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.
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.
Escarpment Dispensary – land to be reclaimed
Escarpment Dispensary – base for new latrines
Escarpment Dispensary – construction works
Mbau-Ini Dispensary – floor to be refurbed
Mbau-Ini Dispensary – inside rooms to be repainted
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.
Cookstove with user in Meru
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.
Last month, I returned from a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya where I was able to see projects that are in their infancy but also some of our well-established projects. It was great to see people’s enthusiasm for the projects with the expectation that the projects would make a measurable difference in their lives but also be able to talk to people that have experienced a change and who express their appreciation.
In Ethiopia I attended stakeholder meetings for 5 new projects that are being established together with one of our project partners. It was fantastic to see how professional and thorough the team were in organising the meetings but also how engaged the local communities and also local government were in the work that is planned for the area.
In Kenya, I visited our projects in Meru and close to the coast around Shimba Hills. The contrast in the landscapes and experience from the two different parts of the country was striking, from the fertile soils around Mount Kenya to the vast plains around Kasigau, near Shimba Hills, both were incredible! As always I was impressed by the relationship that our field staff have built with the communities since the project was established and their knowledge of the local area.
I want to say a big thank you, ameseginalehu and asante to both teams for the trip; it is one I will remember!
Over the past week, I had the pleasure of attending two site visits verifying our Gold Standard projects; Meru and West Kisumu. There were many humbling conversations with stove beneficiaries who were delighted with our improved cook stoves and full of gratitude for the work and impact of co2balance projects. Below is a collection of photos from the team and the trip.
Asante sana to all !
Chetan Sharma our auditor from KBS Certification and Moses Maina our chief Guru in Kenya
On a very happy meeting with the local Women’s Group who constructed the Artisanal Stoves in West Kisumu. with Moses, Christine and Chetan.
Moses and myself discussing the quality of Kenyan Tea and the means of production (which was stewing in the pot). Our conversation was exciting based on our persistent disagreement on the merits of Kenyan Tea over English Breakfast Tea 🙂
From left, Christine, Ethan, Nancy, Chetan and Moses overlooking Lake Victoria, just outside of Kisumu City
Michael, co2balance Community Project Officer in Meru, discussing with local children about the local open water source and the water quality.
Mrs. Mutegi, a farmer in Meru South is one of the many Meru South residents whose lives have changed since the introduction of CZK Improved Cook stove. The environment inside her house is now clean and smokeless. She says she can spend more time in other income generating activities as only less time is required to collect the firewood fuel.
Mrs. Mutegi, a farmer in Meru South with her new Improved Cook Stove
The CZ stove saves her a lot of time and she is able to tend to her land. This has led to improved output in her farm produce. She also finds enough time to take care of her animals which provides her with income to supplement her tea farming. Her children spend the time after schooling to attend to her fish pond instead of wasting the time to collect wood fuel.
The Meru Improved Cook stove Project is located in the Meru South District of Tharaka Nithi County. More than 90% of rural families in Meru south use wood fuel to cook. The cost of wood fuel has escalated due to deforestation. Consequently, the families spend a big percentage of their income purchasing wood fuel. Besides the high expenses in wood fuel, another problem of cooking over open fire is the increased health problems brought by smoke such as lung and eye ailments. Deforestation is often the end result of harvesting firewood for cooking fuel.
The project helps to reduce the pressure placed on local forests by reducing the amount of firewood fuel consumed during cooking. Additionally, the money a family spends on wood is reduced considerably. This translates into money being available to be spent on food, education and medical care.
Education on optimal stove usage is provided by the CO2balance team – a training framework has been developed to cover all aspects of stove usage. The education covers from lighting, effective wood loading for optimal stove usage. Around 8,000 stoves have been provided to families in Meru. To support this life changing project in Meru please contact us.
Mary Mbaka a mother of three lives in Kiangondu village, Chuka Division, Meru South, Kenya.
Mary is a farmer and is a beneficiary of an energy efficient cook stove acquired from Carbon Zero Kenya Ltd .Having used Carbon Zero stove for the last one year, she was delighted to say that “Prior to receiving this good stove my cows always bellowed because I did not have enough time to feed and water them. This is because after picking tea, I used to travel long distances to fetch firewood therefore lacking required time to feed and water them. As a result, the amount of milk produced was not enough for the family and for sale.”
Mary is a happy mother and wife because the distances she used to cover to the forest are only covered once a week as compared to the previous number of times when she was using the traditional hearth. Presently, the time saved from the forest visits is used to feed and water the animals among other household chores. This has in-turn helped in increased milk production and consequently revenue. She adds, ”From the sales of milk I can now pay my children’s school fees and buy more animal feeds especially during the dry season when there is little nappier grass in the fields. I am glad that I do not depend on my husband’s income always but rather complement it.”
Co2balance has in this case added value to the lives of Meru South people in their livelihoods and contributed to environmental resilience in this Region.
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