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!
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.
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.
Last month Lucas and I had the chance to visit our project areas in the districts of Kole, Alebtong, Dokolo, Otuke and Kaliro. While there we carried out many activities that ranged from conducting a local stakeholder consultation meeting for a new borehole rehabilitation project, a visit to the Ministry of Water district office – Lira branch, the newly rehabilitated boreholes in Kaliro and also a variety of different water supply schemes in Kabarole district.
Our first event was holding the local stakeholder consultation meeting with local stakeholders in which we sought their opinion on the projects’ design and social and environmental impacts; this was an essential step in implementing the project in which the local community has ownership – thereby maximising the chances of successful adoption.
The sub-county chief making introductions at the LSC
A cross section of the community attending the stakeholder consultation meeting in Lira
The meeting was very successful, with stakeholders actively engaging with the project and participating in discussions. The stakeholders said that they found the meeting useful and informative, and the majority of feedback concerning the project was very positive.
We later moved to the Eastern part of Uganda and visited Kaliro District where CO2balance recently rehabilitated 10 broken down boreholes. With the help of our partners WAACHA and local hand pump mechanics, the boreholes were all functioning very well and the communities had all been sensitized on WASH during our annual training programmes.
A complete soak pit
Some of the hurdles we had to overcome
Grace and the kids at Kasuleta
Another region visited was the Western part of Uganda and while there, we met with a local organisation (HEWASA) a branch of Caritas that specializes in Water, Sanitation and Health among other activities. They gave us a lot of insight on the different water technologies that are being installed in the Kabarole region such as rainwater harvesting systems and gravity flow schemes which are an ideal solution due to its mountainous nature.
A protected open well supplying water to resservoir tanks
A water supply source at the slopes of the Rwenzori mountains
Lucas and I had to brave the hill climb
A traditional rain water harvesting system
One of the distribution points for the GFSs
Crater lake that sometimes acts as an alternative source of water
A reservoir tank
1st receiver tank for the pumped water from a water supply system
Concern Universal, our in-country partner for the borehole-rehabilitation project in Bangladesh has confirmed that the local stakeholder meeting held on the 11th of May in the Rangamati was successful and highly appreciated by the local community. We thank Concern Universal Bangladesh for all their effort in organizing the meeting and we are looking forward to progressing with the project – taking into account now the suggestions we received from the stakeholders last Sunday. To hear about the latest development with our clean water project in the Chittagong Hills, please stay tuned to our blog.
In the past months CO2balance has been working in partnership with CarbonSink Srl on rolling out an improved charcoal cookstove project in Maputo, Mozambique. CO2balance is going to include this new project in its Gold Standard Improved Kitchen Regimes Multi-Country PoA and as part of the roll-out process, two stakeholder meetings were held in the project area on 24th and on 27th of January 2014. The two meetings were attended all together by 311 people, with a good representation from different stakeholders, including local authorities, community leaders, NGOs and future beneficiaries of the stove. The meeting has been very successful and participants (of which 65% were women) warmly welcomed the initiative therefore the stove distribution can start as soon as this week by the local NGO partner.
Due to the expertise that co2balance has in developing carbon projects it has partnered with World Vision to develop a clean cook stove project in two Counties in Kenya. As a result on 4th and 5th of March 2014 co2balance team together with the World Vision managed to successfully carry out three local stakeholder meetings in Wema – Nakuru County and Mogotio – Baringo County respectively. The meetings were very crucial as they provided vital feedback from all stakeholders who attended the meetings. More importantly the meetings provided feedback from community members who will be the users of the stoves. Through the meetings much was gathered in relation to the needs of the community in this project that will provide good guidance in rolling out the project.
During the meetings it was our pleasure on our part (co2balance represented by Lloyd and Moses) as carbon experts explaining in the simplest way to the communities about carbon credits, carbon market and carbon finance issues that seemed to amaze them very much. Most of the community members were passionate and we look forward to a successful engagement as a result. This is justified by the fact that many of the stoves that were brought on-site for viewing by a local producer called SCODE were bought by stakeholders in attendance even to the surprise of the seller.
Managing to have government ministries, County government representation and NEMA in the meetings was a great achievement for us as it clearly indicates the kind of support we together with World Vision have from the government. Most importantly was seeing various government officials and NEMA officers in attendance fully endorse the project as they urged the local communities to take advantage of the opportunity.
Listening to the local communities share their sad stories on how their smoked kitchens have negatively affected them and their children moved hearts of many thus confirming the fact that this clean cook stove project could not have come at a better time. Many also narrated stories regarding difficulties they undergo to get these vital pieces of wood; firewood and dear costs and time consumed in search of firewood. Despite all these, we gave them hope in our solution that using clean and energy efficient cook stoves would provide a solution to their current menace.
The meetings went well; however to make the process adequately participatory and following Gold Standard requirements we still continue to collect more views from stakeholders through the contacts provided to the stakeholders. At the end of it all, community stakeholders were happy, government officials were happy, world vision were happy, as co2balance representatives we were happy thus with confidence we can say the three LSC meetings were a success and the battle against climate change continues!