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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Successful Issuance – Rwandan Cookstove Project

It is never late to share good news: we have issued over 30,000 credits from our Rwandan cookstove projects last December! It was the second issuance for the GS1267 which was the our first project to be implemented in Rwanda. The cookstoves in that specific VPA have been operational since early 2014 and are still in use in the stove beneficiaries households. Fortunately in the past three years there was no need for stove reparation, only the replacement of the wood grates at few households, confirming the durability of the in-house designed improved cookstove.

Below are few pictures about the improved cookstoves from the most recent trip to Rwanda. More pictures from the field will come soon, stay tuned!

Training and Maintenance in Rwanda

As part of the continuous input mechanism, at Co2balance we closely monitor and regularly discuss the feedback of our stakeholders in the countries we operate. Following such discussions with our field team in Rwanda, we have come to the conclusion that currently there is an additional need for training on stove operations and replacement of certain parts of our stoves to ensure that they keep operating at the highest efficiency. Since the first stoves were introduced almost two years ago, stove maintenance and the training programme were encouraged by the Rwandan CDM DNA from REMA (Rwanda Environment Management Authority) as well. Co2balance has been working closely with the authorities to make sure that there is a high-level support of our cookstove projects in Bugasera District. We are proud that the necessary maintenance work was carried out by local manufacturers in the very same district where our stoves are placed and that the feedback about the training programmes have been very positive as well.

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1st anniversary of rehabilitated boreholes in Rwanda

Next week will mark the anniversary of the rehabilitation of the first Rwandan boreholes in the frame of the successful partnership of co2balance and Climate Corporation Emission Tradning GmbH. The first 12 boreholes rehabilitated in Gatsibo district has been in operation for nearly a year and have been supplying fresh and clean water to the local communities. According to the monitoring studies conducted by our in-country partner Rwandans4Water, on average more than 500 people are served by one borehole, meaning that just the first 12 borehole provide clean water to 6,000 people. This is a great achievement in a sector, according to the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure (2010), the sustainable operation and management of rural water supply infrastructure is one of the key challenges with approximately one third of the existing infrastructure (about 850 rural water systems) needs rehabilitation. Please see the photos of few of those 12 borehole below and stay tuned for more good news from Gatsibo district, Rwanda.DSC_0116 DSC_0083 DSC_0110 DSC_0044

Cookstove LSC in Rwanda

On the 16th of September another successful Local Stakeholder Consultation took place in Gashora, Rwanda which marked the launch of a new cookstove projects in Bugasera sector. The projects will be implemented in the frame of a partnership between co2balance UK Ltd and Climate Corporation Emissions Trading GmbH, while the field activities will be facilitated by our in-country partner FAPDR with whom we have successfully worked together in previous projects.  The stakeholder consultation started at 10:00am and was attended by a high number of participants from six sectors of the district as well as by the representatives ofClimate Corporation Emissions Trading GmbH and co2balance UK Ltd. FAPDR took an active role in the moderation of the meeting which was held both in Kinyarwandan and English. After answering the questions from participants, the meeting was concluded with stove demonstration and the closing ceremony, following Gold Standard guidance. Please see some pictures  of the meeting below and stay tuned for updates about this new project. IMG_0520 IMG_0551 IMG_0543 IMG_0534 IMG_0518 IMG_0516

Borehole LSC in Kayonza

After the successful rehabilitation of more than 60 boreholes in Gatsibo district in Rwanda, co2balance is exploring the opportunities to further expand its operation in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. As a part of this process, we have invited people to the local stakeholder consultation which will take place at 10 am on the 16th of September at the Head Office of Kayonza District. The stakeholder meeting will be facilitated by our in-country partners FAPDR and Rwandans4Water and will be attended, among other, by representatives from both Co2balance and Climate Corporation Emissions Trading GmbH. We welcome anyone interested in our clean-water projects and hope to see many local and international stakeholders next Wednesday.DSC_0044

More boreholes rehabilitated

In partnership with our local NGO partner Rwandans4Water, we have finished the rehabilitation further 30 boreholes in Gatsibo district this month. According to the data collected on the field, it means that at least 15,000 more people have now access to clean water, many of them are young children. Borehole users are also involved in community sensitization programme and in the monitoring so our project partner can always have the most up-to-date information from each and every boreholes. Rwandans4Water  have complied a fantastic video of their ongoing work in the district which also features the projects we are working on together, please have a look!