Since 2013, CO2balance have been developing a number of borehole rehabilitation projects in Malawi under the Gold Standard voluntary carbon offset scheme in a unique collaboration with Concern Universal. After 2 years, we are glad to announce that 4 VPAs in the Dowa and Kasungu 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 the UK who have worked tirelessly to see these projects through to issuance.
The issuance of these unique VPAs should provide the springboard needed to drive these projects forward for their entire lifetimes. Congratulations to all on this including Concern Universal. A tremendous achievement.
Last week we received confirmation from the Gold Standard that our first 4 micro scale borehole projects in Malawi had been Listed. This is a land mark in what has been a slow moving project but one that carries an enormous amount of potential.
The project aims to improve access to clean water in one of the world’s poorest countries, ranked 160th out of 182 in the Human Development Index. In fact according to the United Nations about 74% of the population still lives below the poverty line of $1.25 a day and an incredible 90% are below the $2 a day threshold.
On top of this Malawi is considered a water stressed country with less than 1,700m3 of fresh water per capita. This problem is amplified by remarkable population growth, especially in its urban areas. Future water demand projections predict that Malawi will fall to less than 1,000 m3 of fresh water per capita as early as 2015.
Against this back drop only 65% of Malawi’s population has access to improved water and sanitation. Therefore to achieve its 2015 MDG targets more than 6 million additional people will require access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
Our projects are playing a small but vital role in helping Malawi meet its MDG targets and we have now repaired more than 60 boreholes which are currently providing communities with clean and safe water, while also helping to avoid current and future GHG emissions.
At the end of last week we received an update from our partners, Concern Universal, in Malawi that a total of 62 boreholes have been repaired and are now providing clean water for local communities. This marks a significant milestone in the project to date as it means we can soon submit to the Gold Standard for registration of our 4 VPAs.
The approach we are taking in Malawi is centred firmly on the community; before making any repairs the community must have organised a committee to manage the borehole. This committee is responsible for ensuring that some basic materials and labour are provided by the community before work can begin. We see this as an important step in the process as it affirms the communities buy in and ownership of the boreholes. Without this, it is unlikely that they will effectively manage the resource and further borehole breakdowns are likely to occur.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Through its ongoing partnership with Concern Universal, CO2balance has been leveraging carbon finance to improve safe water access in rural Malawi. The innovative project aims to rehabilitate damaged boreholes so that communities no longer have to treat their water through boiling or drink dirty water from unprotected sources. CO2balance then uses the carbon revenues to implement a maintenance programme, ensuring that the units stay functioning for the life time of the project.
Image: A man cycles home with a bundle of wood on his bike