Cooking is a very simple art but with far reaching effects to millions of people under the sun. It is estimated that globally more than three billion people currently rely on solid fuels. Most of this wood is collected from forests. Worst of all is that in Africa, burden of wood fuel collection still lies on women and girls who need to shoulder effects that come with it i.e. walking for long distances and exposure to many risks including; animal attacks, rape etc.
In the effort to liberate women and empower them while at the same mitigating Climate change and indoor air pollution in Kenya Carbon Zero Kenya has continued promoting the use of clean energy and improving community livelihoods. In the Mathira east project, the company continues to advocate and champion adoption of clean and energy efficient cook stoves not only to campaign against green house gas emissions but also improving the lives of the community both economically and socially. Notable features of the Carbon Zero stove is in its state- of –the- art construction technology which highly contributes to over 50 % energy saving by use of lesser fuel as well as lesser smoke emissions due a longer combustion chamber which allows for complete combustion of gases.
Margret Gathoni is an Elder in Thagana village in Mathira sub-county of the central region of Kenya, one of the Carbon Zero cook stove project areas. She has been with CZK team since the issuance of CZK ICS, through to education of beneficiaries .She liaised with other area leaders within her sub county and project officers to ensure the her community members take advantage of the project by getting rid of all three stone stoves in exchange of the improved cook stoves distributed in the area by Carbon Zero. In this locality, wood fuel is a scarce commodity and the cost has risen as more and more forests were being cleared for wood fuel.
Gathoni has been a key role model in her community through active mobilizing women to form Self Help Groups under the umbrella of Carbon Zero project, Mathira. In these groups, women are educated on the benefits that come by use of carbon zero stoves, and the importance of conserving our forests.
Gathini says that many women since acquiring the ICS have been freed, and rather than spend too much time in the forests looking for firewood they are now able to actively engage in income generating activities boosting their family’s revenues. She further says that most women have enough time to fully participate in other development activities and not just searchers of wood fuel as the case was before. And this has made women more productive. She says that many women in the area are now doing mixed farming, while others are in small businesses. She adds that this has empowered women as they are able to contribute towards the family needs as well unlike before when women could hardly do anything else since they would spend most of their time looking for wood fuel which wasted a lot of time impoverishing them and their families.
Projections for climate change indicate that it will increase the fuelwood-stress in the developing nations if not managed through technology i.e. increase adoption of ICS. With further reduction of forests for farming, urbanization and firewood the role for women as wood searchers is going to be more of an uphill battle. And for this reason Carbon Zero continues to work with rural communities in Kenya to help fight climate change and this social dimension challenge that affects engagement of women in development activities.
The Uganda projects have continued to register success in providing safe clean water to the communities through the rehabilitation and maintenance of boreholes hence reduced dependency on firewood to boil their drinking water. This has been made possible by the partnership and continuous support from companies like MediaCom and Toshiba TEC through its Toshiba CarbonZero scheme.
At the close of October, MediaCom and Toshiba TEC accompanied by Mark Simpson and Paul Chiplen traveled over 4000 miles to come and visit the Lango safe Water projects in Northern Uganda with the purpose of learning more about the projects and meeting the communities benefiting from the clean water from these boreholes.
Co2balance office in Lira District
Toshiba, MediaCom and co2balance team at the Lira field offices
They were able to visit a number of boreholes in the districts of Kole and Otuke – part of the Lango areas where the projects are. The community engagement was very positive as they were able to learn more on how these boreholes have impacted on the lives of the people. The beneficiaries/water users appreciated the companies for the continuous support through great entertainment and hospitality in form of singing, dancing and passing a direct vote of thanks.
Goi B borehole water users’ welcome
The teams walk to the borehole
Goi B women’s group
Women’s group performs a traditional welcome song
Performance for the teams
Paul addressing the community during community engagement
Welcome at Barabolo borehole
Community engagement at Barabolo
Mark Simpson poses with a water user
In addition to visiting the boreholes, they were also able to visit Abari Primary school, one of the beneficiaries of the Lango Safe Water project and CSR projects that were enrolled last year to provide solar lighting and health sensitization to schools in some of the project areas.
Abari P.school students perform a welcome dance
A parent at Abari school extends a vote of thanks to co2balance, MediaCom and the Toshiba teams
A pupil demonstrates handwashing skills learn in the WASH sensitization
The trip was concluded with a visit to the great Murchison Falls National park – pictures tell it all.
On behalf of co2balance, thank you MediaCom and Toshiba TEC for the continuous support.
The Carbon Zero Kenya Aberdares ICS project started in the year 2011, with 10,200 stoves being distributed. Since then company invested in community awaress creation that so locals embrace the use the ICS thus moving from using 3-stone stoves (traditional stoves) to carbon zero improved cook stoves. Speaking to various stove beneficiaries the Carbon Zero ICS have led the community spending less of their time fetching firewood, visiting Kereita forest to collect firewood, spending less money on buying firewood but rather they spend much of their money and time doing other income generating activities improving their livelihood.
According to Mary Njoki 65 years, one of our stove beneficiaries from Bathi Village , a single mother of six children, the carbon zero stove has really helped her in saving time and money because before the introduction of carbon zero stoves in the area she used to spend much of her time visiting Kereita forest everyday collecting firewood which is about 3km from her place, spending like 5hrs in a day (she used to go at 7:00am and coming back at 11:00am when the sun is less hot) but since she received carbon zero stove, she only visits kereita forest once per week because the stove is more efficient and uses less firewood. She also added that the time she previously spent collecting firewood she nowadays uses it to concentrate with her farming activities i.e. planting carrots, kales, potatoes, cabbages and pruning peas trees and also spending some of her income from farming to educate her grandchildren.
Mary Njoki added to say that, “I can testify that carbon zero stoves produce less soot/smokes as compared to 3-stone stoves which her neighbor Mama Grace uses everyday causing more problems on her family’s health (flu, coughing and eye irritation), causing her iron sheets discolor easily since 3-stone stoves use more firewood which is also poorly burnt as compared to carbon zero stoves which uses 2-3 small pieces of wood producing less soot”.
From Mary’s opinion she can add that carbon zero stoves saves more on time, money and even school pupils they don’t spend much of their time on collecting firewood after school but rather they spend much of their time concentrating on their studies even in class because they don’t have to think about firewood collection since one bundle collected on Saturday can be used for long time.