A new beginning in Zimbabwe

Since Summer 2017, CO2balance has been exploring the possibility of starting a programme of borehole rehabilitation and maintenance in Zimbabwe. Almost a year after this research began, the idea is finally coming to fruition, with a partnership having been struck up with Diocese of Mutare Community Care Programme (DOMCCP). DOMCCP is an experienced local NGO with a strong track record of delivering poverty alleviation and HIV awareness projects in Manicaland, the easternmost province of Zimbabwe. As I write, the DOMCCP team are in the field in Manicaland making final preparations for the rehabilitation of 34 boreholes, an intervention that will bring safe water and alleviate the burden of waterborne disease for 2,500 households in the province.

I was recently privileged to be the first CO2balance staff member to travel to Zimbabwe to meet the DOMCCP team and visit the communities to be targeted through the programme. I was given a warm welcome by the DOMCCP team in Mutare city, where their head office is based, and then had the chance to spend a few days visiting rural districts of Manicaland including Mutare Rural, Nyanga and Chipinge. In all of these districts, the vast majority of boreholes which have been installed in recent decades are now not functioning, with Zimbabwe’s well-documented economic problems in recent years having contributed to the drying up of funding to maintain water infrastructure.

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Community members gather round a broken borehole in  Chipinge district

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A muddy pool used as a drinking water source in Chipinge district

Throughout these visits, I was struck not only by the warm and generous welcome of the community members that we visited, but also by the great need for the upcoming programme. For example, I met Ramwidzai Musimbi in Nyangani village, where the borehole has not been functional since it broke down over 4 years ago. In the absence of any alternative water source, Ramwidzai has been forced to walk 2 kilometres each way to collect water from the Savé River, meaning that she will typically spend 3 hours per day getting water for her household’s needs. The incidence of waterborne disease from the river is also very high, meaning in turn that Ramwidzai has to spend a further 3 hours per day collecting sufficient firewood in order to boil the water to make it safe. For people like Ramwidzai, the impact of having a safe water source just 200 metres from her front door cannot be emphasised enough. She will save at least 5 hours per day, be saved the backbreaking work of collecting water and firewood and have the opportunity to pursue business opportunities and spend time with her family.

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Ramwidzai Musimbi and her son with the fireplace and pot where they usually boil water to purify it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Henry Nyapokoto of DOMCCP with Tom by the Savé River

The other main event during my trip was the Local Stakeholder Consultation meeting, where key people who will be involved in the project from the government and communities were brought together to discuss the project and give their feedback. It was fascinating to be part of the meeting and to hear first hand about the impacts that stakeholders expect to see from the project. One of the most interesting contributions came from Tendani Sanikiwe, the facilitator of a club supporting people living with HIV (PLWHIV) in Manicaland. She spoke for several minutes about how members of the club are often excluded from discussions about the importance of safe water, but how access to safe water is crucial to PLWHIV due to their increased susceptibility to disease and need for safe water to ensure the efficacy of drugs. This was a great example of how the project will impact on communities beyond the impacts on climate change and health that we address through our current monitoring, and has the potential to bring great benefit to groups often marginalised.

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Participants pose for a photo after the LSC meeting

Overall, it was a privilege to be in Zimbabwe and to spend time with DOMCCP’s dedicated team. Thank you to them for the warm welcome and for the work in getting this exciting new programme off the ground. Zimbabwe is a country going through momentous change in its national politics, but whilst that happens the need for sustainable management of water sources at the community level is greater than ever, and we’re very excited to be at the forefront with DOMCCP. Watch this space for updates in the next few months!

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Updates from the field – Kayonza

In partnership with our international and in-country project partners we have completed the rehabilitation of 45 boreholes in Kayonza District in Eastern Rwanda. The project is a result of a successful cooperation of multiple actors, this time including engineering students from the local university, too. Government officials have also welcomed the project especially because the district aims to improve its water supply coverage as part of Rwanda’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2). The total improved water source in Kayonza is at 72% compared to 82% of national average, but thanks to the borehole rehabilitations more than 22,000 people have now access to clean water. Adding to the 63 boreholes in Gatsibo, we have now 108 boreholes working thanks to our rehabilitation efforts in the Eastern Province. We are very pleased with this progress, please see some photos below about the repairs and the results.

Zoba Maekel, Eritrea – Completion of Borehole Repairs

After three months of enormous efforts our project partners Vita have successfully completed the repair and maintenance of 48 bore holes in the central region administration of Eritrea (or Zoba Maekel) This repair programme has received mass support and satisfaction from the beneficiaries that will now benefit from access to clean water across the entire district.

It is with enormous pleasure and pride on behalf of CO2balance that we have been able to be part of these projects which truly alter the lives of the most deserving people on the planet. I have seen first hand how illness from drinking dirty water and the time lost fetching it robs entire communities of their futures while cascading them onto a cycle of poverty which makes Eritrea one of the most under-developed countries in the world.

CO2balance and Vita are seeking to address extreme poverty in Eritrea going forward over the next number of years. Zoba Maekel is just one part of the programme being implemented which is seeking to break the cycle of poverty in Eritrea and long may it continue to thrive and develop going forward.  All our work is done in conjunction with the communities and people of Eritrea. Eritreans are proud of their country. Proud of what they have achieved in such a short time since becoming independent. In the villages and the towns where co2balance and Vita operate is to be found Eritrea’s greatest strength; the resilience of its people.

It was Robert Unger (philosopher and politician) who famously articulated that “At every level the greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different”. CO2balance together with Vita do not lack any clarity or imagination on a vision for Eritrea. Ultimately, their programme has the dream of repairing all the broken boreholes in the country and providing clean water for thousands of people. Watch the space for this dream becoming a reality.

See a montage of photos from the borehole repair programme in the beautiful country of Eritrea through 2016.

 

 

CO2balance Issues 4 Ugandan Borehole VPAs under The Gold Standard

Since 2013, CO2balance has been developing a number of borehole rehabilitation projects in Uganda under the Gold Standard voluntary carbon offset scheme. After almost 2 years, we are glad to announce that 4 VPAs in the Lango sub-region (Dokolo, Alebtong and Otuke Districts) have recently issued carbon credits for the first time. This is a major achievement for everyone that has been involved in the projects, in particular our staff in Uganda who have worked extensively with the communities and other local stakeholders to garner support and ensure that there is participation at all levels. Although this may seem straightforward, in practice there are a plethora of challenges that need to be negotiated especially when operating in such remote and poverty stricken environments.
Between 1987 and 2007, the Lango sub-region was subject to countless human rights atrocities by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which has had long lasting impacts on the social and economic fabric of the affected areas . It is estimated that over 20,000 children were abducted by the LRA many of whom were forced to commit horrific acts of violence. Around 1 million people fled their homes and ended up moving to temporary camps for the internally displaced (IDPs). The prolonged period of conflict inevitably led to the deterioration of institutions and basic services. All the challenges related to rebuilding a war-torn region are evident, from stabilising the economy and restoring infrastructure to reintegrating former members of the LRA and addressing human rights abuses.

Memorial Site for the 2004 LRA Massacre in Otuke District

Memorial Site for the 2004 LRA Massacre in Otuke District

 

Building a biogas plant for a local school in Barilonyo

Building a biogas plant for a local school in Barlonyo

Over the last 3 years, CO2balance has rehabilitated 41 boreholes in the Lango sub-region  which supply clean water to over 20,000 people who previously relied on open water sources such as lakes and ponds. As local governments lack sufficient funds for water infrastructure, these projects are playing a small but important role in the region’s post conflict development.

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CO2balance realises that community participation is crucial to the long term success of its projects

 

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One of CO2balance’s rehabilitated boreholes in the Lango sub-region

 

 

1st anniversary of rehabilitated boreholes in Rwanda

Next week will mark the anniversary of the rehabilitation of the first Rwandan boreholes in the frame of the successful partnership of co2balance and Climate Corporation Emission Tradning GmbH. The first 12 boreholes rehabilitated in Gatsibo district has been in operation for nearly a year and have been supplying fresh and clean water to the local communities. According to the monitoring studies conducted by our in-country partner Rwandans4Water, on average more than 500 people are served by one borehole, meaning that just the first 12 borehole provide clean water to 6,000 people. This is a great achievement in a sector, according to the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure (2010), the sustainable operation and management of rural water supply infrastructure is one of the key challenges with approximately one third of the existing infrastructure (about 850 rural water systems) needs rehabilitation. Please see the photos of few of those 12 borehole below and stay tuned for more good news from Gatsibo district, Rwanda.DSC_0116 DSC_0083 DSC_0110 DSC_0044

More boreholes rehabilitated

In partnership with our local NGO partner Rwandans4Water, we have finished the rehabilitation further 30 boreholes in Gatsibo district this month. According to the data collected on the field, it means that at least 15,000 more people have now access to clean water, many of them are young children. Borehole users are also involved in community sensitization programme and in the monitoring so our project partner can always have the most up-to-date information from each and every boreholes. Rwandans4Water  have complied a fantastic video of their ongoing work in the district which also features the projects we are working on together, please have a look!

Local Stakeholder Consultation In Zoba Maekal, Eritrea

On Sunday 12th July, our project partners Vita conducted a local stakeholder consultation for the upcoming clean water projects to be included in the co2balance GS1247 PoA in Zoba Maekal, Eritrea. These are first of its kind Gold Standard clean water VPAs in Eritrea. At the meeting there were over 130 participants which included the local district administrators, representatives of the WASH committee, and experts from water source departments, and members of the local communities.

Mr. Yemane Abai, Director General of Agriculture and Land in Zoba Maekal gave an opening speech saying that the proposed borehole rehabilitiation will play an important role for supplying clean drinking water particularly in rural areas. He expressed his gratitude towards Vita and co2balance as they shall support development of Eritrean communities by repairing broken hand pumps. He reminded members of communities that they shall endeavour to work alongside Vita and co2balance in fostering a collective sense of responsibility for the new repaired boreholes, to achieve inclusive and sustained long term future prosperity in the region.

The local stakeholder meeting formally begins the new Vita and co2balance partnership borehole VPAs in Eritrea and we are excited about what our future work will hold. Watch the space for updates and photos from the field.

Zoba Maekel, Eritrea Source:http://www.potapak.com/1/projects_recent.html

Zoba Maekel, Eritrea
Source:www.potapak.com