Irrigation and Food Security in Malawi

The climatic extremes of prolonged drought and frequent flooding are major challenges Malawi. A large part of the population relies on agriculture and is prone to be directly affected by the natural environment.

One major environmental and economic issue is energy scarcity: In the absence of electricity and alternative fuel sources, trees are commonly used as biomass, causing widespread deforestation. This in turn reduces the water absorption capacity of the soil, facilitates erosion and further aggravates flooding. Flooding and droughts have been estimated to cost Malawi 1.7% of its GDP annually. [1]

Other issues are water and food security, both of which affect the livelihoods and wellbeing of the poorest populations. While 46% of Malawi’s land is arable, only 2% is irrigated. Farmers rely heavenly on rainfall and hence mostly grow crops during the rainy season. Hence, they sell their crops to the market at times when supply is abundant and prices are low.

Small scale irrigation agriculture can augment and change this production cycle and enable the production of crops during the dry season. Low-cost and durable irrigation products include pedal-powered or solar irrigation pumps that transport water from an open well, rover or lake to the field via a spray hose. They enable to spread the harvest of crops throughout the year and provide an opportunity to raise farmer’s income, as less produce is lost and prices in the dry season are higher.

Irrigation has been shown to have a positive impact on farmer’s food security by increasing both calorific intake and income, thus playing an important role in alleviating poverty. These benefits are shared by marginalised groups such as youth headed or female headed households [2]

CO2balance and its partners have been working in Malawi since 2013 and are expanding their activities in the central region to address needs on a community and district level. We are currently exploring effective options of supporting the adoption of solar-powered irrigation technologies. Get in touch, if you are interested in this area.

[1] Pauw and Thurlow 2009

[2] Nkhata 2014

World Water Day – What are our project impacts on safe drinking water?

“Water is life”. This is commonly what we hear when working together with communities across the globe, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, in recognition that water is the essential building block for the living world. More than that, it is key to every aspect of human development, from the economy to a child’s education.

Today is World Water Day, where we focus on the importance of water as a resource and consider the progress that is needed to provide clean, safe water to everyone. Today, a quarter of the population of the world will drink from a water source that is contaminated, putting them at risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

The UN have developed their 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals with the aim to provide access to safe water to all. At CO2balance, we continue to work towards these goals by rehabilitating village hand pumps and providing education on sanitation and health in rural communities. Below is a summary of some of the key impacts of our projects:

Annual Impact of CO2balance Borehole Project_2017.JPG

New VCS Issuance – Kenya cookstoves

CO2Balance successfully issued over 50,000 VERs under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)  for its efficient cookstove projects located in the constituencies of Mathira and Eldoret East, and Keiyo District.

Six years after the initial distribution of efficient cook stoves in these areas, the projects continue operating well, with 97% of stoves continuing to be used. It’s heartening to see the long-term impact these projects are making terms of reduced wood fuel used for cooking and improved indoor air-quality and health benefits.

With regards to the impacts of cooking practices, we are excited to see publication of the new toolkit provided by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, called FACIT : The webtool quantifies environmental and economic impacts for a variety of cooking fuel sources in various countries,  using data from a comprehensive life cycle assessment. It thus accounts for the impacts of fuels along the entire value chain, highlighting  the high negative impacts of using charcoal and firewood.

Feel free to contact us at co2balance if you would like to learn more about our cookstove projects or if you are just generally as interested in reducing carbon emissions as we are!

Co2balance and United Purpose issue Carbon Credits for 4 Borehole Projects in Malawi

After several years of collaborating on delivering safe water supply to rural communities in Malawi, Co2balance and United Purpose successfully issued the four initial projects for the second time. Covering 5 traditional authorities in Dowa and Kasungu  Disctricts, these projects have repaired and are maintaining approximately 40 boreholes in rural areas of central Malawi.

The second issuance of these projects is particularly encouraging, considering the positive feedback we received from community members during our annual monitoring surveys. Responses indicate both gratefulness for the existing work that has been done as well as a demand to conduct further repairs in order to reduce travel times and temporary queues at water sources.

Experiencing further demand in Malawi and successfully generating income streams, encourages expansion of these successful projects, which is currently under review. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about our work in Malawi.

Malawi (2) - lr.jpg

Pumping Strong: Recurring Issuance of 5 Gold Standard Borehole projects in Northern Uganda

As a project developer, CO2balance pioneered the development of Borehole rehabilitation projects under the Gold Standard. We have been working in Northern Uganda  since 2013, repairing 41 boreholes and providing access to safe drinking water to more than 25,000 people. These project have now been issued for the 2nd and 3rd time. This is a great achievement for our field staff and our partners in Uganda as well as everyone else involved in developing and maintaining these projects.

Co2balance conducts regular assessments and works closely with local communities in order to ensure that sanitation and hygiene conditions are suitable to ensure safe water supply. Regular repairs and maintenance works are conducted by our partners to deliver continuity and reliability of water provision. Three years after the projects inception, we are proud to say: our boreholes are continuing to pump strongly.



Borehole Maintenance in Dokolo


The investment co2balance provided in the development of water infrastructure in the Alebtong, Dokolo, Otuke and Kole has been particularly important because these districts suffered heavily under the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from 1997 to 2007. The civil war left many basic services non-functioning and in need of long-term investment.

We are looking forward to continuing the successful work that is being done. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about our borehole projects.


Tightening a pump handle


Greasing a pump chain



Feasibility Assessment in Zambia

Many community members are very satisfied with the provision of clean and safe drinking water from our projects.  Following the repair of rural boreholes, we receive comments like this one: “We have no more stomach problems or frequent cases of typhoid” says one man months after the rehabilitation of his village borehole.

co2balance and Vita are currently  enabling clean water development in East African countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia. Wanting to expand the impact of their successful water projects, Vita and co2balance are now looking at starting further activities in Zambia.

To get a first  impression of the situation on the ground, co2balance Director Mark Simpson and Vita’s Head of Programmes John Gilliland recently visited the Southern African country.


Meeting with potential partners as well as viewing broken and repaired boreholes, co2balance and Vita are building contacts and assessing the potential for new projects – capable of improving rural livelihoods and reducing carbon emissions.


We will keep you posted…!



Go Ahead for the ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ in Northern Uganda

Expanding on its successful activities in Northern Uganda, Co2balance has just listed a group of 12 new Gold Standard Projects in the Lango Sub-Region.

The ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ seeks to increase access to safe water supply for thousands of households within the six districts of Dokolo, Otuke, Alebtong, Kole, Lira and Oyam. Focusing on boreholes, the project will utilize a variety of zero-emission technologies like hand-pumps or solar-powered pumps to provide water in rural communities. With over 45% of the rural population in Uganda relying on unprotected and easily contaminated water sources like rivers, lakes or open wells, the project shall reduce the need for water purification and the combustion of firewood.



Unprotected water collection point in Alebtong District.

In the Lango region, many boreholes have fallen into disrepair because maintenance proved too expensive or programs have been poorly managed. Co2balance will use carbon finance to work with community groups to deliver a long-term rehabilitation and maintenance program. Stakeholders are currently invited to provide their feedback towards the project until the middle of October.





6 New Borehole Projects Listed in Eritrea

In Eritrea Co2balance and Vita are expanding in developing borehole rehabilitation offset projects. Adding to existing activities in the Maekel and Anseba District, 6 projects in the Southern District of Debub have just been listed with the Gold Standard. The projects will deliver access to clean drinking water for several dozen villages over a minimum of 7 years.

The local stakeholder meeting was held in Mendefera in May, bringing together 70 representatives of local and regional administration, water departments, WASH Committees and community members.

LSC - Eritrea

Responses to the project were overwhelmingly positive, exhibiting a strong desire to get started as soon as possible. The communities engaged in the consultation showed a strong desire for the rehabilitation of their boreholes and a real interest in contributing to ensure long-term maintenance.

“Water is Life”, is a common saying among the stakeholders. Currently, however, access to this valuable resource is limited by inadequate water quality, requiring people to live with the negative health consequences or to boil their water. Using wood fuel is common practice, but deforestation and soil erosion have become significant problems in many areas.

Vita and co2balance will be identifying and start repairing boreholes this month in order to ensure access to clean water as soon as possible and to reduce the need for wood fuel use within the largely rural district.





Introducing myself

Good Morning Everyone,

A brief post to introduce myself and to thank you all for welcoming me to co2balance. Having started two weeks ago in the UK office, I already feel welcome and am delighted to join such a motivated team with great expertise in carbon finance and the development of climate change mitigation measures.

I graduated last year with a Master in Sustainable Development from the University of St. Andrews and am excited to apply my interest in carbon and water related projects in my work at co2balance. I’m looking forward to get to know the various work processes, to meet the rest of the team at some point and to contribute more to the work of co2balance.

Having German and Bangladeshi roots, I grew up in Germany and moved to the UK nearly 2 years ago. Personally, I enjoy cycling, running and going hill-walking. Below is a picture after running up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and more recently I’m discovering good routes through the Blackdown Hills.