In November our director Neera van der Geest and colleague Gert Crielaard traveled to Northeast Africa to visit the annual Clean Cooking Alliance meeting in Kenya, a new cookstove project in Uganda and a meeting of our Ethiopian partner OCFCU.
In November we visited the annual meeting of the Clean Cooking Alliance in Kenya and spoke with various parties from the clean cooking sector. It was striking how many activities were presented around solar cookers in refugee camps. This is really a super solution for cooking. The wood in the surroundings of a refugee camp is mostly largely felled and conflicts with surrounding villages often arise over this scarce supply.
Furthermore, it was striking how much is being tested with data collection. An example: sensors that sit on the cookstoves and measure how long cooking is taking place. This can greatly simplify the process of carbon reduction measurement.
After the visit to Kenya we traveled on to the other side of Lake Victoria, to Uganda.
The purpose of this trip was to visit a new project in southern Uganda where we want to finance the rollout of 6,000 new cookstoves. Before we conclude a contract with a new project partner, we always visit this local partner and the organization who will do the roll out of the cookstoves and the monitoring of the carbon reductions.
In the cookstove project in Uganda, cookstoves have already been rolled out by Fairtrade Africa at Fairtrade coffee farmers who are members of the cooperatives "Ankole Coffee Producers and Cooperative Union" and the "Kibinge Coffee farmers" Cooperative ".
The special feature of this project is that no more wood is needed for cooking, because briquettes are made from agricultural waste for cooking. This can be done, for example, with coffee husks or corn stalks. These are carbonized and then pressed into briquettes with cassava flour. A nice process that mainly uses excessive agricultural waste. And there is still enough left to serve as organic fertilizer for the coffee plants.
But the most memorable thing about the visit to Uganda is the meeting with the families who use the cookstoves. In this case too, cooking is done by women. They were very enthusiastic about the cookstoves, because they can now cook all day with a few briquettes and they have almost no problems anymore with smoke-related problems, such as irritated eyes and excessive coughing. We spoke to Miriam, a 45-year-old coffee farmer, who told us that she was seeing poor eyesight because of eye irritation and that her eyes are already recovering. And she also said that there is currently a shortage of briquettes, because the stoves are used so well and there is a lot of demand for this.
The last part of this trip was the visit to the annual meeting of our partner in Ethiopia, the coffee cooperative OCFCU. Unfortunately it is still restless in the project area, but the roll out of the cookstoves continues steadily. We expect to receive the Fair Trade / Gold standard Carbon Credits at the end of this year or early next year.
Neera van der Geest
FairClimateFund always takes the CO₂ footprint of its journeys into account as much as possible. We visit our projects at most once a year to discuss the progress with our local partners. We always compensate our (project) trips with our Fairtrade Carbon Credits.