In the vast county of Taita-Taveta, a small village of Kajire in Sagalla location thrives. And here we meet up with women from Kajire women group who have gathered for their monthly merry go round. With smiles and excitement on their faces they welcome us to their sitting. We introduce ourselves and we begin our small discussion on their experience using the Carbon Zero improved cook stove and its bigger impact in fighting climate change. Caroline Kwida who is one of the oldest members stands out, at her age of 76, she still has a lot to offer to the mother nature. With her advice and suggestion she captures the minds of her fellow members as she tells them about the Carbon Zero stove and how it has improved her lifestyle.
You see, Caroline lives with her 85 year old husband and her cooking area is inside her two roomed house. As she explains how smoke used to affect her and her aged husband giving them all sorts of respiratory infections and itchiness that would not stop in their half blind eyes, she could not be more grateful for the benefits of the carbon zero stove. She used to spend a lot of time fetching firewood now she says it takes her less than thirty minutes to gather firewood for her daily meals. Before getting the improved stove she used to spare not less than three hours daily just searching for fuel wood. The women are clearly amazed at this wonder stove and we request Caroline if she could be kind enough to invite us to her kitchen home which she quickly obliges. Not more than five hundred meters from the meeting place we arrive at her well kept homestead. She welcomes us in and starts to prepare us some tea so that we can also experience how fast the CZK stove cooks.
We ask what she does with the extra time now that she spends time looking for firewood and he gladly shows us her flock of ducks, she now has enough time to spend with her husband taking care of him in his old age and also take care of her flock of ducks which is her main source of income. Our tea is done in no time and the group members are very impressed. As we finish we cannot help but to wonder how this aged couple would have survived without the highly efficient CZK stove. Caroline and her fellow members are forever grateful for the introduction by Co2 balance of a life saving project. With a smile on our faces and confidence high up we take our leave to the next household.
Approximately three billion people across the globe cook every day using open, three-stone fires or rudimentary traditional stoves. Cooking with these traditional cook stoves is inefficient and grossly polluting, harming health and the environment, and contributing to global warming. In many places worldwide, women must walk for hours to collect firewood, risking their safety and sacrificing energy and time that could be used to earn a living. While often overlooked as a major contributor to the global burden of disease, cooking over open fires indoors is the largest environmental health risk in developing countries i.e. Kenya.
In Kenya the case is not different, many households can relate with the simple and accessible mode of cooking. For decades, women have been using this cooking style not knowing the danger that they expose themselves to.
To curb these menace Carbon Zero has developed various improved cook stove models that suit the needs of different local communities with higher efficiencies that have been able to cut down on the amount of fuel used and reducing the time spent cooking allowing women some free time to engage in other income generating activities. Carbon Zero stoves have enabled women to cook with less than a half of the wood they used to use on wasteful three stone fires and in much less time. This saves lives because less wood means less smoke and thus less disease.
In the Western part of Kenya in Kisumu Carbon Zero has distributed over 10,000 improved cook stoves. Among the stove models distributed in the area was a brick rocket stove that locals have over time complimented for its good service. The rocket stove was the first cook stove to be built in Kisumu East region as part of the pilot project to be used in the rural settlement, where wood used for cooking had led to the immense deforestation of trees. The liner effect on the stove creates a highly efficient, largely smoke-free burn.
Mrs. Abigael Awour who is 65 years old lives in Rapogi village in Kisumu county were she has been married for the past 35 years and stays with her daughter and 2 grand children. She is a beneficiary of the rocket stove and we seek to get her opinion on the stove after using it for the last four or so years. With a smile she narrates that “Before receiving the brs cook stove, I had the traditional three stone open fire cook stove, which consumed a lot of fuel and I had to cut down most of the trees I planted so that I could sustain my family. I stay with my grand children who are very young which means I had to cook several meals a day and it was devastating because it was time consuming, very expensive, I also developed health complications, severe back pains and was on a lot of painkillers because I had to bend while cooking since the stove is practically on the ground and cannot be raised.”
She further adds that “After receiving the Rocket Stove I have seen a lot of changes especially in matters that deal with health because I no longer cough a lot due to the smoke reduction since I dry my wood completely and my back pain is no longer severe. The stove was done by professionals who considered all ages; I can now sit down and cook comfortably without straining, save money since I don’t need too much drugs for the back pain, now I have time to do farming and from the savings from firewood I buy maize seeds. Also the stoves retain heat so I only cook twice a day and leave the food warm on the stove for anyone to consume. Now it’s not necessary to cut down a tree to cook, all you need is a few small branches. Energy saving stoves are of great importance to our community, says Rhoda, one of the youth volunteers on the project. The stove saves a lot of energy and money because less firewood has to be collected or purchased. It also cooks faster so women have more time to engage in other income-generating activities and it is more hygienic than the traditional model. The stoves have greatly improved our living standards and for me the rocket stove form Carbon Zero is the best thing that ever happened to women in Rapogi.”
CO2balance celebrated another milestone last week as we issued another of our Kenyan Improved Cook Stove projects under the Gold Standard. Situated in the coastal region of Kenya, the beautiful beaches are a popular tourist destination but local populations are still reliant on wood fuel and traditional three-stone fires for cooking. Over the past years we have monitored how our stoves have been helping to reduce the use of firewood leading to economic and health benefits for local people as well as lowering carbon emissions.
Since 1990 Kenya has lost on average 0.32% forest cover per year and though that does not sound very significant, it equates to more than 250,000 ha. This burden has fallen disproportionately on the coastal region of Kenya where fewer tree cover gains have been observed and our project is one that is helping to combat this decline. Biomass energy has hovered around 70% of total energy requirements for Kenya and seen little reduction in 40 years. 90% of this demand comes from the domestic sector and by providing more efficient cooking stoves, we can help to reduce the total demand for energy and therefore, wood, leading to multiple benefits for local people and the local environment.
CO2balance are celebrating somewhat of a milestone this week as we submit our 50th project under our global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA) GS1247! Together, our projects have had a huge impact, reducing global carbon emissions and improving livelihoods in some of the world’s poorest communities.
This is a significant flag in the ground and it coincides with the commitment from World Leaders to 17 Global Goals in the hope of achieving three extraordinary things; ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and mitigating climate change. As we continue to develop projects across the globe we are proud to be able to see and measure the tangible benefits that our projects have and how they are contributing towards achieving these goals.
For updates on all our projects, sign up to email updates or follow us at @co2balance.
Community involvement is an important part of the way we work, and our Kenya Team are often visiting the villages and towns where run our projects to talk to families about their new stoves. Recently, Virginia Njeri, one of our Regional Coordinators visited our stove project in Kaptagat and spoke to Mrs. Sharon Kibor, here is her story:
In Flax Centre of Marichor location in Kaptagat hails Mrs. Sharon Kibor. She lives with her husband and their two children.
Mrs Kibor is a farmer and is a beneficiary of a cook stove from Carbon Zero Kenya Ltd. Having used the cook stove for two years, she was delighted to narrate her experience to us.
In her own words she says,”It is a personal testimony; I adore the stove not because you are here, but because I have tasted the good of its benefits. Earlier on, I used my traditional chepkube which consumed a lot of wood; the smoke choked my child who also developed an eyes ailment. I never thought of an alternative until I acquired the Carbon Zero Stove.
“I now have no worry staying with my child in the kitchen while cooking since the stove does not produce as much smoke. I also have time for my business and this has helped me join merry-go-rounds to increase on my savings. Serving my family a good meal prepared in a smoke free environment lights up my day. That’s the joy of every woman who loves and cares for her family.”
Mrs Kibor is therefore grateful to Carbon Zero Kenya and CO2balance for helping conserve the environment through availing the energy efficient cook stoves which has helped improve life in her community.
Many thanks goes to Virginia Njeri in telling us this story and for Mrs. Sharon Kibor for her time providing us with this feedback about the project.
Last week we welcomed two new Carbon Projects Officers into the team to help manage the growing portfolio of projects that CO2balance are implementing. Both Antonis and Ethan completed their masters degrees at Edinburgh University and come to us full of knowledge on all things carbon. New members joining the team is always an exciting time for both old and new alike and we can’t wait to see what fresh ideas they bring to the company.
Over the coming weeks and months I am sure you will get to know them more as they begin to pick up their own projects as well as contributing to the blog but until then I hope you will join us in welcoming them to the CO2balance family!
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!