Before the last four years moving most if not all households in Shimba Hills (Maungu, Kasighau, Golini and Muhaka) in Taita Taveta and Kwale Counties were using traditional three-stone fireplace for cooking. During that period women used to spend an average of 15 hours per week collecting fuel wood from local forests in the larger Shimba Hills area for home use. Poverty rate around Shimba Hills is above 50 percent and unemployment above 25 percent. This called for a simple and affordable efficient stove technology to reduce wood consumption and preserve unique vegetation and biodiversity within the region. And that’s how Carbon Zero came into the area and with the support of local leaders in consultation with local community members implemented an energy efficient cook stove project. The project therefore identified the efficient CZK cook stove as an appropriate technology for this region.
The CZK stove is 50 – 60 percent more efficient than the three-stone stove. The project has been lauded by local community members as a life changer and a great step in the right direction. Some of the impacts and benefits of the projects so far include;
- A majority of households in Shimba Hills area have benefitted from better air and from having to spend less time for collecting firewood
- Over 8,000 efficient cook stoves were installed in the area
- Most women have been able to create time to engage in other economic activities raising their income and living standard of their families
- A large percentage of beneficiaries say that indoor air quality has improved
- Each stove avoids about 3,2 t CO2 and 2 tons wood per year
- The project has so far saved massive tonnes of firewood
After four years since the stoves were distributed and optimally being used some started developing cracks and this led to the need to plan and repair and maintain them. The local community members having enjoyed the benefits of the stoves through Carbon Zero field staff send their requests which were positively received and a decision to repair all the damaged stoves made.
One of the stove beneficiaries was quoted saying “…I have been so happy for the last four years I have had my improved CZK stove. And now that it’s cracked I request for it to be fixed as my life seems to be hitting a wall. I can’t imagine using a three stone stove a gain. Before I got the CZK stove I had to go to the forest every day, which is a 15-20km walk with all the heavy wood on my head. Now I only have to go to the forest twice a week. Who wouldn’t want that? That’s the life every woman would want to live.’’
Early this month we took time and assessed all stoves in the region- over 8000 stoves and identified about 300 stoves that needed quick action, of which we repaired and ensured that the owners are able to continue enjoying their services.
This has not only left the stove beneficiaries happy but as ensured that the stoves will continuously be utilized fully for the domestic cooking roles. The benefits associated with the stove usage will continuously be enjoyed by the stove owners. New members in the community are thirsty for the day they will also own the Carbon Zero stove.
In the vast county of Taita-Taveta, a small village of Kajire in Sagalla location thrives. And here we meet up with women from Kajire women group who have gathered for their monthly merry go round. With smiles and excitement on their faces they welcome us to their sitting. We introduce ourselves and we begin our small discussion on their experience using the Carbon Zero improved cook stove and its bigger impact in fighting climate change. Caroline Kwida who is one of the oldest members stands out, at her age of 76, she still has a lot to offer to the mother nature. With her advice and suggestion she captures the minds of her fellow members as she tells them about the Carbon Zero stove and how it has improved her lifestyle.
You see, Caroline lives with her 85 year old husband and her cooking area is inside her two roomed house. As she explains how smoke used to affect her and her aged husband giving them all sorts of respiratory infections and itchiness that would not stop in their half blind eyes, she could not be more grateful for the benefits of the carbon zero stove. She used to spend a lot of time fetching firewood now she says it takes her less than thirty minutes to gather firewood for her daily meals. Before getting the improved stove she used to spare not less than three hours daily just searching for fuel wood. The women are clearly amazed at this wonder stove and we request Caroline if she could be kind enough to invite us to her kitchen home which she quickly obliges. Not more than five hundred meters from the meeting place we arrive at her well kept homestead. She welcomes us in and starts to prepare us some tea so that we can also experience how fast the CZK stove cooks.
We ask what she does with the extra time now that she spends time looking for firewood and he gladly shows us her flock of ducks, she now has enough time to spend with her husband taking care of him in his old age and also take care of her flock of ducks which is her main source of income. Our tea is done in no time and the group members are very impressed. As we finish we cannot help but to wonder how this aged couple would have survived without the highly efficient CZK stove. Caroline and her fellow members are forever grateful for the introduction by Co2 balance of a life saving project. With a smile on our faces and confidence high up we take our leave to the next household.
Surveys are conducted to uncover answers to specific, important questions that are varied, cover a diverse range of topics, and can be asked in multiple formats. Surveys also help to know the impact of a project and serves the purpose of informing decision makers what impact the project has had on the target community. Accordingly, along with other strategies such as use of control groups, it also helps in attributing change in the target population to the project.
As a requirement of the Gold Standard, co2balance conducts monitoring exercises from time to time for purposes of improving the project and keeping it in line with its objectives. These surveys are done annually in randomly selected households and all the work is done with respect and consideration for the local community at all times.
All monitoring studies are recorded on a hard copy which the monitoring team transfers into digital format for analysis documentation and reporting.
Co2balance with its NGO partner WAACHA recently carried out this year’s surveys in the Eastern district of Kaliro and through that were able to generate lots of positive feedback from the community. 3 years down the road, they have continued to use the water and are happy with its quality and yield. Frequent chlorination and water quality testing has also guaranteed them of safe clean water.
Different surveys ranging from project surveys, sustainable development and water usage surveys are carried out.
Here are some pictures from the surveys.
Expanding on its successful activities in Northern Uganda, Co2balance has just listed a group of 12 new Gold Standard Projects in the Lango Sub-Region.
The ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ seeks to increase access to safe water supply for thousands of households within the six districts of Dokolo, Otuke, Alebtong, Kole, Lira and Oyam. Focusing on boreholes, the project will utilize a variety of zero-emission technologies like hand-pumps or solar-powered pumps to provide water in rural communities. With over 45% of the rural population in Uganda relying on unprotected and easily contaminated water sources like rivers, lakes or open wells, the project shall reduce the need for water purification and the combustion of firewood.
Unprotected water collection point in Alebtong District.
In the Lango region, many boreholes have fallen into disrepair because maintenance proved too expensive or programs have been poorly managed. Co2balance will use carbon finance to work with community groups to deliver a long-term rehabilitation and maintenance program. Stakeholders are currently invited to provide their feedback towards the project until the middle of October.
Broken Solar Power Borehole in Alebtong District
Damaged Water Tank
A short post to introduce myself and express how happy and thankful I am to have joined such a nice team. I started at Co2balance a bit more than two weeks ago and it has been a great learning experience so far. I am truly impressed at how much is accomplished by such a small team. It reflects how dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable people are here. I am looking forward to interacting with the rest of you over the next few months and contribute to some of the great work that is being carried out.
A bit more on my background, I recently graduated with a MSc in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University in Sweden, after having completed an undergraduate degree in business. The place I call home is France, Montpellier in the South to be more precise, but I kind of feel home wherever the “wind takes me” like we often say in French. I have a passion for learning languages and traveling, which has led me to move around quite a lot in the past six years, mostly in Asia. Other than that, I enjoy fitness/running and photography. Below is a picture of me at a camel festival in Pushkar, India around 4 years ago.
Approximately three billion people across the globe cook every day using open, three-stone fires or rudimentary traditional stoves. Cooking with these traditional cook stoves is inefficient and grossly polluting, harming health and the environment, and contributing to global warming. In many places worldwide, women must walk for hours to collect firewood, risking their safety and sacrificing energy and time that could be used to earn a living. While often overlooked as a major contributor to the global burden of disease, cooking over open fires indoors is the largest environmental health risk in developing countries i.e. Kenya.
In Kenya the case is not different, many households can relate with the simple and accessible mode of cooking. For decades, women have been using this cooking style not knowing the danger that they expose themselves to.
To curb these menace Carbon Zero has developed various improved cook stove models that suit the needs of different local communities with higher efficiencies that have been able to cut down on the amount of fuel used and reducing the time spent cooking allowing women some free time to engage in other income generating activities. Carbon Zero stoves have enabled women to cook with less than a half of the wood they used to use on wasteful three stone fires and in much less time. This saves lives because less wood means less smoke and thus less disease.
In the Western part of Kenya in Kisumu Carbon Zero has distributed over 10,000 improved cook stoves. Among the stove models distributed in the area was a brick rocket stove that locals have over time complimented for its good service. The rocket stove was the first cook stove to be built in Kisumu East region as part of the pilot project to be used in the rural settlement, where wood used for cooking had led to the immense deforestation of trees. The liner effect on the stove creates a highly efficient, largely smoke-free burn.
Mrs. Abigael Awour who is 65 years old lives in Rapogi village in Kisumu county were she has been married for the past 35 years and stays with her daughter and 2 grand children. She is a beneficiary of the rocket stove and we seek to get her opinion on the stove after using it for the last four or so years. With a smile she narrates that “Before receiving the brs cook stove, I had the traditional three stone open fire cook stove, which consumed a lot of fuel and I had to cut down most of the trees I planted so that I could sustain my family. I stay with my grand children who are very young which means I had to cook several meals a day and it was devastating because it was time consuming, very expensive, I also developed health complications, severe back pains and was on a lot of painkillers because I had to bend while cooking since the stove is practically on the ground and cannot be raised.”
She further adds that “After receiving the Rocket Stove I have seen a lot of changes especially in matters that deal with health because I no longer cough a lot due to the smoke reduction since I dry my wood completely and my back pain is no longer severe. The stove was done by professionals who considered all ages; I can now sit down and cook comfortably without straining, save money since I don’t need too much drugs for the back pain, now I have time to do farming and from the savings from firewood I buy maize seeds. Also the stoves retain heat so I only cook twice a day and leave the food warm on the stove for anyone to consume. Now it’s not necessary to cut down a tree to cook, all you need is a few small branches. Energy saving stoves are of great importance to our community, says Rhoda, one of the youth volunteers on the project. The stove saves 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 and for me the rocket stove form Carbon Zero is the best thing that ever happened to women in Rapogi.”
Compiled by Christine Atira and Moses Maina
“My name is Omara George aged 49 and I live in Dokolo District. I am a user of the Aminoleke borehole that was rehabilitated by co2balance in 2013. Before the borehole was fixed, my family used to walk long distances in search of water and would collect it from the swamps because the only alternative source was too far away. Having a large family meant we had to collect water twice a day to meet our needs. I was also afraid that my wife and daughters could be attacked or raped while they were collecting water especially during the evening hours since we still had rebel activities in our village. The water we drank was always dirty and I worried my children would become sick with typhoid or other water borne diseases that are common in this area. Our lives have improved so much since the borehole was repaired; the water yield is always good and clean, and most of all I am happy because my family are safe and have more time for going to school and the farm. We are very happy with the project and grateful for all the help you have provided us.”
“My name is Ogwang Paul, I am 11 years old and I fetch water from Atek B borehole. I am happy that we now have a borehole close to our house that provides clean water. We no longer have to go to the lake to fetch water like before. I used to wake up at 5am and go with my siblings to fetch water before going to school. This greatly affected my studies because we were always late for school and missed the first lessons. This greatly affected our performance in school. Now that we have a working borehole close to us, we can fetch water and get to school on time. I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”
Purency Altero Okori aged 60 is a resident of Akwangi village and a user of Akwangi borehole which was rehabilitated and is being maintained by co2balance.
“I live a few meters away from the borehole and this has made my daily life easy. I am able to do my housework on time and still go to the market and attend to my stall where I sell vegetables to earn some extra income for my family. I no longer have to boil the water we drink as the water collected from the borehole is clean and safe since water treatment is done frequently. That means I no longer collect so much firewood for use at home.”
“My name is Adongo Fiona, I am 13 years old and I study in Telela Primary school. I am in level 3 and my best subject is science. I want to be a nurse when I finish school. I am happy for this borehole because I no longer have to travel long distances to collect water for our household. We no longer suffer from diseases like diarrhea and typhoid because the water is clean.
Thank you for this water.”