VCS Issuance Kenya Cookstoves 2018!

This year, CO2balance have successfully issued over 30,000 VERs under VCS (now Verra). This applies to efficient cookstove projects in Kenya located in the constituencies of Mathira, Eldoret East, and Keiyo district.

The issuance comes 7 years after the initial distribution of cookstoves in these areas. Among the stoves that were distributed was the Carbon Zero Kenya (CZK) stove model which was designed by a stove specialist and manufactured in a factory in Mombasa, Kenya on behalf of CO2balance.

The majority of stoves are still in good shape and continue to be used by households in the project areas. The stoves have helped families use less firewood, some for over 7 years now which amounts to over 170,000 tonnes of wood saved over the project’s lifetime.

The projects have had a long-term impact on improved indoor air-quality and health benefits for stove users who are mainly women and children. They also reduce the rate of deforestation in local areas.

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Female stove user

If you would like to learn more about CO2balance efficient cookstove projects in Kenya or elsewhere, please get in touch at enquiries@co2balance.com or phone our office on (+44) 1823 332233 to find out more on how to get involved with our projects and offset your carbon footprint.

 

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Kenya Boreholes Project: Local Stakeholder Consultation

At the end of October, I travelled to Kenya to host a local stakeholder meeting for new borehole projects located on the coast in Kilifi County.

The coastal county is largely rural and is frequented by tourists during the dry seasons for its white sandy beaches stretching 265km along the Kenyan coastline. Its main economic activities are tourism and fishing, however, I was there for a different reason which was to address the lack of safe water sources for the local residents.

I visited Kilifi County once before in April 2018 and found that nearly every community borehole had been chained up by the county government due to the borehole either being broken or producing unsafe water for consumption. The boreholes had remained locked up due to a lack of funds to fix them so the communities had to resort to unsafe water sources such as open wells to collect their water.

The months before my next visit in October were spent by local field staff identifying broken boreholes to be rehabilitated.

In late October we organised to hold a Gender Sensitive Local Stakeholder Consultation meeting which took place in a community hall in Kilifi South sub-county. Up to 50 people attended the meeting which welcomed county government officials, community members, local NGO representatives and borehole managers.

During this meeting, we collected everyone’s views and feedback on the borehole project to ensure the project is designed in a way that benefits the users of the boreholes. Overall the feedback from the meeting was very positive with stakeholders urging the start of the project.

The rehabilitation of the boreholes is to begin in December 2018 when they will start crediting. The people of Kilifi county will have a reliable safe water source close to their homesteads reducing their time collecting water and also firewood previously used to boil unsafe water. CO2balance will monitor the projects annually to measure the health benefits to the communities and gender impacts of the project. This project contributes positively to the following SDG’s:

Sawadee Krap to the UNFCCC in Bangkok

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is currently meeting in Bangkok to draft a rulebook for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which will form the basis of the COP24 Summit in Katowice, Poland in December.  The objective of the rulebook is to provide a streamlined draft which will assist discussions at the Katowice Summit where signatory states will agree the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Sectary of UN Climate Change, reported of “uneven progress” between the 195 Parties which “underlines the urgent need for continuing work”. The draft rulebook is critical for COP24 to “achieve balance across all issues” and allow for the Parties to “function together in an inter-connected manner”.

A delicate balance must be struck which brings all Parties together and recognises the differing economic, social, political and environmental circumstances between countries. Many complex issues are being discussed including country-specific climate pledges, known as nationally defined contributions (NDCs). NDCs are key to the Paris Agreement. Parties are discussing whether a “two-tier” system is appropriate, which would mean different rules for developed and developing states.

While the complex talks progress in Bangkok, one might ask “what can I do to tackle climate change?”. The UNFCCC encourages all levels of society to take climate action, including at a personal level. Relying solely on policy will not be enough to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C. The UN recommends: measuring, reducing, and compensating emissions.

When it comes to compensating emissions, CO2balance offers certified Gold Standard emission reductions. All of our projects, from boreholes to efficient cookstoves, reduce CO2 emissions by displacing the need to burn firewood as a fuel source. The benefits go beyond simply reducing emissions and have positive impacts towards the Sustainable Development Goals, such as improving gender equality, improving health and well-being and providing clean water. Read our case studies page to find out how!

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.

Sadly; Women are primary wood-fuel collectors

Cooking is a very simple art but with far reaching effects to millions of people under the sun. It is estimated that globally more than three billion people currently rely on solid fuels. Most of this wood is collected from forests.  Worst of all is that in Africa, burden of wood fuel collection still lies on women and girls who need to shoulder effects that come with it i.e. walking for long distances and exposure to many risks including; animal attacks, rape etc.

In the effort to liberate women and empower them while at the same mitigating Climate change and indoor air pollution in Kenya Carbon Zero Kenya has continued promoting the use of clean energy and improving community livelihoods. In the Mathira east project, the company continues to advocate and champion adoption of clean and energy efficient cook stoves not only to campaign against green house gas emissions but also improving the lives of the community both economically and socially. Notable features of the Carbon Zero stove is in its state- of –the- art construction technology which highly contributes to over 50 % energy saving by use of lesser fuel as well as lesser smoke emissions due a longer combustion chamber which allows for complete combustion of gases.

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Margret Gathoni is an Elder in Thagana village in Mathira sub-county of the central region of Kenya, one of the Carbon Zero cook stove project areas. She has been with CZK team since the issuance of CZK ICS, through to education of beneficiaries .She liaised with other area leaders within her sub county and project officers to ensure the her community members take advantage of the project by getting rid of all three stone stoves in exchange of the improved cook stoves distributed in the area by Carbon Zero.  In this locality, wood fuel is a scarce commodity and the cost has risen as more and more forests were being cleared for wood fuel.

Gathoni has been a key role model in her community through active mobilizing women to form Self Help Groups under the umbrella of Carbon Zero project, Mathira. In these groups, women are educated on the benefits that come by use of carbon zero stoves, and the importance of conserving our forests.

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Gathini says that many women since acquiring the ICS have been freed, and rather than spend too much time in the forests looking for firewood they are now able to actively engage in income generating activities boosting their family’s revenues. She further says that most women have enough time to fully participate in other development activities and not just searchers of wood fuel as the case was before. And this has made women more productive.  She says that many women in the area are now doing mixed farming, while others are in small businesses. She adds that this  has empowered women as they are able to contribute towards the family needs as well unlike before when women could hardly do anything else since they would spend most of their time looking for wood fuel which wasted  a lot of time impoverishing them and their families.

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Projections for climate change indicate that it will increase the fuelwood-stress in the developing nations if not managed through technology i.e. increase adoption of ICS. With further reduction of forests for farming, urbanization and firewood the role for women as wood searchers is going to be more of an uphill battle. And for this reason Carbon Zero continues to work with rural communities in Kenya to help fight climate change and this social dimension challenge that affects engagement of women in development activities.

 

Transforming Rural Livelihoods

The Carbon Zero Kenya Aberdares ICS project started in the year 2011, with 10,200 stoves being distributed. Since then company invested in community awaress creation that so locals embrace the use the ICS thus moving from using 3-stone stoves (traditional stoves) to carbon zero improved cook stoves. Speaking to various stove beneficiaries the Carbon Zero ICS have led the community spending less of their time fetching firewood, visiting Kereita forest to collect firewood, spending less money on buying firewood but rather they spend much of their money and time doing other income generating activities improving their livelihood.

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According to Mary Njoki 65 years,  one of our stove beneficiaries from Bathi Village , a single mother of six children, the carbon zero stove has really helped her  in saving time  and money because  before the introduction  of carbon zero stoves in the area she used to spend much of her time visiting Kereita forest everyday collecting firewood which  is about 3km from her place, spending like 5hrs in a day (she used to go at  7:00am and  coming back at 11:00am when the sun is less hot) but since she received carbon zero stove, she only visits kereita forest once per week because the stove is more efficient and uses less firewood.  She also added that the time  she previously spent collecting firewood she nowadays uses it to concentrate with her farming activities i.e. planting carrots, kales, potatoes, cabbages and pruning peas trees and also spending some of her income from farming to educate her grandchildren.

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Mary Njoki added to say that, “I can testify that carbon zero stoves produce less soot/smokes as compared to 3-stone stoves which her neighbor Mama Grace uses everyday causing more problems on her family’s health (flu, coughing and eye irritation), causing her iron sheets discolor easily since 3-stone stoves use more firewood which is also poorly burnt as compared to carbon zero stoves which uses 2-3 small pieces of wood producing less soot”.

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From Mary’s opinion she can add that carbon zero stoves saves more on time, money and even school pupils they don’t spend much of their time on collecting firewood after school but rather they spend much of their time concentrating on their studies even in class because they don’t have to think about firewood collection since one bundle collected on Saturday can be used for long time.

Giving Power to rural women

With the support of Australian High Commission in Kenya in the 2015 Carbon Zero Kenya partnered with a women group (Umeme women group) in Western Kenya in Kisumu West to produce 900 cook stoves and sell them within the community. The women were empowered with skills in stove production and marketing.

Toshiba Case study 8 - 00

The aim of the Umeme Women’s Group Improved Cook Stove Project was to set up a self sustaining cook stove enterprise that was to construct and sell stoves within the local community. The project created some source of income for the women and thus enabling them improve their living standards.

Just to offer some background an acute shortage of fuel for cooking is one of the many problems faced by people in Kisumu West as it is the case in other parts of the country. Gathering fuel is generally women’s work but is fraught with dangers; they gamble with the risk of rape and life threatening attacks during their search for much needed firewood, in order to feed their families. In certain areas, local sources of firewood are completely depleted, leading women to travel further and further afield or to dig up tree roots, eliminating any chance of the trees growing again. Even if women survive this, they are still exposing themselves and their children to potentially deadly smoke fumes.

With the above challenges in mind and the financial support from the Australian High Commission Carbon Zero decided to tackle the challenges in Kisumu West through the use of more fuel-efficient Carbon Zero Artisanal Stove, which is both affordable and easy to use; cutting the amount of risky trips for firewood and allowing more trees the opportunity to grow. Subsequently, burning smaller amounts wood fuel means less smoke will engulf their homes and their lungs.

Carbon Zero Kenya mapped out several women groups in the area; vetted them and settled on one that was most convincing – Umeme women group. The group of ten women was well trained both in theory and practicals of artisanal stove production. After which the women were supported to source for materials and stove parts and produced a total of 900 cook stoves that they marketed within their community. The revenues collected from the sales helped the women earn an extra income. In addition the women started making weekly savings into a central kitty that they have been able to invest overtime further raising their incomes which has in a big way boosted their living standards.

Diana   is one of the women group members; the secretary of the group. Speaking to her she elaborates that prior to this project had always used the three stone cooker ever since she was born and had never seen an alternative cook stove. She says that previously she didn’t know how expensive it was sustaining a three stone stove. Knowing well that Kisumu West has fewer forests with most land under farming the only way to get firewood was and still is through buying. While using the three stone stove she says she used to buy wood worth 800/= Kenya shillings per week and this was too expensive for her.

Toshiba Case study 8 - 5

However she says that her turning point came in 2015 when together with the other women were selected to be trained on how to manufacture artisanal stoves and market them within their community. Diana says that after they were trained as a group they produced a total of 900 stoves that they sold out to locals. She gained skills in stove production, maintenance and also simple business skills that have been very essential in her life thereafter. As a group under her leadership the proceeds from sale of stoves were put into a table banking revolving fund that members have overtime been borrowing and paying back with little interest. She says that many group members have borrowed money and paid school fees for their children, some have borrowed to start different businesses and as they pay back their revolving fund has been growing and today they have even increased their membership.

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Diana explains how she borrowed from the group and started vegetable farming. The project has been on for the last two years and the returns are good. She is able to get an extra income to pay fees for her kids while at the same time get something to keep making contributions in the women group.  She explains that since she did not have formal employment she couldn’t borrow from the bank hence the capital they got from the sales of the stoves helped inject capital into their group that has seen them grow both individually and as a group in ways she cannot explain.

She further explains that many women call her within the local community at times to repair their stoves when they have for instance cracks and they pay her helping earn her earn her income.  She says today she her community as a stoves maintenance expert in the community. Within her own home Diana says that ever since she received the CZK stove she has seen a big difference in her life. For instance the improved cook stove saves wood fuel which enables her channel some of the money she would spend buying firewood to other development projects. As we part Diana says that for her the biggest thing out of the stove production enterprise set by Carbon Zero is that she was able to save and start a farming venture that has really improved her family’s income. She says that the project gave them power to improve their lives and turn around their fate.