Yesterday we had a meeting with our project partner Climate Corporation from Austria to discuss the progress of our projects in Rwanda. 2014 was a great year for our cookstove and borehole projects in Bugasera and Gatsibo districts in the province of Eastern Rwanda. By the end of this week we will have rolled out 21,368 improved cookstoves, reaching thousands of families who have now better cooking environment and save significant amount of time and wood already on a daily basis. The verification of the first VPA (GS 1267 “Bugasera Improved Cookstoves”) confirmed that our stoves save more than 3 tonnes of wood per year by each family. The warm welcome we received during our field trip in December and the positive user feedback about the stove efficiency reassured us that our project is welcomed and appreciated in the communities. Besides monitoring the existing cookstove projects to make sure that we are constantly in touch with the communities, in 2015 we are going to focus on the development of our borehole projects in Gatsibo. Stay tuned to this blog for further updates very soon!
I am very happy to write about the progress of our borehole project in Rwanda. During last week we visited the rehabilitated boreholes in Gatsibo district and met with the communities who have now access to clean water supply. We have discussed the achievements so far and the scope of further improvement with our local NGO partner, Rwandans4Water. We look forward to starting the new year with even more borehole rehabilitation, this way reaching out to more communities in the Eastern Province in Rwanda. Until then, please some some photos from the last trip below!
FAPDR, our local partner NGO in the Rwandan cookstove projects has recently conducted interviews of those beneficiarias who were the first to receive the improved cookstoves in Bugasera. We were interested in their experience using the stoves in the past months, hoping that we can hear some positive feedbacks. The first interviewee was Cecile,18 old, first born daughter of Ngendahayo family who is responsible for cooking in the their household, preparing meals for 7 family members every day.
Her father Xavier told FAPDR that the family moved from the Southern Province to settle in Bugesera region in 1979 looking for land to cultivate. When they arrived in the region, it was covered with lush forests however around 2000 locals started to notice a decline in available firewood. To tackle the problem the government encouraged tree plantation in the district but the problem has been persisting.
Cecile then explanied that they were the first family to receive the improved cookstoves in Bugasera distributed by FAPDR. She told that she liked the stove mainly because of its favourable performance in the kitchen: it decreases the quantity of wood used and it gives out less smoke which in return keeps the kitchen clean. She said that she encourages the neighbours buy the same improved cookstove because it helps both for families in the kitchen and the region to preserve more trees.
In the past weeks we have analysed several monitoring studies conducted for the VPA 1 Bugesera Improved Cook Stoves (GS 1267) project and we were very pleased to receive such positive feedbacks on the project from our stove users.
The Kitchen Performance Test aimed to provide a quantified figure of the actual wood saving of the stove, while the Kitchen Surveys provided more qualitative data on the experience of using improved stove in the household. All respondents interviewed for the Kitchen Surveys answered that they are happy with the improved stoves and use it on average twice a day. 77% of the interviewees indicated that the stove used less wood, while 12% and 10% appreciated that the improved stove reduced cooking time and produced less smoke respectively. In line with this founding, 94% of stove users answered that they enjoyed faster cooking since using the improved cookstove.
The Kitchen Surveys also explored the wood use before and after the project to triangulate the quantitative data from the Kitchen Performance Tests on the changes in wood use. The data from the Kitchen Performance Tests showed that the average wood consumption decreased as a result of the project (from 13.62 to 3.22 kg/hh/day) and the answers in the Kitchen Surveys reinforced the assumptions that it lead to improved health and socio-economic conditions of the households.
According to the answers the smoke level in the households decreased significantly, as 85% of the respondents noticed less smoke produced by the co2balance designed “Gabanyibicanwa stove “ compared to the 3-stone fire. 54% of the people told that their overall health condition improved after adopting the improved cookstove while 23%-23% noted less coughing and less eye irritation. Combined with wood fuel measurements taken during the Baseline Survey it is clear that use of the stove results in a cleaner and healthier cooking environment.
While the CO2balance and Climate Corporation cookstove projects in Rwanda continue to make fantastic progress, we are also working on feasibility studies to be able to start our first Rwandan borehole project! We are working closely together with Rwandans4water, a non-profit organisation registered in Rwanda providing clean water solutions to communities. Rwandans4water was established in 2008 by a group of Rwandan engineering students graduating from different universities in Rwanda and abroad with the aim of improving people’s health conditions by providing clean water as well as inspiring and equipping the youth to be part of solutions to problems the country faces. We are looking forward to start the work on the ground, stay tuned for further updates!
The CO2balance and Climate Corporation projects in Rwanda continue to make fantastic progress! We have currently distributed a total of 5,368 stoves since the project started, already reaching 3 different Sectors within the Bugesera District. This progress is set to continue, with the next delivery of stoves scheduled to reach the next communities on Tuesday. . .
The 20th May marked the start of our second Micro-Scale Improved Cook Stove project in the Bugesera District, Rwanda. As the factory loaded up the truck in Kigali, I travelled to the Sector of Mareba, where both the local administration and the communities were ready to receive the first stoves.
When we arrived, the Executive Secretary welcomed us to his Sector, and we were then invited to join the Ceremony to mark the beginning of the project in this area. Behind the Sector Office, a group of local people had gathered, ready to receive their new stoves. The Ceremony began with traditional singing and dancing to welcome us, and the Project was then officially opened by the Executive Secretary.
After the introductions and explanations about the project and its benefits, the first stoves arrived from Kigali, and the local Community Project Officers began to fill out the beneficiaries details and give them their stoves.
The stoves are very heavy to transport, weighing approximately 23Kg each, and we saw some very interesting means of transportation by those taking their new stove home. . .
In addition to the Sector representatives, journalists from National and Local Rwandan radio arrived, to carry out interviews and report on the project.
It was great to have such a warm welcome and to see how happy the communities are to be receiving the stoves! We’re looking forward to continuing our stove distribution in many more Sectors in the coming months. . .
In the North of Rwanda, bordering Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, lays the Virunga Volcanic Mountain Range. The Virunga Range is made up of three National Parks; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
These parks are unique in that they are one of only two places in the world that the Mountain Gorilla can be found. The other is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
The Mountain Gorillas have been attracting tourists to Rwanda for many years, and this has now been turned into a very successful means of conservation. After a dramatic decline in numbers since their discovery, gorilla numbers have now slowly increased, however they are still classed as an endangered species.
During my recent trip to Rwanda, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to take part in the world famous Gorilla Trekking. Our journey started from the town of Ruhengeri (Musanze), approximately 2 hours drive from Kigali in North-West Rwanda. We began the day with a very early briefing at the National Park headquarters in Kinigi. After meeting our guide, we were assigned our Gorilla Family. There are several families available for tourists to visit, and the maximum number of tourists is 8 per group. We were assigned the Umubano Group, led by the dominant silverback “Charles.” After the briefing with our guide, we set off in our 4×4 along the increasingly steep tracks formed of volcanic rocks, to begin the journey in the foothills of the volcanoes, and the starting point of our trek.
The walk begins with a gentle pathway through the fields of crops, thriving in the fertile volcanic soil, passing by the local farmers and excited children. We then reached the boundary of the National Park, marked by a stone wall. As we climbed over the wall, the landscape immediately changed to that of thick jungle, and we were joined by the trackers, who had been out in the jungle several hours before to locate our gorilla family.
We climbed through the thick jungle, up and down steep slopes, and through the undergrowth. It didn’t take long before we heard the noises and rustling from the gorillas. . .
Once we reached the family, we were able to spend an hour with the gorillas, watching as they lazed around having their afternoon rest, the younger members playing together, and a 6 month old baby clambering and playing with his mother. Some were lying quietly, others eating, and some climbing and swinging in the trees. The gentle gorillas were unphased by our close proximity, carrying on as usual.
An unforgettable experience in a beautiful part of the world!
On Friday, we held a Local Stakeholder Consultation in the Bugesera District, Rwanda. Bugesera is a District in the Eastern Province, and will be the location for approximately 12 of our Micro-Scale Improved Cook Stove Projects.
We have already successfully implemented the first of these projects, and are now moving on to the next four projects. Once the initial five projects are complete, we will move to new areas in the District. In view of this planned expansion, we held a meeting to invite stakeholders from several new areas in the District, where we plan to distribute stoves in the near future.
The meeting was arranged in conjunction with our local NGO partner; FAPDR. Attendance was very good, and feedback was very positive. Also in attendance were representatives from Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA), who were impressed that the CO2balance stove is manufactured locally in Rwanda, and also spoke of the need for such a project, especially in Bugesera where wood stock is continually diminishing.