CO2balance is proud to announce the launch of our new website which coincides with our expanding role as a prominent project developer of high impact carbon projects. We will be continuing posting regularly blogging over on our new platform, available via the new website, http://www.co2balance.com.
Our new website represents what we stand for and our core values, that centre around delivering community-based carbon projects which deliver global and local impacts, providing key environmental and social benefits which contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We’ve introduced a fresh new layout and an array of new content to the website, including profiles of the countries we work in, project overviews and links to our Blog Page which showcase regular updates from our projects from the field and CO2balance news.
Sign up to our newsletter on the homepage to receive updates from us and our blog. You can now also find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, sharing photos and news from the field and CO2balance team.
Going forward, we will continue to communicate regularly through our new blog (available via our new website), social media accounts, providing new articles and notifications. We hope you take a moment to visit our new website, http://www.co2balance.com.
In 2017 the World Health Organisation estimated that 1 in 3, or 2.3 billion people, are still without sanitation facilities, whilst 844 million people still lack access to safe and clean drinking water. Lack of sanitation contributes to about 700,000 child deaths every year due to diarrhea, concentrated in developing countries.
WASH is a collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene – relating to access to safe, clean water, improved sanitation facilities and basic level of hygiene maintained. These issues are all highly interconnected, and so are combined together within this targeted ‘WASH’ approach to represent a growing sector. The benefits of having access to an improved drinking water source can only be fully realised when there is also access to improved sanitation and good hygiene practices.
Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH is a key public health issue with international development, and is the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Education and training on WASH is mandatory as part of our Safe Water Projects. With the organisations and charities with which we partner, hands-on education and training sessions are ran with the communities in which boreholes are rehabilitated and occasionally in local schools. They highlight the importance of washing equipment such as plates and cutlery with soap, personal daily hygiene routine including soap, ending open defecation and collecting water in clean and secure containers to ensure the clean water is not contaminated amongst the diverse topics covers. Demonstrations are given and then groups encouraged to participate and share information amongst their communities.
Our WASH campaigns are an essential component of our Safe Water Projects, ensuring they are high-impact for the communities involved and directly contribute to SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.
We are ready to celebrate International Day of the Tropics on the 29th June, raising awareness of the diverse challenges that vulnerable nations here face. The Tropics are the geographical regions between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, which experience little seasonal change in temperature and increasing rain seasonality with distance from the equator.
Levels of poverty here are consistently higher and more extreme than the rest of the world. According to the United Nations most of the world’s most vulnerable communities are in the Tropics. It is predicted that by 2050, the Tropics region will host most of the world’s population, and approximately two-thirds of its children.
Amongst the diverse challenges to tropical regions are climate change and deforestation. The Tropics are one of the geographical zones experiencing the impacts of climate change most severely, appearing especially sensitive to increasing temperatures and unpredictable weather. Tropical forests play an important role in global climate change, providing the essential service of carbon sequestration, storing approximately 25% of the world’s carbon. However, the rate of deforestation within tropical nations is severe. Deforestation, along with land use change in the tropics is contributing to global warming up to 20% of global carbon emissions according to the IPCCC.
Almost all of the tropical countries remained underdeveloped at the start of the 21st century. Reasons for such range from population explosion exceeding the capacity of food security, local services such as education and healthcare and natural resources, to governance, the threat of natural disasters and fragile ecosystems. Despite home to over half of the world’s renewable water resources, almost half of their population is considered vulnerable to water stress.
Our projects are located within the tropics, helping reduce carbon emissions and improve socio-economic situations within rural communities often isolated from developmental progress.
We focus on offsetting emissions through the distribution of improved, energy-efficient cookstoves into rural communities, which use significantly lower volumes of firewood, and by rehabilitating broken safe water sources to remove the need to boil unclean water for purification. They deliver environmental impacts in the form of emission reductions which are certified by the verification body the Gold Standard; as well as socio-economic impacts through empowering women within the local communities, delivering health improvements by reducing indoor air pollution and providing safe water in the respective projects.
Considered one of the most severe tropical cyclones to hit the Southern Hemisphere, tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall at the port city of Mozambique on 14th March, devastating everything in its path.
With our local partner Village Water, we were in the process of rehabilitating broken boreholes as part of a Safe Water Project within Manica Province when the cyclone hit, which washed away or damaged some of the fixed boreholes.
Now 3 months on, Village Water have been working endlessly to tackle relief and emergency efforts whilst continuing to fix boreholes for the supply of safe water to communities that were in the cyclones path.
Such communities, including Chiruca (pictured), now have a safe water source close to their homes which is safe for their families to drink, giving them a reason to smile in the aftermath of disaster.
The impacts of climate change are being felt worldwide, with weather patterns becoming more extreme and unpredictable, resulting in an increase of the risk of disastrous environmental events.
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CO2balance are currently supporting the distribution of improved cookstoves throughout the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region in Southern Ethiopia with our partner, Vita.
As part of an initiative between Vita and the CLTS Foundation, a pilot project is being implemented in 2 communities in Mirab Abaya and Arba Minch Zuria, focusing on adapting the core principles of the Community-Led Total Sanitation approach to mobilise communities to adopt clean cookstoves.
These principles are drawn from the recognition that merely introducing new technology into communities does not guarantee their use; and that for effective adoption, the community must lead the way on ensuring behavior change.
This pioneering project will explore and identify how this community led approach – which includes identifying triggering factors and developing localised roadmaps – can be adapted to cookstoves to lead to an outcome where communities are sost gulicha (traditional cookstove) free.
The project will focus on effective education and awareness raising of the severe health impacts associated from cooking on open, three-stone fires, and detailed training on how to use and maintain the improved cookstoves, hoping to support community-led behavior change and maximise use of the improved cookstoves and the benefits they deliver.
The projects actively contribute to helping achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We specifically target:
SDG3 Good Health and Wellbeing through reducing household pollution and the associated respiratory diseases
SDG 5 Gender Equality through reducing the burden of the domestic task of collecting firewood on women as the improved stoves require less fuel
SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy by increasing the distribution of improved technology to rural communities isolated from development
SDG 13 Climate Action by offsetting carbon emissions through the use of improved technology.
Today we are celebrating World Environment Day, an annual event created by the United Nations in 1974 to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Since its creation, the event has grown to become a global movement for public outreach for the need of environmental action. Each World Environment Day has a new theme and is hosted in a different country where the official celebrations take place – this years host is China, with the theme of air pollution.
Summarised from the World Environment Day website, the main source of household air pollution is the indoor burning of fossil fuels and biomass-based resources, such as firewood, to cook. Around 3.8 million premature deaths are caused by indoor air pollution annually, most in the developing world. Despite efforts to increase the prevalence of cleaner burning stoves and cleaner fuel, 3 billion continue to use solid fuels on open fires.
Across the areas we work in in developing countries, we typically come across households in rural communities using highly inefficient three-stone fires for their cooking and boiling of unsafe water for purification. These traditional fires require large amounts of firewood to do only a small amount of work due to their inefficient nature.
As a result of burning large quantities of firewood on these open fires, large volumes of carbon emissions are released contributing to climate change, as well as harmful pollutants causing significant health problems to those regularly exposed to them, such as the elderly, women and children.
Our improved cookstove carbon projects involve introducing improved technologies, such as improved cookstoves, into households through community buy-in schemes. With the help from our local partners, communities are trained how to use and maintain the stoves effectively and educated on the dangers of indoor air pollution and how the new stoves are helping tackle it. Our safe water projects involve rehabilitating safe water sources, to reduce the amount of firewood burned on three-stone fires by removing the need to purify unclean water.
Our projects directly contribute to tackling Sustainable
Development Goal 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing. Through robust monitoring and
calculations within our cookstove projects and certain water projects, we determine
the reduction in household air pollution following the project implementation,
which are certified by the verification body Gold Standard.
Millions of people are continuing to suffer from preventable diseases and many are dying prematurely – World Environment Day is helping raise awareness of this widespread problem and drive incentive for action. Through focused, community initiatives involving education and key training, the adoption of cleaner, more modern stoves and rehabilitation of broken safe water sources can reduce the risk of illnesses and save lives.
In 2010 the UN recognised access to clean drinking water a human right, ‘essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights’. Today there remains billions of people living without safe water in their homes, schools, workplaces just among a few. Marginalised groups such as women, children, elderly, disabled, refugees and indigenous people are often overlooked and face discrimination trying to access safe water. The hard reality – people are struggling to survive, unable to escape the poverty trap and live prosperous lives to their full potential.
Access to a safe water source underpins public health and wellbeing, and is therefore critical to sustainable development and a secure and thriving global population. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Safe Water and Sanitation – is clear with its primary target, ‘Water for all by 2030’. By definition and in principle of sustainable development progress benefiting everyone – this means leaving no one behind. Access to water underpins health and wellbeing and is therefore critical to sustainable development and paving the way for a stable and prosperous world.
We cannot progress as a global society while so many are living without safe water. Although some progress has been made across Africa, there remains approximately only 30% of rural populations with an improved water source within a 30-minute trip from their house. There are a multitude of reasons for people being left behind in access to safe water, from gender, ethnicity, religion, forced displacement to economic and social status to environmental degradation and climate change. Many rely on unprotected sources, open to contamination. The lack of safe water is amongst the biggest drivers of death and disease across the African continent.
To ‘leave no one behind’, there must be increased focused to include marginalised communities and societal groups discriminated against. Water services must meet their needs, and to ensure efforts are implemented sustainably, they must be included in decision-making processes.
One of the main types of projects CO2balance implement are safe water projects. Households that lack a clean, safe water source are forced to collect water from unsafe sources. As a result they must purify that unclean water to make it safe for consumption, boiling it on open, inefficient fires which require large amounts of firewood.
By repairing broken safe water sources within communities we provide thousands of people with a safe water source, and offset emissions by removing the need to boil the water.
Our projects follow a stringent ‘inclusive’ design process to maximize participation of the local stakeholders, with emphasis for reaching and involving women in the project design and decision-making processes.
We implement projects in marginalised areas, reaching communities and specifically women who are isolated from developmental progress, unable to access improved technologies and information of such. We currently have established safe water projects in Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, Eritrea, Kenya with projects being established in Zambia and Mozambique.
Considered one of the most severe tropical cyclones to hit the Southern Hemisphere, Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall at the port city of Biera, Mozambique on Thursday 14th March. Winds were reported to have exceeded 177km/h (106mph), leaving a trail of devastation as it moved inland. In its wake, Idai devastated critical infrastructure in the provinces of Sofala, Zambezia, Manica and Tete, including electricity, communication and road networks.
Many of the severely affected areas are inaccessible, cut off by extensive flooding and destroyed or disrupted transport routes, leaving hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims isolated from emergency relief efforts. Many of these inaccessible areas are uncontactable, although where contact has been made it is reported food, water and supplies are coming to the end, with only a few days worth remaining.
We are currently working on establishing safe water projects in Manica Province with not-for-profit organisation Village Water, who are currently in Mozambique on the ground working tirelessly assisting with local relief efforts and ensuring their teams on the ground are safe. The official death roll is currently at 300, although it could rise to above 1,000, with 217 confirmed in Mozambique. There are a reported 15,000 people still in need of rescue, it is unknown how many amongst these are accounted for or missing. According to our local partners working the project area, in Chimoio town in Manica Province there are 1600 now homeless people camping in 3 schools as houses have been destroyed, whilst 2km outside of the town people remain stuck in trees as the rain continues and roads and bridges have been swept away. Dombe has been severely hit with virtually impossible road access and no communications, with 50 people reported dead already.
Access into rural communities remains incredibly difficult and our rehabilitation efforts are likely to be delayed. Yet, unfortunately, following this disaster an increasing number of people are now without access to safe water as fully working safe water sources have now been swept away.
More than ever, the provision of clean water in the disaster-stricken regions is vital. From standing flood water, high numbers of unrecovered causalities and pollution from destroyed infrastructure and vehicles, water-borne diseases will be rife and ground water supplies contaminated. Affected people are reported to be drinking unchlorinated well water due to the lack of safe, accessible options. The entire populations of affected areas are vulnerable within a disaster like this, although the young, pregnant and old are more susceptible to the associated risks, making the provision of safe water essential.
As extensive flooding continues, and more rain expected over the coming days, our thoughts are with those most affected, relief workers and members of society donating their time and energy to help the devastated regions. There is likely to be a long road ahead to recovery in Mozambique, and CO2balance are committed to continuing our efforts to provide safe water in Manica Province.
Mahlet (28) lives with her husband and three young children (aged 3-9) in Birbir town in Mirab Abaya woredas. She is amongst the many unemployed high school graduates in the area. The only income earned is by her husband from hard daily labor, roughly 30 ETB/day (approx. 82p), which is insufficient to cover the basic necessities for the family, including food, clothing, medication, school fees and equipment.
In 2017 co2balance with Vita (an Irish NGO working on the ground in Ethiopia) launched an improved cookstove carbon-offset project in Mirab Abaya and Chencha woredas.
As well as displacing carbon emissions, our projects also support the local economy and empower women in the project country, tackling key developmental hindrances. As such, the project provided technical training to two local women’s enterprise groups, teaching them how to construct improved cookstoves. The project also provided financial and management training, teaching the women well-rounded, transferable skills. Following training and support, their production capacity increased from 10 to 40 stoves a day.
One of the enterprises is ‘Bemenet Mirt Improved Cookstove Producing Enterprise’ that comprises of 10 previously unemployed women. Overall, the enterprise has supplied over 2000 improved cookstoves on a subsidised system. With a rate of 180 ETB percook stove (approx. £4.80), the enterprise has earned a gross income of 360,000 ETB (approx. £9770.00). Mahlet has been elected as the chair of this enterprise, managing the women and finances. Mahlet and the other women members share the dividend monthly, earning a monthly income.
The project has changed Mahlet and her family’s lives, providing a secure job, training and income. Outside of her duty in the enterprise, she has progressed with her education, and has graduated with a diploma in business administration. The additional income has allowed her family to build a new, beautiful house, which they have wanted to do for a long time. Mahlet and her husband are now leading a successful life, able to afford food, medication when needed, clothes and school uniforms and equipment for her children.
Mahlet and the Enterprise are
now planning for the future and aim to purchase a vehicle to offer cookstove
distribution services, as well as exploring the possibility of expanding the
enterprises’ activities to include the production of bricks for the
construction of buildings in the local community.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
In 2016 the UN launched SDGs, a set of 17 measurable goals which together form a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The project contributes to many of the SDGs, in particular:
Our improved cookstove projects have a range of positive impacts, not only to the project beneficiaries who receive the stoves, but to women who, through support from the project, produce the cookstoves for distribution.
Abebech lives in Dorze Kebele, in the Chencha region of Ethiopia. She is 36, and married with four children, two of which are very young. She is a user of the Dorze Borehole which was repaired and since maintained by co2balance in 2017 in partnership with NGO Vita.
“Before the project my children and I had to spend 2-3 hours a day collecting water from the Shayne River, the only water source nearby as our local borehole was broken. To make the river water safe for my family we had to spend up to 6 hours collecting firewood, 3-4 days per week to purify the water. Villagers often had bad diarrhea and other diseases from drinking unsafe water from the Shayne River. To get better people had to spend many hours waiting in health facilities and buy medication using up a lot of their money”.
“The borehole project has really changed my life in
“The Dorze Borehole was broken for three years before co2balance repaired and began maintaining it in 2017. It has now been verified as safe drinking water from water quality testing. The project has helped me and the local community greatly”.
“I am one of the WASHCO committee members of this borehole and have gained key skills from training in water point administration, water hygiene, sanitation activities and women self-help income generating activities”.
“I have been empowered through the training I have received from the Borehole Project. I collect and deposit small fees from community members partaking in the borehole scheme. We each pay 1 Ethiopian Birr for 40 litres into a community fund and save this money for if we need to repair the Borehole”.
“Before the project my whole family, in particular my children, would get sick almost every month with diseases from drinking unsafe water, sometimes near death with severe diarrhea, costing us 420 Birr per month buying medicine. From the project, we have saved 4800 Birr per year which would have been spent buying medication to save my family. Now we spend only 495 Birr per year and save a lot more money. My children are now able to attend school for longer due to having a closer water source and no further need to collect wood for water purification”.
“The project also connected me with the Kebele Omo Microfinance Institute, and I am now able to borrow money to help me create a sustainable livelihood. I was able to borrow 2000 Birr to start poultry rearing for additional income. I earn 30 Birr per pay, resulting in more than 10,000 Birr per year from selling eggs. My husband now makes traditional Clothes and gets 800 Birr per week, about 40,000 Birr per year”.
“The Borehole project has transformed my family life,
we have better living conditions than ever before. My family is healthy and
strong, we now drink pure water and eat a balanced diet. We now have additional
income from selling eggs and chickens. With the extra income we have moved from
our small hut to a more modern house with corrugated iron sheet cover. We can
also afford the school materials such as exercise books, pencils and uniforms”.
Now other women in the village are eager to participate in the WASHCO committee to empower and educate themselves, access safe, accessible water for their families and put them in the position to access microfinance to help them access income generating activities to support themselves and their families.
In 2016, the UN launched their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 measurable goals which together form a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The project contributes to many of the SDGs, in particular Goals 3, 5, 6 and 13, proactively tackling women empowerment, good health and well-being, access clean water in the poorest communities trapped in poverty and offset climate emissions.