Final Kenya Cookstove Verification and CSR Project Visit

In April I travelled to Kenya to visit three cookstove projects that we have in the counties of Meru, Mathira and Eldoret with the CarbonZero Kenya team. In addition, I also went to see two CSR projects that co2balance are implementing for a client in the Aberdare’s county which will involve the restoration of community dispensaries which provide consultancy and medicines for minor illnesses.

CSR Dispensaries

The two dispensaries included in the CSR project include Escarpment Dispensary and Mbau-Ini Dispensary. Both dispensaries receive an average of up to 30 patients a day and over 600 patients per month. They act as the first point of medical contact for local communities and treat common illnesses such as malaria, common flu and cold, skin conditions and provide vaccinations for children.

The restoration work for the clinics is very similar. Both will receive building repairs including new floors, painting of internal and external walls. Both will also have new latrines installed which will provide more hygienic toilets for visitors to the clinics and the staff.

Land around the two dispensaries will be reclaimed for productive purposes including growing vegetables and providing safe environment for children to play in the grounds. Fences around the dispensaries will be repaired to increase security for the stored medicines and to keep animals away.

I am excited to see the clinics once the restoration works are finished. It is surprising how some colourful paint and a neater outside area can completely change the look of a building and make it more welcoming for patients.

Final Cookstove Project Verifications

While in Kenya we also visited three cookstove project areas in Meru, Mathira and Eldoret. It was interesting to see the contrast between the geographies of the areas and the different housing materials used.

Cookstove beneficiaries were very grateful for the stoves and a lot of the ones we saw were in excellent condition which is fantastic given some are more than 7 years old! People have really looked after the stoves and the main reason for this is that they use less wood fuel compared to traditional stove alternatives. Therefore maintaining the stove means that people spend less time collecting wood fuel for cooking.

In addition, the stoves are more efficient in transferring fuel to heat meaning they cook food faster which coincides with people’s lifestyles in the villages who make majority of their income from agriculture and are required to be out in their fields for a large part of the day.

To summarise, I would like to say a big thank you to the staff at the dispensaries who work hard to keep the local communities in good health and thanks to the cookstove beneficiaries who welcomed us into their homes and offered us delicious bananas. Furthermore, I would like to say a huge thank you to the CarbonZero team in Kenya who do fantastic work and who made the trip so enjoyable and provided the best company for my two weeks in Kenya.

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COP23 Commitments

Last week in Bonn, Germany, the latest round of United Nations Climate negotiations were hosted by Fiji. The talks brought together 197 Parties to progress the implementation of the Paris Agreement starting in 2020. The overarching themes of the negotiations included getting on track towards the Paris Agreement objectives and ultimately achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, something the Gold Standard has formally recognised in its new guidelines – Gold Standard for the Global Goals.

Key actions at COP23 included Syria announcing it would sign the Paris Agreement. The UK and Canada also lead a new initiative to phase out coal use for electricity generation. Traditional coal powered plants are significant contributors to climate change and impose localised negative pollution effects. Eradicating the use of coal is needed by 2030 for developed nations and no later than 2050 for developing countries in order to meet the critical limit of 1.5°C set in the Paris Agreement.

Fortunately, the plummeting cost of generating electricity from renewables makes clean growth a more viable option for many jurisdictions. This can be helped further by more finance being directed towards climate action. This gathered a lot of attention at COP23 with many country members announcing funds to support the poorest and most vulnerable countries negatively affected by climate change.

Overall, the conference made important progress on implementing the Paris agreement with the international community pledging to take more ambitious action to mitigate climate change. We look forward to the next round of talks, COP24, which takes place in December 2018 in Poland.

Introducing myself

Hi everyone, I’m Ilona and I am a newly appointed member of the co2balance UK based team in Taunton. My role as Carbon Projects Officer has stretched two weeks now and I already feel welcomed and excited to work with such a knowledgeable team holding expertise in the management of carbon offset projects internationally. I’m really passionate about mitigating climate change and more importantly, providing environmental, economic and social benefits to developing communities through co2balance projects.

I have recently finished an MSc in Agricultural Economics at the University of Reading where I focused on climate change and development in sub-Saharan Africa. My dissertation, which looked at the social impacts of gender in rural communities in Uganda, has helped me to understand the daily challenges faced by rural men and women – knowledge which I can apply when assessing the benefits of small projects which frequently have large positive impacts!

I’m really looking forward to working on projects which transition the lives of local communities and provide vulnerable people with water and cooking facilities, in addition to containing measurable emissions reductions. Working with the team so far has been very enjoyable and I hope to continue to learn from them and get up to speed with on-going projects, and meet the overseas staff in the future.

My hobbies outside of work are cycling, mountain walking and practicing the French language. I hope to be writing on the blog again soon with some co2balance project updates. Until then, below is a picture of me with the first tree I planted in Cornwall in 2016.

blog pic