Zambia Safe Water Project Development: Local Stakeholder Consultation

At the end of February, CO2balance Project Manager, Emma, travelled to Zambia to meet local partner organisation, ROCS, and to host a local stakeholder consultation for new borehole rehabilitation and maintenance projects in the Eastern Province. This is what she had to say about the trip: 

CO2balance has been exploring the possibility of developing a safe water project in Zambia for some time, so it was great to take the first steps into helping it come into fruition. Reformed Open Community Schools (ROCS) is an experienced and well respected local NGO that operate across Zambia. While their focus is predominantly on education and school projects, they also have significant experience in rehabilitating community boreholes and carrying out WASH campaigns.

ROCS Field Office in Lundazi

It was my first time in Zambia, and I was struck by the friendliness of the people and, as I was there in the ‘Emerald Season’, the lushness of the environment. The ROCS team gave me a warm welcome in Lusaka before we travelled up to Lundazi together to meet the local communities and stakeholders that will be targeted by the project, and to hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss the project design and impacts.

In the drive up to Lundazi we travelled through changing landscapes, and it was striking to see the reduction in forest cover in the more rural areas in the Eastern Province, our destination. Once in Lundazi we were able to visit rural communities in Lundazi, Lumezi, and Chasefu Districts. In all of these districts access to safe water presents a daily challenge for communities- with many of the boreholes installed in recent decades not functioning, they are forced to collect water from the only sources available to them, which are mostly ponds or streams, referred to locally as ‘dambos’. As the water sources are unsafe, many households have to boil their water over traditional 3 stone fires in order to purify it for drinking.

Speaking to a local Village Headman, he also underlined the impact that unsafe water can have on the health of his community. The majority of the community suffer from stomach related illnesses at least once a month, but most people can’t afford to attend a clinic for each incidence. Many of the women that I spoke to also highlighted the massive impact that having a reliable safe water source in their community would have on their every day lives- saving them valuable time and the burden of carrying heavy full jerrycans and firewood over long distances.

At the Local Stakeholder Consultation, stakeholders from across the District gathered to discuss the project and give their feedback on the project impact and design. At the moment, ROCS and CO2balance are aiming to rehabilitate and maintain 50 boreholes across Lundazi District, that will also focus on contributing to key SDGs including Clean Water and Sanitation, Gender Equality, and Good Health and Wellbeing.

It was a privilege to be part of the meeting, to hear first hand what the stakeholders thought of the project and what they think the impacts will be. Stakeholders ranged from local government to community members, and it was great to see that everyone played an active role in contributing, particularly in group discussions on safeguarding principles and SDGs. Overall, all the stakeholders were incredibly positive and supportive of the project, urging work on the ground to start as quickly as possible.

Stakeholders discussing the impacts that the project will have on SDG 5: Gender Equality

It was an absolute pleasure to spend time in Zambia with the ROCS team and the communities and stakeholders in Lundazi District. We are really excited to start moving on the project, and given the positive feedback from the stakeholders, we are aiming to start the rehabilitation of the boreholes in April, when they will start crediting. Watch this space for future updates!

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Feasibility Assessment in Zambia

Many community members are very satisfied with the provision of clean and safe drinking water from our projects.  Following the repair of rural boreholes, we receive comments like this one: “We have no more stomach problems or frequent cases of typhoid” says one man months after the rehabilitation of his village borehole.

co2balance and Vita are currently  enabling clean water development in East African countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia. Wanting to expand the impact of their successful water projects, Vita and co2balance are now looking at starting further activities in Zambia.

To get a first  impression of the situation on the ground, co2balance Director Mark Simpson and Vita’s Head of Programmes John Gilliland recently visited the Southern African country.

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Meeting with potential partners as well as viewing broken and repaired boreholes, co2balance and Vita are building contacts and assessing the potential for new projects – capable of improving rural livelihoods and reducing carbon emissions.

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We will keep you posted…!

 

 

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.