An Introduction

Hello all. I am James, a new Carbon Projects Officer at co2balance in the Taunton office. I started working here three weeks ago, and so far it has been very enjoyable and I am learning a lot about the Gold Standard and carbon financing. Thank you to the whole team, in the UK, Uganda and Kenya, who have all been very welcoming.

In late 2017 I finished my MSc in environmental management at the University of the West of England, where I focused on water and sanitation in developing countries and worked closely with the International Water Security Network. For my thesis I conducted primary social research in Kisoro, Uganda. This was the first field trial outside the UK of “Pee-power”, a Gates Foundation funded system that creates electricity from organic matter in urine, which we installed in an all girls boarding school. As well as conducting surveys and focus groups with the students, I worked with the Diocese’s WatSan department to survey ferro-cement rainwater harvesting tanks. After this I worked on an elephant reintroduction project in northern Thailand, where I took volunteers on treks to collect data on elephants that previously worked in logging or tourist camps.

Prior to this I studied law for my undergraduate and worked in the finance industry in foreign exchange and operational risk. However, my love for field work and international development inspired me to change my career. Since then I have worked on conservation and community projects in India, Uganda, England and Thailand.

Outside of work I enjoy trail running, football, trekking and climbing. In September 2018 I am competing in my first ultra-marathon on Ben Nevis, Scotland.

I am really excited to be part of the team at co2balance, and look forward to developing carbon offsetting projects that benefit the lives of local communities, the local environment and the global climate.

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Here I am with some friends having climbed Mount Muhabura in Kisoro, Uganda.

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Pauline Vialatte’s visit to Uganda

Following the recent partnership between Co2balance and EcoAct Group, a company that provides unique expertise in planning for and implementing positive change in response to climate and carbon challenges, we had the privilege of hosting their Consultant – Pauline Vialatte.

Pauline who was visiting Uganda for the very first time had the chance to visit the projects under VPA 74 in Northern Uganda to learn more about the borehole projects. The purpose of her visit was to gain more experience and understanding of the projects and its impacts/benefits to the communities. Under VPA 74, she was able to visit 8 boreholes and have community engagement with the beneficiaries.

During the community engagements, the water users shared the changes they have experienced since clean safe water was brought to the heart of the community. They spelt out benefits including but not limited to improved health, sanitation and hygiene, enough spare time to engage in other income generating activities, increased school enrollment for the girl child since they no longer have to travel long distances in search of water and wood fuel. They also gave testimonies of the different activities they have been able to engage in as a result of the time saved from collecting water from distant water points.

Pauline visited some of the old unsafe water sources that were being used by the communities before the rehabilitation of the boreholes.

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Pauline looks at one of the old water sources previously used by Anyonomac community

She was also able to visit different households and learn more about their adaptation to  climate change and scarcity of wood fuel. This included how they are moving from cooking using open three-stone fires to more improved methods.

At the end of her trip, Pauline received several gifts on behalf of EcoAct Group from the borehole users as a sign of great appreciation for her visit.