Lion Alert pilot stove project a success

Dambwa Cookstove in Use

Zambia has seen rampant deforestation in the past decades and recent reports from the Food & Agriculture Organization (FOA) suggest the country now suffers the second highest deforestation per capita in the world.  The per capita annual consumption of firewood in Zambia is estimated at 1,025 Kg in rural areas.  The highest rates are found in the Southern province where deforestation has already impacted local climate, resulting in increased drought frequency and intensity, with negative effects on food crop production.

The rural communities surrounding Dambwa Forest, located in Southern province just outside the city of Livingstone, will be the beneficiaries of low carbon cook-stoves for every household, thanks to the efforts of the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (www.lionalert.org) with the generous support of the Woodspring Trust and the knowledge of improved cookstove technologies from CO2Balance.

Prior to implementation of this project a sample of households were assessed for current wood usage, having an average of 1,231 Kg per capita annual consumption.  Following a lengthy design process with the assistance of CO2balance, a stove design was created to make use of locally available resources, the majority of which come from sustainable sources.  As a pilot of the full scale project the first stoves created have been provided to households and their wood consumption reassessed to measure the efficiency of the design.  The results show a significant decline in wood usage to a per capita annual consumption rate of between 337 and 435 Kg – an average 69% fall from previous rates.  These results are within the expected range of efficiencies, although we are hoping to increase this through feedback from the families using the stoves, as well as from improvements in the manufacture process as we commence mass production.

Feedback from the families that are using the first stoves has been extremely favourable, reporting that they are able to cook all the foods they usually do on the stove, in the same time as on an open fire, and that smoke from the stove is less than from traditional cooking methods.

Team Building and Training in the Aberdares

On 11th  and 12th of February 2014 co2balance Kenya held a rigorous training in the Nairobi office then proceeded to the field in Aberdare’s one of co2balance project areas for practical’s. The training was attended by the three regional coordinators and myself; the newly recruited PDC in Kenya. Lloyd a UK based project manager who is in Kenya currently attended the training too while at the same time playing a key role of coordinating the whole training process.

Team Training Day

The training couldn’t have come at a better time as it enabled me as a person and the rest of the team to visualize things that seemed vague initially and gain deeper understanding about the whole project cycle and other project nitty gritties. The training provided a rear opportunity for the trainees to gain a diversity of essential theoretical skills regarding various project monitoring surveys in terms of when and how they should be conducted, validation process,  verification, how to create and effectively use GPS maps, carrying out a water boiling test and many more.

We further took time in the field in one of co2balance project areas and had very informative practical lessons where the trainees were given an opportunity to put theory into practise with the guidance of the trainers. In the field we were joined by some of the education community liaison officers (ECLO’s). Seeing members of the team shed tears and some with their handkerchiefs blowing their running noses they developed after the kitchen got “smoked” by the three stone stove was a lifetime experience.  It was indeed a great learning experience working with the team in a small village kitchen carrying out a comparative WBT on both three stone and CZK stove.

WBT Training

As away to measure impact of the training, trainees were asked to indicate their confidence in carrying out project tests and surveys and they all confirmed that their confidence had been increased. The regional coordinators and the ECLO’s who attended the training were tasked to go and train other staff on the project hence boost the technical knowhow of the whole Kenyan team in totality.

Good manners compel me on behalf of all trainees and the whole Kenyan team who will as a result benefit from this training thank the management of co2balance for having provided resources that were instrumental in facilitating this very important activity. Lloyd’s ability to coordinate the process remains commendable. I must also mention and thank the trainers (Jack and Teddy) too for their wonderful job.

Laying the Foundations in Baringo

co2balance joined new partners World Vision on a field trip to Baringo Country in Kenya at the beginning of the week to consult with various stakeholders about the up coming micro-scale cookstove projects. The trip included representatives from World Vision Australia, WV Finland as well as WV Kenya and started with a visit to households currently using different improved cookstoves in the area. This allowed the group to gain a greater understanding of the needs and challenges faced by women when cooking meals for their families; unsurprisingly the amount of smoke produced by different stove types was a common topic.

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Left to Right: Timothy (WV Kenya), Lydia (WV Kenya), Annette (WV Finland),
Andrew (WV Australia), Lloyd (co2balance), Dismas (WV Kenya)

The rest of the trip was given over to a consultation session in the grounds of a local school where area leaders, ministers and womens groups were invited to come and discuss the project. One of the hot topics was the savings and loans schemes implemented by the womens groups. The project aims to facilitate access to improved cookstoves but would like to tap into and support existing micro-finance structures. By doing this a market based approach can be developed that would result in organic growth within the project.

As announced in a previous blog post a stakeholder date and venue has been set and we would invite anyone interested to attend.

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Conference

Part of the co2balance team spent today attending the National Clean Cookstoves and Fuel Conference in Nairobi, Kenya hosted by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The Alliance’s goal is to catalyze the adoption of clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by households through a market-based approach that will achieve the following objectives:

  • Reduce household air pollution
  • Reduce environmental degradation
  • Empower women and improve livelihoods

20140204_161045[1]The meeting kicked off with presentations from the US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec as well as representatives from the United Nations and the Kenyan Government. These were proceeded by informative talks ranging from the recent Customer Segmentation Study conducted by co2balance  to clean cookstove standards, distribution models and financing options.

It is safe to say that after a full day of talks all the delegates, including co2balance, left with a lot to think about and a renewed sense of purpose to achieve the target of 7 million households in Kenya using improved cookstoves by 2020.

Left to Right:
Charles Ruto, Moses Maina
and Lloyd Archer

Introducing Moses Maina, Project Development Coordinator

For those of you who have been following our blog you will be aware that we have been recruiting for a new role within the company, to be based in Nairobi, Kenya. After some tough decisions we have made our choice and it gives me great pleasure to introduce Moses Maina to you as our new Project Development Coordinator.

Moses is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Development Studies having already obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies (Community Development) from Kenyatta University. For the last 3 years he has worked for the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) based at Cambridge University as a Research Consultant. Prior to that Moses had worked for the German International Cooperation (GIZ) where he supported development of a renewable energy project promoting Akut biogas technology and energy saving stoves as a project supervisor. In his spare time Moses works as a Volunteer Project Assistant with the Nairobi Disabled Empowerment Programme, helping to raise funds and coordinate their activities.

His passion for sustainable environmental conservation & management developed about five years ago when he saw weather conditions becoming very unpredictable and changing for the worst, farm produce dwindling every season due unreliable rainfall patterns, drought affecting areas that were known to be wet almost the whole year round, rising atmospheric temperatures and many more – all these as a result of the global menace; climate change. Knowing well that most of these have been caused as a result of anthropogenic activities, Moses is very much determined to be part of the process that seeks to reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere thus save the world for both the current and coming generations.

Moses Maina Joins the TeamMoses: “I am very much pleased to officially join the co2balance team as the Project Development Coordinator in Kenya. I am hopeful that I will effectively work together with the rest of the team and thus bring positive change to the company and the world.”

Left to Right: Catherine Ruhiu ‘HR and Finance Coordinator’; Moses Maina ‘Project Development Coordinator’ and Charles Ruto ‘Construction, Maintenance & Logistics Manager’

I hope you will all join us in welcoming Moses to the team!

First Rwandan stoves arrive safely in the Project Area!

The first batch of stoves for our Rwanda project have now left the factory in Kigali and have safely arrived in our Project Area in the Bugesera District. Our Construction, Maintenance & Logistics Manager worked alongside the local team at the factory to ensure that all the stoves were completed to a high standard, and quality checked as they were loaded onto the truck ready for delivery.

ImageThe stoves then travelled from Kigali to Bugesera where they were met by our local NGO partner, and stored close to their final destination with the families in the Ngeruka Sector. The next couple of weeks will see the distribution of all of these stoves to the houses of the first families!