Crossing Fences

Last week was very busy and full of fieldwork for Carbon Zero team. We were out in the field doing verification for our two CDM projects in Kenya that is in Mathira in Nyeri and Kaptagat in Eldoret. Glad that all went well during the verification process.

The field work was characterized by tough walking, climbing hilly terrains, climbing and crossing fences to access the required households.

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It was a nice experience meeting Carbon Zero cook stove beneficiaries and listen to them share their testimonies regarding the stove. All the visited beneficiaries were glad and praised the stove especially on its high level of efficiency and fuel consumption. Many indicated that Carbon Zero stoves use less wood thus loggers have less demand so less trees are being logged. And over time this has increased vegetation cover.

They also noted that most families pay to purchase wood as cooking fuel and now with a less need for wood, family income have increased. Some families indicated that typical stoves (three stone cook stoves) release clouds of toxic smoke into the home as there is no ‘chimney’ or exhaust tube something that Carbon Zero stoves have been of great help as they have drastically reduced particulates, which means that the families using them have better health than otherwise. Many also pointed at the fact Carbon Zero stoves cook faster thus allowing women to venture into other income generating activities while at the same time giving women time to take care of their families.

                                                                                                                                   

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Headed to Kisumu West

The past few days have been very busy for Carbon Zero Kenya team. Effectively multitasking to ensure all ongoing projects meet the required high standards and yesterday was not different. A truck full of buckets and port plates left our Nairobi office early in the morning headed to Kisumu West.

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One may wonder whether Carbon Zero has started selling buckets and the answer is a simple NO! The buckets are for making the most loved Carbon Zero artisanal Cook stove.Image

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Carbon Zero is working on an efficient cook stove project with rural women from Umeme Women Group in Kisumu West to produce 900 artisanal stoves. The aim of the Umeme Women’s Group Improved Cook Stove Project is to set up a self sustaining cook stove enterprise that will construct and sell 900 stoves over the course of the next five months. Carbon Zero Kenya will provide all stove components and materials required to construct the stoves as well as training and a work place. Carbon Zero Kenya will also provide marketing and sales support, while the Umeme Women’s group will contribute and play an active role in promoting the business. This project will create some source of income for the women and thus be able to improve their living standards.

A shortage of fuel for cooking is one of the many problems faced by people in Kisumu West as it is the case in other parts of the country. Gathering fuel is generally women’s work but is fraught with dangers; they gamble with the risk of rape and life threatening attacks during their search for much needed firewood, in order to feed their families. In certain areas, local sources of firewood are completely depleted, leading women to travel further and further afield or to dig up tree roots, eliminating any chance of the trees growing again. Even if women survive this, they are still exposing themselves and their children to potentially deadly smoke fumes.  

Carbon Zero is tackling this issue in Kisumu West through the use of more fuel-efficient Carbon Zero Artisanal Stove, which is both affordable and easy to use; cutting the amount of risky trips for firewood and allowing more trees the opportunity to grow. Subsequently, burning smaller amounts wood fuel means less smoke will engulf their homes and their lungs. 

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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Touching Lives in Likoni

Talk of impacting young lives and you will be talking about co2balance CSR project in Likoni; Shikaadabu primary school. This is a public mixed primary school in the Coastal region of Kenya.

In February this year co2balance through its CSR initiatives helped the school put up a fence and agate as a way of giving back to the community with the understanding that kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.

And guess what! The results are tremendous already. While speaking to the school head teacher Madam Khadija she categorically states that the project has been so helpful as it has effectively curbed truancy thus they are able to keep pupils in school. This is so because they are able to monitor anybody getting out of school and coming in. Initially lack of a fence led to high levels of truancy thus affected performance. The school had very poor results even in national exams since truancy levels were so high. Pupils could sneak out of school any time.

The head teacher says ‘…. as a school we are very happy and we thank carbon zero so much, the community and parents are very happy and we are sure that even our performance will change since the school environment supports learning at least unlike before’.

Further she states that because of the fence we can now do some farming on the school compound something we couldn’t do previously. People would come in and steal our vegetables and other crops but now we plant our vegetables and other crops with ease. Currently we get our vegetables from the school farm. This is so good and we are happy.

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She adds that ‘….co2balance helped us plant some trees around the school and this has improved the aesthetic value of our school. With this as a school we hope to plant more trees thus be part of the global campaign against climate change.’

 

Kisumu West project gets moving

It has taken a while since Carbon Zero Kenya created a small-scale improved cook stove manufacturing enterprise in the district of West Kisumu in Kenya. Just to offer an overview of the project, the project will take place over the course of six months, during which time, local female artisans will be trained by CZK to build and sell 900 energy-efficient bucket stoves. Carbon Zero will provide all the necessary training, materials and advertising to create a self sustaining stove enterprise in addition to ongoing logistical support. The artisans will sell the stoves at a highly subsidized rate directly from their workshop and via monthly stove distribution trips. Baseline assessments of local cooking practices as well as a stakeholder consultation were already carried out by our local field staff, confirming a high demand for improved cook stoves in the area.

Its good news to confirm that the project implementation is now on and last week on Friday Co2balance staff were in Kisumu West to have an introductory meeting with the women group that will be working on this project. The women were taken through the project and were very happy to be part of this process.

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 In addition to creating a self sustaining micro business run by women, the project will address the negative social, environmental and economic impacts caused by the combustion of unsustainably harvested biomass, (wood), through the distribution of 900 improved cook stoves to families at a highly subsidized cost. The stoves will help reduce pressure on local fuel supplies and eliminate indoor pollutants – providing families with an improved standard of living and a cleaner, easier and healthier way of cooking.

When the grant funding period ends, the artisans will be able to reinvest the money from stove sales in new stove materials. As the distributed stoves will be included under a Gold Standard Certified Emissions project run by our UK based project partner, Co2balance, the stoves are guaranteed to earn carbon credits, thus ensuring the long-term subsidization and sustainability of the project. After the successful roll-out of 900 stoves, both CZK and co2balance UK Ltd remain committed to monitoring and further expanding the project.

 

 

Solar Lantern Project in Kenya – meet Mrunde and John

This is Mrunde and John. They are both 13 years old and are cousins. They live together in a traditional mud house in Tsavo, Kenya with their family. They are in Standard 8, the final year of Primary School and keen to do well in their exams. They are both very excited to be given the solar lamps and are using them every evening to study hard from their text books that they share.

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Before the solar lamp, they used to struggle using a kerosene lantern which doesn’t produce much light but now they look forward to the evenings when they can use their solar lamps, which they call “their electricity”.

The solar lantern project was funded by Peros, and was in addition to their annual carbon offset work, where they support our Kenyan and Ugandan projects.  For more information on the solar lanterns project, and all the other projects that we run in Africa please contact us – 01823 332233; enquiries@co2balance.com

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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.