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