Umeme Women’s Group Jiko Enterprise-Opening Day

As you may already know from previous blogs, over the last few months Carbon Zero Kenya have been busy implementing the Umeme Women’s Improved Cookstove project in West Kisumu. The 19th June marked an important landmark in the project lifecycle; the grand opening of the Umeme Women’s Cookstove Enterprise. Wycliffe Odumo, our regional coordinator based in Kisumu, mentioned that there was a real sense of excitement and commitment among the women and local community which bodes well for the success of the project.

DSC0240_The opening day of the Umeme Women’s Jiko Enterprise

With all the infrastructure now in place and after a week long training session, the stove production phase has taken off rapidly with over 20 stoves being produced each day.

DSC02903Fully assembled stoves undergoing a 5 day curing process before they are ready to be sold to the local community

Over the coming weeks more emphasis will be placed on sales and marketing, which will involve raising community awareness through demonstrations as well as broadcasting radio adverts in the local area.

CO-2-Banner-2The Official Stove enterprise Banner

Having visited the project first-hand earlier this year, it is remarkable to see how much progress has been made in such a short amount of time, which is all thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team in Kenya and the enthusiasm of the Umeme Women’s Group. Further updates will follow soon.

Australian Aid Project in West Kisumu Progressing Well

The West Kisumu Women’s Cookstove Project sponsored by Australian Aid is now in full swing. Last Thursday the first batch of stove components were transported from our base in Nairobi to the Carbon Zero Kenya stove workshop in West Kisumu, ready to be assembled and sold by the Umeme Women’s Group. The Group consists of 10 members all of whom rely on farming to earn a living. One of the key aims of this project is to provide the Group with a new vocation which will allow them to supplement their income particularly during the dry season when agricultural production is low.

On Monday the Carbon Zero Manufacturing and Logistics Officer, Charles Ruto, travelled to the project area to conduct a hands-on stove assembly training session and to oversee the production of the first stoves in order to ensure that their build quality is consistent with the required standards. During the training all aspects of stove build were explained to the women from design right through to finish.

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In the meantime, other areas of the project are also being advanced including a promotion campaign led by the Carbon Zero Regional Coordinator Wycliffe Odumo. Over the next two months the Umeme Women’s Group aims to build and sell 900 improved cookstoves, so bringing the local community on board and educating them on the benefits of the stove will be pivotal to the success of the project. Stove sales will primarily be the responsibility of the Umeme Women’s Group, however, Carbon Zero Kenya will provide support in establishing market linkages and sales networks to facilitate the volumes required.

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As for the future sustainability of the project, the cookstoves sold under this project will  be included in CO2balance’s small scale Gold Standard project in West Kisumu which will generate additional carbon finance allowing for the future subsidisation of stoves in the region.

 

World Vision-Community Insight

On Thursday 8th May, CO2balance travelled to the World Vision office in Wema, Nakuru to train 30 local data collectors in conducting baseline kitchen surveys and kitchen performance tests for the World Vision Gold Standard Cookstove VPAs in Wema and Mogotio; both VPAs will be included under CO2balance’s recently registered GS1366 Micro Energy PoA and aim to facilitate access to improved cookstoves through existing micro finance institutions and designated community groups.

In addition to carrying out the baseline training, it was also a great opportunity to talk to the local community  who demonstrated a keen interest in the project  and were eager to share their thoughts. Apart from concerns related to the adverse health impacts of three stone fires many of the people we spoke to were particularly worried about the environmental impacts of deforestation.  Pointing to the surrounding scrub-land and barren hillsides, one of the community members mentioned how the entire area used to be covered in forest. Others noted that deforestation has led to changing weather patterns and a reduction in rainfall,which  in turn effects agricultural production. Based on the discussion we had, it is evident that the dissemination of clean cookstoves which reduce fuel consumption by around 50% will have multiple long-term benefits for the community in terms of sustainable development and wellbeing.

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With regard to the baseline studies, World Vision have since informed us that the surveys are already well underway and that everything is running according to plan. Come end of week all the data will have been collected and soon to be returned to CO2balance for analysis. We are grateful for World Vision’s ongoing support in ensuring that the surveys are carried out to the highest standards and look forward to moving ahead with the next steps towards Gold Standard registration.

 

Carbon Zero Kenya Awarded Grant for West Kisumu Cookstove Project

Carbon Zero Kenya has recently been awarded a grant from the Australian High Commission in Nairobi to implement a Women’s Improved Cook Stove Project in West Kisumu, Kenya. In addition to creating a self sustaining micro business run by women, the project aims to address the negative social, environmental and economic impacts resulting from  the widespread use of three stone fires through the distribution of approximately 900 fuel efficient cook stoves to families at a highly subsidized cost. This will provide a means for the most vulnerable community members that would otherwise be unable to afford the stoves  to benefit from the project.

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The stoves will help reduce pressure on local fuel supplies and eliminate indoor pollutants, leading  to an improved standard of living and a cleaner, easier and healthier way of cooking. They will also be included under the CO2balance West Kisumu Gold Standard cookstove project thereby  raising additional carbon finance which will be channeled back to the communities allowing for the future subsidization of stoves in West Kisumu.Further updates will follow shortly.

UN Climate Impact Report reinvigorates climate change debate

greenland-canyonPhoto Source:  James Balog-National Geographic

The recently unveiled UN climate impact report has sent out a stark reminder to the global community, detailing the most convincing evidence to date on climate change. The 2000 page report written by more than 70 scientists concluded that an increase in global emissions could lead to sudden and irreversible changes to the structure and functions of earth’s terrestrial and freshwater eco-systems which could in turn further accelerate the greenhouse gas effect. The impacts of global warming are already evident in many parts of the world; melting glaciers and permafrost, bleaching coral reefs, and an increase in severe weather events to name but a few.

Perhaps even more concerning was the report’s outlook on the long-term threats of climate change to food security, water availability, economic prosperity and human wellbeing. The IPCC stated that; ‘the risk of conflict, hunger, floods and mass displacement increase with every upward creep of the mercury’. Indeed, it is clear that the poorest countries lacking infrastructure and financial capacity will be most severely affected by the impacts of climate change.

In many ways, the rapid onset of climate change has exposed the deeper rooted problems associated with economic growth and the absence of development policies that adequately account for the value of eco-systems. Furthermore the causes and effects of climate change are directly linked to inequality and poverty. In light of this, we should see the management of climate change, not as a financial burden or necessity but rather as an approach to build a more resilient and secure world for current and future generations.

One of the key messages of the UN report is that there is indeed time to curb the worst of the impacts; however a global effort involving more rigorous mitigation and adaption strategies that encompass, technological, institutional, economic and behavioural change will be required. In the long term, a fundamental shift in the way we measure prosperity and growth may well be needed to mitigate the underlying causes of climate change but it is also evident that we need to make better use of  the tools and technologies at our disposal if we are to halt  the rise of global emissions.

World Vision and Co2balance confirm stakeholder dates for two cook stove VPAs in Kenya.

co2balance are currently working in partnership with World Vision on the delivery of two Gold Standard improved cookstove VPAs in the districts of Wema and Mogotia, Kenya. These projects aim to address the environmental, social and economic problems associated with traditional three stone cooking methods in the above districts by promoting energy efficient cook-stoves to households through established micro-finance institutions, helping to make them affordable to local users. The two micro-scale projects will be included under the co2balance non LDC multi-country PoA . Each one will reduce emissions by 10000tCO2 per year in addition to providing multiple other co-benefits for sustainable development.

In order to maximise stakeholder feedback and coverage, three separate stakeholder meetings will be conducted, two in the district of Wema on March 4th and one in Mogotia on 5th March. The principle objective of using a participatory approach is  to ensure the projects are fully in line with the expectations of beneficiaries right from the offset  and  to eliminate the risk of potential problems occurring during the implementation phase. Further updates soon.

Stove at glance-AFTC

Meru stove roll-out complete!!

Congratulations to our field staff team for  successfully completing the roll out of 500 CZK stoves in Meru!

On January 14th the final batch of CZK stoves was transported from our factory in Mombasa to a the project area.  Despite being held up at a weigh bridge on the outskirts of Nairobi the stoves arrived safely and on schedule.

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Over the past two weeks our local field officers have been busy distributing and tracking the stoves under the guidance of newly appointed regional coordinator, Virgina Njeri. Thanks to their hard work, and together with the help of local village leaders all the stoves have been installed in  their designated households.

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With the aim of raising environmental awareness, each recipient was provided with one to one education on the benefits of the stove. This will hopefully lead to the long-term transition to more sustainable cooking practices. Furthermore, in order to ensure that the stoves can be tracked for future monitoring and maintenance, each one has been marked with a unique serial number and GPS tagged.

Background

The Meru South district lies at the foothills of Mount Kenya and is characterised by a diverse range of eco-systems, including  montane forests, lowland humid forests and savanna. Around 70% of the  population in Meru  live below the poverty line, still relying heavily on biomass for cooking and water purification. The majority of people still cook using the traditional three stone fire method, which not only requires large amounts of wood fuel, but also produces lots of smoke, causing indoor pollution. The collection of wood fuel has also contributed to wide scale deforestation, resulting in soil erosion and loss of biodiversity ,thus creating further challenges for the local population who are heavily dependent on natural resources for subsistence.

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Additional social and economic impacts of three stone fires include:

  • High CO2 emissions due to amount of firewood needed.
  • Up to 6 hours per day is spent on collecting wood fuel which could otherwise be used for developmental activities.
  • Families already struggle to meet their needs and the extra cost of buying fuel wood can be a major burden on their resources.
  • Indoor smoke pollution increases vulnerability to diseases such as tuberculosis. As women and children area generally responsible for kitchen duties, they are most at risk to indoor pollution.

Through lowering fuel consumption by over 50% and virtually eliminating the production of smoke, the CZK stoves have an important role to play in sustainable development and have already helped to alleviate many of the the negative impacts caused by traditional three stone cooking methods in Meru.

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UK Energy Exposure Day for DFID advisors

Yesterday afternoon, Co2balance attended the UK Energy Exposure Day for DFID advisors at the Bloomberg conference centre in London. The focal point of the conference was energy access and infrastructure development in Africa. It provided an excellent opportunity to network with project developers and donor organisations, share business ideas, discuss sources of funding and learn about the latest advances in off-grid technologies and policy. Hopefully, this will lead to new opportunities for us in the future and we look forward to taking part in the next event.

Meru Stove Roll-Out

Final preparations for the delivery of 500 stoves to our small-scale cook-stove project in Meru are in full swing. The stoves are undergoing a final quality check  in the Mombasa factory and will be ready for transportation on Monday 13th January. Over the next two weeks, the efficient stoves will be distributed in the communities by our local field staff team, raising the total number of stoves in Meru to over 8000.  Further updates soon!

The CZK stove production line in Mombasa

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