fuel consumption, has changed his life and improved his relationship with his employer as well as conserving environment like many other members of his village. This demonstrates that each one of us can make a difference, and collectively, we can make a huge difference!

Co2balance Mathira East project area is characterized by Climatic conditions coupled with equatorial rainfall. The main physical features of this district are Mount Kenya (5,199m) to the east and the Aberdare ranges (3,999m) to the west. The land tenure systems have a tremendous influence on the economic activities in the district particularly agricultural development, which is the backbone of its economy. Much of the agricultural products are from small holders‘farms, which produce both food and cash crops especially in the higher potential areas of Mathira. The area is served by rivers running from Mt. Kenya to lower slopes of the mountain.

During educational visits in the area, Carbon Zero Kenya Limited team met Mr. Elijah Mwangi a beneficially of CZK stove, he is a farmer and works as a casual laborer in one of the nearby farms, a job he has done for a couple of years now. Due to the scarcity of employment opportunities in the area, it is a job he has endeared to sustain him and take care of his ailing father.

He shares with us how his life has been transformed since receiving the energy efficient stove from Carbon Zero Kenya Limited. Looking at his daily schedule it is immediately evident that Mr. Elijah is a very busy employee and time management is one of his strongest points in his trade. His employer expresses his satisfaction about Mr. Elijah’s productivity.
“He is a hard working employee I will never want to lose. Most of the work is done to late hours of the afternoon for maximum productivity” says his employer.

Mr. Elijah tells us the secret behind satisfying his employer. In his own words explains, ‘’before receiving the CZK stove, I used a traditional hearth. The stove consumed a lot of wood fuel prompting me to frequently ask my employer for permission to leave work early so as to have enough time for preparing firewood. This affected my productivity and threatened my only source of livelihood’’.

He continues to explain, “I stay with my father who has a long term illness and I am the only person who takes care of him including cooking for him. It is difficult to obtain firewood especially during rainy season. Wood fuel is expensive and I cannot afford to purchase it daily, but now I am grateful to have the CZK stove which consumes very little firewood hence enabling me to save time and part of my earnings.’’

Evidently, after receiving the energy efficient stove, Elijah’s life has been transformed. He doesn’t worry about getting home late. He obtains his fuel by pruning trees in his compound and supplementing it by purchasing. Earlier he would cut down trees as the wood shortage bites. Currently he is proud to see a new generation of trees around his compound. All he has to do is prune them regularly without having to cut down the whole tree! Elijah full of smiles indicates that now with the energy efficient stove from Carbon Zero he has enough time to concentrate on his work on the farm.

Below are photos of Elijah on the farm!

Compiled by; Purity Maina, Virginia Njeri and Moses Maina

Small Steps; Big Impact!

Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. But limited access to credit, health care and education are among the many challenges they face, which are further aggravated by the global food and economic crises and climate change. Empowering them is key not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall environmental wellbeing, given women’s continuous interaction with the environment i.e. while fetching firewood, fetching water, tilling the land etc.

Including women as participants and planners in environmental conservation programs encourages empowerment. Making women leaders of environmental conservation and change also lays down the roots for women to become leaders in other areas of the community.
Having an understanding of the relationship that women have with the environment can help development organizations better formulate strong conservation interventions. Women interact with the environment differently than men. The division of labor in many countries across the globe is such that women depend on forest products like firewood, medicines, and foods more than men, and are responsible for collecting these resources. Because of this, women carry different knowledge about the forest, and have different conservation goals that reflect their specific needs and wants from the environment.

With this understanding Carbon Zero Kenya implemented an energy efficient cook stove project in Kisumu West through a local women group – Umeme. The project was implemented by intensively training local women on cooks stove production, marketing skills within the community and simple financial management skills. The women produced 1000 stoves that were later sold to locals thus enabling them earn an income. From the group we met one member; Judy Atieno who also served as the groups treasurer. Judy resides from Nyahera Sub location where she is married with four kids.
Judy says that with the training she received she gained a lot of knowledge she never had before, currently she able to manage and plan her funds better something she never used to do. She is also able to effectively market her stuff i.e. vegetables as a result of the training she got on marketing.
Judy 1

She says that “ever since receiving the artisan cook stoves project my life has tremendously changed. Before the cook stove project I had never been assigned the role of a treasurer of any women group, because of this new role, I have learnt to be very optimistic. Marketing of the artisanal stoves is not easy especially going to new regions to promote them and am glad carbon zero gave me a chance to nurture and explore new skills.”
She continues “now I know the importance of saving money in a bank. Initially the idea was not so clear. The money we save as a group can also enable us to take loans which are very helpful for development. Recently when my husband was admitted in hospital, I had a lot of expenses and the money I had saved from the sale of the cook stoves enabled me to pay the hospital bill and also school fees for my children. Through going to the different market places and daily interaction with people, I have managed to gain courage to approach different lobby groups like chiefs, In Barazas, other women groups to appreciate their products and also sell to them the cook stoves.”
Judy 2

She continues to explain that “the artisanal stoves save a lot of energy and money because less firewood has to be collected or purchased. It also cooks faster so women have more time to engage in other income-generating activities and it is more hygienic than the traditional model. The stoves have greatly improved our living standards. I will always give my gratitude to Carbon Zero for giving me this opportunity”.
Judy 3

Compiled by; Christine Atira and Moses Maina