CO2balance intend to develop a series of new borehole projects under the GS1247 Improved Kitchen Regimes Multi-Country PoA in northern Uganda (Alebong, Otuke, Dokolo, Kole and Oyam Districts). As part of this process we are interested in receiving feedback during the early stages of our project design and are inviting any interested parties including international NGOs, local policy makers and community members who will benefit from the projects, to attend the Gold Standard stakeholder consultation at Omoro Town Council, Alebtong District on 6th May 2016, 9:00am.
The meeting provides a great opportunity to raise interest and seek the opinions of a variety of groups on the project’s design, which we believe is a crucial step to enhancing community ownership and ensuring that the projects are well received.
For more information about the project and venue please see the invite and project summary below. If you would like to attend or have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.
CO2balance are pleased to announce that our first two borehole VPAs in Kaliro District, Uganda, have been issued under the Gold Standard. For the past two years, we have worked closely with local NGO WAACHA and district water mechanics to rehabilitate broken down boreholes and implement a long term maintenance programme that ensures the provision of clean water to communities for at least 7 years. An important part of the programme is community sensitization and engagement, which involves training the borehole caretakers and water resource committees on the key aspects of borehole maintenance and hygiene. We recognise that creating a sense of ownership among the community members is a crucial element to the success of the projects.
WAACHA and CO2balance conducting a WASH meeting in Madibira under a jackfruit tree
Educating children from Saaka school on the importance of borehole hygiene
Since 2013, CO2balance has been developing a number of borehole rehabilitation projects in Uganda under the Gold Standard voluntary carbon offset scheme. After almost 2 years, we are glad to announce that 4 VPAs in the Lango sub-region (Dokolo, Alebtong and Otuke Districts) have recently issued carbon credits for the first time. This is a major achievement for everyone that has been involved in the projects, in particular our staff in Uganda who have worked extensively with the communities and other local stakeholders to garner support and ensure that there is participation at all levels. Although this may seem straightforward, in practice there are a plethora of challenges that need to be negotiated especially when operating in such remote and poverty stricken environments.
Between 1987 and 2007, the Lango sub-region was subject to countless human rights atrocities by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which has had long lasting impacts on the social and economic fabric of the affected areas . It is estimated that over 20,000 children were abducted by the LRA many of whom were forced to commit horrific acts of violence. Around 1 million people fled their homes and ended up moving to temporary camps for the internally displaced (IDPs). The prolonged period of conflict inevitably led to the deterioration of institutions and basic services. All the challenges related to rebuilding a war-torn region are evident, from stabilising the economy and restoring infrastructure to reintegrating former members of the LRA and addressing human rights abuses.
Memorial Site for the 2004 LRA Massacre in Otuke District
Building a biogas plant for a local school in Barlonyo
Over the last 3 years, CO2balance has rehabilitated 41 boreholes in the Lango sub-region which supply clean water to over 20,000 people who previously relied on open water sources such as lakes and ponds. As local governments lack sufficient funds for water infrastructure, these projects are playing a small but important role in the region’s post conflict development.
CO2balance realises that community participation is crucial to the long term success of its projects
One of CO2balance’s rehabilitated boreholes in the Lango sub-region
CO2balance are pleased to announce the registration of a second borehole rehabilitation project in Kaliro District (GS3563) under the global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA). Together with the support from the local NGO Women’s alliance and Children Affairs (WAACHA), CO2balance works closely with a range of stakeholders such as district officials, mechanics and community leaders in order to ensure that our projects benefit the most vulnerable people. During my last visit to Kaliro, we organised a meeting with the District water officer, who explained some of the challenges affecting rural water resource management in Uganda. Among the key problems he mentioned, was the lack of capacity to cope with borehole maintenance and repairs. Although most boreholes are owned by the communities themselves, the costs associated with maintaining them are simply not affordable, which means that the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the local government. As shown in the chart below, over 98% water points are funded by the government.
Over 98% of funding for water points comes from the local government. Source: Directorate of Water Development, Ministry of Water & Environment, 2010
Even though a significant part of the District’s annual budget goes towards the maintenance of water points, it is clearly not enough to cover the demand. This means that many communities are often left with no other choice but to collect there water from unprotected sources such as swamps, rivers and ponds which are highly susceptible to water borne diseases such as typhoid.
A women collecting water from an open well in Kaliro District
A broken down borehole in Kaliro District
Located in the south-west of Uganda, Kaliro District has a total population of 202,200 people of which only 13,282 reside in urban areas. Current sources estimate that approximately 37% of the rural population are still without access to protected water sources. Of the people that do have access to potable water, 99% rely exclusively on boreholes and shallow wells. Considering the lack of financial capacity of the local government, combined with the overwhelming importance of off grid water points-using carbon finance as a means to implement sustainable water point maintenance programmes provides a practical solution to this problem and could potentially contribute significantly to enhancing water access throughout the poorest regions of the globe.
CO2balance meeting with the Kaliro District Water Officer (left) and Director of WAACHA, Noah Isanga.
CO2balance and WAACHA assessing broken down boreholes in Kaliro
Through its innovative global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA), CO2balance are developing projects in some of the most remote and poverty-stricken areas in the world, which have yet to gain access to the benefits of carbon finance. Since 2013, we have listed over 40 new micro-scale VPAs under the Gold Standard Foundation, the majority of which are safe water projects that focus on the rehabilitation and maintenance of boreholes.
In developing countries, off grid water points such as boreholes still play an essential role in supplying rural areas with safe water and although millions of dollars are spent each year by governments and NGOs alike on new infrastructure, one of the key problems that remains is the absence of functional maintenance systems for existing water points. In some countries such as Malawi and Uganda up to 30% of the boreholes are broken down at any given time, highlighting an urgent need for pragmatic solutions to water supply management in developing countries.
The borehole rehabilitation projects run by CO2balance together with its local NGO partners seek to tackle this problem by leveraging carbon finance to fund the long-term upkeep of boreholes. Furthermore, we work closely with the communities on sensitisation and general borehole management which is a crucial element to the success of the projects.
Local NGO partner WAACHA rehabilitating a borehole in Kaliro District
CO2balance are proud to announce the registration of a fifth Gold Standard borehole project in Uganda –Kaliro Safe Water Project GS3443-adding to the company’s rapidly growing portfolio of micro scale projects in the country. Since 2013 CO2balance have repaired over 50 boreholes in 5 districts which supply clean water to more than 30,000 people. This marks a major achievement especially taking into account the challenging and remote locations we operate in. Stay tuned for further updates as we continue to develop our projects in Uganda.
A Rehabilitated and well maintained borehole in Lwamboga, Kaliro
Photos courtesy of the Womens Alliance and Children Affairs NGO
Since the beginning of 2014 CO2balance has been working in partnership with World Vision on the implementation of two Gold Standard improved cookstove VPAs located in the Rift Valley Province, Kenya. GS3079 Wema Improved Cookstoves and GS3080 Mogotio Improved Cookstoves aim to address the environmental, social and economic problems associated with cooking on three stone fires by promoting energy efficient cook-stoves to households through established micro-finance institutions, thereby making them more affordable. Furthermore, local stove producers can also benefit from the security of joining a long term initiative.
Since the project started, approximately 2000 improved cookstoves have been purchased by households in the project areas which has already had a significant impact on reducing wood consumption and carbon emissions. Over the last 8 months, approximately 1000 tonnes of wood have been saved across the two VPAs which equates to around 1700 tonnes of avoided CO2.
We are pleased to announce that the projects are now officially registered under the Gold Standard, representing a key milestone in the carbon project cycle.
I recently had the opportunity of joining our team in Kenya to lead the 2nd monitoring period site visit for the Meru improved Cookstove project, one of CO2balance’s six small-scale Gold Standard projects registered in Kenya. Nestled beneath the eastern foothills of Mount Kenya, Meru County is subject to high poverty levels, especially in rural areas which lack access to health services, clean water and other basic resources. Similar to many areas in Kenya, the majority of people in Meru still depend heavily on wood fuel and predominantly use three stone fires for cooking which are highly inefficient and can cause serious health problems due the large amount of smoke they emit. Since 2011, the Meru Improved Cookstove project has focused on reducing the negative health, environmental and economic impacts related to cooking on three stone fires through the distribution of over 8000 improved CZK cookstoves.
During the verification site visit we were accompanied by a local expert and independent auditor who interviewed a large sample of stove beneficiaries and conducted a rigorous assessment of all the project data that had been collected during the monitoring period, in order to verify the emission reductions. Despite difficult road conditions, with the help of our experienced local field staff and expert driver we were able to navigate the laterite with ease and managed to visit over 30 households, all of whom were very happy with the Carbon Zero Kenya (CZK) Stove. One family mentioned that the time and money saved collecting and buying firewood has enabled them to devote more resources to their tea farm which has enabled them to increase their harvest, thereby generating additional income for their children’s education. Considering that some households spend over 20% of their income on fuel wood it is easy to see how using improved cookstoves, which reduce wood consumption by around 50%, can have a significant impact on quality of life.
During the site visit, it was also encouraging to see first-hand the excellent progress that the field staff have made in terms of building and nurturing ties with the local authorities, who play an important role in promoting the cookstoves and ensuring that the community support the project- as we have learnt through experience, participation is a crucial component to the success of any community based project!
Many thanks again to everyone in Kenya for their great work and ensuring the smooth running of the site visit!
As you may well remember from previous blogs, CO2balance is currently working as a carbon consultant for World Vision to develop two clean cook stove projects in Wema and Mogotio, Kenya. Over the past 6 months World Vision has been busy engaging with the community, educating them on the benefits of improved cookstoves and collecting feedback on the project design in preparation for the stove launch. Following a number of participatory workshops, stove exhibitions and efficiency tests it was decided that the Kuna Mbhili stove made by the local Kenyan manufacturer-SCODE was the most appropriate and affordable for the communities.
Another important aspect of the project that World Vision has been finalising, is the creation of a micro finance institution (MFI) and credit scheme model-the improved stoves will be sold by the MFI to established community groups also known as chamas at a highly subsidised rate. Chamas will sell the stoves to the community members, offering small loans which can be repaid over a period of six months. This innovative model will allow the groups to build their savings accounts and invest in other sustainable community initiatives. World Vision have worked closely with the chamas, providing trainings on stove benefits, monitoring procedures for the carbon component and financials.
On November 20th, CO2balance were invited to attend the long awaited opening ceremony of the stove launch in Wema, during which the first 300 stoves were handed over to the community groups for onward sale. Among the particpants were a number of prominent authorities, including representatives from the ministries of environment, health and agriculture, the District Officer Heman Abdul (Below Left) and the local chiefs. Managing to attract this kind of representation at the event was a great achievement as it clearly indicates the type of support the project has from the government. Most encouraging was seeing the government officials fully endorse the project as they urged the communities to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Following a welcoming introduction by World Vision, each representative was asked to give a 10 minute talk in Kiswahili on the project, emphasising the environmental, social and economic benefits of using the stoves. Although my Kiswahili language skills are not quite up to standard, fortunately my colleague Charles Ruto was able to translate all the main points that were discussed. During the event it was CO2balances pleasure to explain in the simplest way to the communities about carbon credits and how we will be able to generate additional finance through measuring the reduction in carbon emissions which seemed to interest the community members very much. Last to present were the stove manufacturer SCODE who demonstrated the correct usage of the stove-how to load the wood fuel, what size pieces to use and how to light the stove-in order to maximise its efficiency.
The afternoon culminated in a number of fun events organised by World Vision including a poem recital by the local school children and an inspiring jiko song performed by a local women’s group. At the end of the day, all the stakeholders were happy and we can therefore say with confidence that the projects could not have gotten off to a better start. Despite such a positive outcome, there is still a lot of work to be done over the coming months in order to make sure that all the stoves are sold and the project conforms to the Gold Standard requirements.
Across the globe, around 780 million people lack access to safe water supplies, which equates to approximately one in eight (JMP, 2012). In Africa alone, around one third of the continent’s population are without access to clean water and UNICEF estimates that over 1.5 million child deaths per year are caused as a result of drinking contaminated water (UNICEF/WHO, 2009).
Over the last few decades, rural water demand in developing countries has primarily been addressed through the large-scale implementation of decentralized water points such as boreholes and shallow wells. However, one of the major barriers to clean water provision is that many countries do not have the infrastructure, regulation or financial capacity to conduct maintenance and repair programs. In Africa, existing water points are generally owned by community groups or Village Health and Water Committee (VHWC’s) and more often than not fall into disrepair because maintenance schemes have been poorly managed, or prove too expensive.
To highlight the magnitude of the problem, approximately 35% of all boreholes (345,071) in Sub Saharan Africa are estimated to be dysfunctional-see table below (Rural Water Supply Network 2009)
Despite millions of pounds being invested in new water infrastructure there is evidently a greater need to implement effective long-term water management programs that prevent existing water points from becoming damaged. CO2balance are currently exploring innovative new ways to tackle this problem through carbon finance, which could indeed provide a viable means of addressing water scarcity across the developing world.
In April 2014, Carbon Zero Kenya (CZK) received funding from the Australian High Commission to implement a women’s cook stove project in West Kisumu, Kenya. Over the last 5 months CZK have been busy laying the foundations of a cookstove enterprise run by the Umeme Women’s Group. In total, ten members of group have been trained to assemble and sell the efficient cookstoves, thus providing them with a new skill, which will allow them to supplement their income from farming and improve their quality of life. So far, the project has been progressing well and has demonstrated that it would indeed be viable to upscale local cookstove production models throughout the region. It is also important to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of CZK’s staff as well as the enthusiasm of the Umeme Women’s Group which has been crucial to ensuring a successful outcome.
With the stove construction phase coming to an end, all efforts have now shifted to sales and marketing. Although selling the stoves is primarily the responsibility of the Umeme Women’s Group, Carbon Zero Kenya is providing support in establishing market linkages and sales networks to facilitate the volumes required.Each member of the group stands to earn approximately $1000 from stove sales, which is more than the average national income in Kenya. Ensuring that the project has a long term effect on sustainable development, the fuel efficient jikos will be included under CO2balance’ Gold Standard carbon project, which means that the emission reductions generated through their use can be sold on the voluntary carbon market to raise additional finance for the Umeme Women’s Group.