CSR Project in Rwanda – Update on Impacts

In 2017, CO2balance has been building on its successful carbon offset projects in Rwanda by conducting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project. Building on CO2balance’s work to provide communities with clean water in Gatsibo district, the CSR project has ensured that 4 primary schools have the facilities to make the best possible use of their water supply. This has involved the provision of handwashing facilities to schools where previously none existed, as well as rehabilitation of school toilet facilities to ensure that they are hygienic, lockable and private.

Handwashing point

A handwashing point in use at Kiramuruzi Primary School

This work has been complemented by building the capacity of schools to promote hygiene and sanitation. This began in early 2017, with the training by Rwandans 4 Water of teachers and groups of pupils on approaches to hygiene and sanitation. This led to the creation of WASH clubs in all 4 schools, which now meet on a weekly basis during term time and give presentations in school assemblies on the importance of handwashing and personal hygiene.

Ruth Muhorakeye, who is Deputy Head Teacher at Gorora Primary School which has been participating in the project, has given very positive feedback on the impact of these WASH activities. She notes that prior to the project, the remoteness of the school meant that having access to WASH information and facilities was a major challenge, but that she has seen major changes in recent months: “Making the toilet facilities private and enclosed was very important for the dignity of the pupils here, especially for the girls who suffered great shame at having nowhere to privately relieve themselves. We are very happy that pupils don’t have to worry about this anymore. We now see pupils washing their hands every time they use the latrine, and following the WASH training, teachers report that children are now engaging much more enthusiastically in keeping the classrooms and school clean.”

The CSR project’s other main activity has been the installation at each school of solar panels for lighting and charging points. This has been a major development, bringing electricity and light to the schools for the first time, as they are all located in areas which are not year linked to the national grid. This has been a tipping point, opening up major new opportunities for the schools. For example, Ntete Primary School had previously been provided with a laptop but had no way in which to charge it. However, the installation of a solar charging point has allowed this to be kept charged up, enabling teachers to download recent curriculum materials via mobile internet and present to pupils on subject matter to which they had previously had no access.

Light in classroom

A classroom lit up by a solar-powered light

Another impact reported by all primary schools has been that having light in classrooms for the first time has enabled them to keep the doors open in the evening, allowing pupils to study after hours. This is a major development, as the majority of pupils did not previously have lights in their homes, making it very difficult to complete homework. The benefits of this have been most keenly felt by pupils in class P6, the top year of primary school, who have been able to study in the evenings in preparation for their final exams, which are essential for gaining entry to secondary school.

The project has now passed its mid-point and will run until April 2018, when Rwandans 4 Water will hand over the continuation of the activities to the headteachers of the schools involved. Watch this space for more updates in the coming months!

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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.’

 

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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