Uncovering Success; getting feedback directly from project beneficiaries in the rural communities

Many of us wake up every morning and go to work; we do everything possible to ensure we attain results – tangible results for that matter. But how do we tell if development projects we tirelessly implement have impacted people’s lives?

At this point I need to introduce my Company and what we do. I work for Carbon Zero Kenya an environmental project developer with more than 7 years experience implementing energy efficient stove projects. In close cooperation with our UK partner Co2balance UK Ltd – CZK has distributed approximately 62,000 improved cook stoves throughout East Africa. These projects have helped local communities improve their standards of living across environmental, social and economic domains, by minimizing long journeys spent collecting wood fuel, reducing deforestation, providing local employment opportunities and most importantly reducing health hazards.

Ver. May  1

Late last month we made visits to our project areas in Aberdares, Nyeri, Kisumu and Eldoret and the responses we got from the beneficiaries were so promising moving into the future. We visited many households with our improved cook stoves and met women who narrated over and over again how the stoves have drastically helped reduce the demand for firewood and thus protecting local forests, which in a bigger picture leads to reduced CO2 emissions. The women further explained how the Carbon Zero efficient cook stoves have enabled a superior and more efficient combustion process, which has improved the air quality within their respective homes.

ver. May 2

A majority of the beneficiaries we met reported less smoke, less eye irritations, ease to breathe while cooking, less coughing and less suffering from headache. They further noted that besides improvements in environmental impact and health of women and children, the distribution of the efficient cook stoves have led to immense social and economical development.  They can save money which would otherwise have been consumed by firewood to invest in other vital family needs i.e. paying school fees for their kids. The stories uncovered successes of our cook stove projects beyond our imagination.

Ver. May 3

Some women noted with that the carbon zero improved cook stoves are safe, stable and dramatically reducing the time, cost, and danger associated with collecting fuel from risky forests.  With all these positive feedback from our project beneficiaries we were able to get back to our initial question; how do we tell if development projects we tirelessly implement have impacted people’s lives?  These responses gave us a clear picture – they answered the question very well and to this effect we can only aim to do more to reach as many more areas. Many times we have understood the reduction in wood use from using our improved cook stoves but with this visit to we are now able to understand both the intended and unintended impacts of our projects.

 

 

 

May Field Visit……..

Last month Lucas and I had the chance to visit our project areas in the districts of Kole, Alebtong, Dokolo, Otuke and Kaliro. While there we carried out many activities that ranged from conducting a local stakeholder consultation meeting for a new borehole rehabilitation project, a visit to the Ministry of Water district office – Lira branch, the newly rehabilitated boreholes in Kaliro and also a variety of different water supply schemes in Kabarole district.

Our first event was holding the local stakeholder consultation meeting with local stakeholders in which we sought their opinion on the projects’ design and social and environmental impacts; this was an essential step in implementing the project in which the local community has ownership – thereby maximising the chances of successful adoption.

The meeting was very successful, with stakeholders actively engaging with the project and participating in discussions. The stakeholders said that they found the meeting useful and informative, and the majority of feedback concerning the project was very positive.

We later moved to the Eastern part of Uganda and visited Kaliro District where CO2balance recently rehabilitated 10 broken down boreholes. With the help of our partners WAACHA and local hand pump mechanics, the boreholes were all functioning very well and the communities had all been sensitized on WASH during our annual training programmes.

Another region visited was the Western part of Uganda and while there, we met with a local organisation (HEWASA) a branch of Caritas that specializes in Water, Sanitation and Health among other activities. They gave us a lot of insight on the different water technologies that are being installed in the Kabarole region such as rainwater harvesting systems and gravity flow schemes which are an ideal solution due to its mountainous nature.