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.
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.
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.
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.
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.