This week is Africa Climate Week. Officials from eight African countries and the UN are convening in Nairobi for a week-long conference, the purpose of which is to support the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement as well as assist delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In support of the endeavours of the conference this week and to highlight the importance of their mission, we are featuring the EcoAct Group’s offsetting project in Embu County, in the foothills of Mount Kenya. This project demonstrates the challenges faced by local communities and how a cheap and efficient solution is driving positive change both socially and environmentally.
The ‘Hifadhi’ Clean Cookstoves Project
The word ‘Hifadhi’ means to preserve in Swahili. Kenya loses 50,000 hectares of forest per year and has very low forest cover. Access to energy is limited in large parts of Kenya meaning that rural households are dependent on local biomass from forests. It has been estimated that 71% of annual energy consumption is fuelled by wood, mainly for cooking and heating homes. Consequently, Kenya’s limited forestry is in critical need of preservation.
Traditionally, rural people would prepare food on ‘three stone’ cook stoves. These are essentially open fires which are extremely smoky and consume large amounts of firewood. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that daily smoke inhalation from these traditional stoves is equal to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day! This has serious health implications, particularly for women, at risk of inhaling noxious gases for prolonged periods
Climate Pal (a part of the EcoAct Group) developed a project to tackle this problem by providing households with affordable, clean and efficient cookstoves that reduce the consumption of firewood and emit less smoke, with a range of positive impacts. With financial support from the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, 60,000 households now have clean cookstoves which positively impacts the lives of 300,000 people in rural communities.
The new stoves have been christened ‘Hifadhi’ cookstoves.
Fuelling Positive ChangeGHG EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS
Each new Hifadhi stove enables a 60% reduction in wood usage, which not only assists in forest preservation and the protection of precious carbon sinks, but as the project has been rolled out across the county, over 170,000 tCO₂ is being saved each year. This has positive implications for the reduction targets of the Paris Agreement and the mitigation of global warming.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BENEFITS
In turn the Hifadhi cookstoves have also helped contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in rural Kenya, providing positive impacts that improve the quality of lives and help nurture sustainable development.
TARGETING THE SDGs
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages97% of beneficiaries have reported that they now experience better indoor air quality, and there has been a high reduction in respiratory diseases, child pneumonia and cancer associated with inhaling carbon monoxide and particulate matter from open fires. Additionally, people experience a reduction in time spent on the laborious task of firewood collecting, this has now been reduced on average from 6 to 3 hours daily. This mostly impacts the well-being of women and in some instances young children who also assist in the collection of firewood but now have more time to dedicate to study.
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for allThousands of people have now benefited from access to improved affordable cookstoves, which have provided them with a cleaner and more sustainable energy source. The Hifadhi cookstoves are sold at a much lower cost than the actual net cost of the stoves to ensure that they are affordable and so that many people can acquire one. Ensuring this low price is possible thanks to the carbon credits, which are generated from the reduction in emissions.
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for allThere have also been positive consequences to the local economy as the project has required local manufacture of the cookstoves. 30 local artisans have been trained and 24 project officers have been hired, which provides income to families and contributes to a reduction of poverty.
This Gold Standard verified project represents our commitment and that of our clients to improve the lives of communities across Africa, reduce green-house gas emissions and fuel sustainable development worldwide.