An Exciting Few Weeks for the Team

The next couple of weeks promise to be action packed for the projects team. I am heading out to Malawi to meet with our partners Concern Universal to discuss ways we can work together to deliver even more great projects. While Richard is flying out to Kenya this weekend to prepare for and undertake the site visits for our two CDM cook-stove projects. He will be followed closely by Eszter who has a fantastic trip lined up to Uganda to check on our borehole projects, before heading off to Kenya for the Shimba Hills verification site visit.

While we all welcome the chance to get out of the office these trips are normally jam packed so that we can make the most of them and more often than not we return in need of a long holiday!

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Safe Water in Malawi with Concern Universal

CO2balance is pleased to announce that it has recently submitted 4 micro scale projects to the Gold Standard Foundation for listing. This marks a milestone in our work to date with Concern Universal in Malawi and lays the foundations for scaling up our partnership further.

Borehole repair

The projects in question aim to provide safe water to households in rural Malawi through a programme of borehole repairs and drilling followed by a preventative maintenance programme to ensure they continue to provide clean water to communities for the entire 7 year life time of the project.

While Malawi continues to invest and make progress in water sector development, there are still issues of functionality and equity across the country with some districts including Dowa and Kasungu remaining among the least served, estimated at 41% and 61% respectively. Safe water access is even worse across the districts with 24% of the population having access to safe water in TA Dzoole; 26% in TA Kayembe and 32% in TA Chakhaza in Dowa district; 24% in TA Santhe and 40% in TA Kawamba in Kasungu districts.

This is in part due to the high variability and climatic extremes present in this area of continent, but the primary reason is a lack of infrastructure and functionality issues.  Water stress has been shown to be a key barrier in achieving economic development, so achieving the growth necessary to invest in infrastructure remains out of reach in a vicious cycle driven by poverty.

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Decentralised water purification systems (such as boreholes and domestic filtration devices) offer a less expensive route to clean water security, but the costs involved in even these small scale interventions are prohibitive for most people at a domestic level.  Therefore the traditional technique of boiling water remains the only viable method of purifying water for households and  around 5% of domestic energy in Africa (primarily in the form of non renewable biomass) is used to treat water in this manner. This project aims to remove the energy barrier of purifying water through boiling by repairing, drilling and maintaining boreholes in undeserved rural communities.

Borehole Project in Bangladesh

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According to the Bangladesh WASH Alliance, a staggering 60% of the Bangladeshi population has to endure unsafe drinking water sources. The contaminated drinking water is an urgent and growing health problem in the country where combined with poor sanitation it is the leading cause of diarrhoea and is responsible for one third of the total child deaths. To be able to deliver clean water technologies, CO2balance will work with its in-country partner Concern Universal Bangladesh and community groups in the Chittagong Hills to identify broken down boreholes and renovate them so that they provide clean, safe water. CO2balance will ensure that the quality of the water delivered by the boreholes is fit for human consumption for the entire length of the project, which will be a minimum seven years.

This new project is going to take place in the Chittagong Hills which comprises an area of 13,295 square kilometres in south-eastern Bangladesh and borders India and Myanmar. This very hilly area of Bangladesh is one of the few remaining abode of Buddhism in South Asia, where the culture, language and physical appearance of the local tribal population also differ markedly from the Bengali majority of Bangladesh. Like other mountainous areas in South and Southeast Asia, the Chittagong Hills is also undergoing deforestation and land degradation arising from environmentally unsuitable activities such as tobacco cultivation in sloping land, shifting cultivation and logging. The borehole project also aims to address these challenges by providing access to safe water supply so local people do not need to burn significant amount of biomass to treat their water for drinking, cleaning or washing.

CO2balance and Concern Universal Bangladesh is currently organizing a stakeholder meeting which will mark the starting point for this borehole rehabilitation and maintenance project. The launching workshop will take place at 10.30 am on the 11th of May, in the Panchhari Dayamoy G. Primary School, Rangamati. We cordially invite all our international and local stakeholders to attend the meeting, as your knowledge and input will be of value at this event, helping us to design a project with maximum positive impact for local people.

ENVISIONING CLEAN WATER IN MACHAKOS COUNTY

Co2balance realizes the pain most communities undergo in Kenya in accessing clean and safe water especially in the dry areas. As a result last month Co2balance started discussions with the County government of Machakos to find ways how to work together and solve this menace.

Machakos County is one of the 47 counties in Kenya. Its capital is Machakos town. The local climate is semi arid with hilly terrain with an altitude of 1000 to 1600 meters above sea level. Tourist related activities such as Camping, hiking safaris, ecotourism and cultural tourism, dance and music festivals among many more are more excitingly done due to the hilly terrain. The County experiences erratic and unpredictable rains of less than 500mm annually, with short rains in October through to December and the long rains in late March to May.

Currently Machakos County is exploring carbon finance as a possible alternative revenue stream for funding its borehole community projects as well as sustaining the operation of these projects. Recently Co2balance led by the Kenya Country Director Paul Keir, travelled to the county to meet with the County Governor and other stakeholders. The goal was to gain an understanding of their current initiatives as well as identifying ways carbon finance could be generated.

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At this stage its worth mentioning that water projects reduce carbon emissions by introducing a new ‘zero emissions technology’ that provides safe water in the project scenario; examples include a hand pumped borehole (as opposed to powered by a diesel generator) or a household water filter. As people don’t already have access to a supply of safe water in the county many have to boil unsafe water on traditional stoves to purify it. By providing this zero emissions technology to people who do not have access to a supply of safe drinking water the project will reduce the emissions created from boiling water for drinking thus safeguard the environment and curb climate change.

Many existing boreholes in the county owned by community groups have fallen into disrepair because maintenance programmes have been poorly managed and or prove too expensive. In this instance Co2balance will work with Machakos County to identify broken down boreholes and rehabilitate them so that they deliver clean and safe water. The main goal for the collaboration will be to ensure that the quality of the water delivered by the boreholes is fit for human consumption.