Activities and plans in Northeast Africa

Activities and plans in Northeast Africa

Blog
01 Dec 2019

In November, our director Neera van der Geest and colleague Gert Crielaard traveled to Northeast Africa to visit the annual meeting of the Clean Cooking Alliance in Kenya, a new cookstove project in Uganda and a meeting of our Ethiopian partner OCFCU.

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In November we attended 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 really is a great solution for cooking. The wood in the vicinity of a refugee camp has usually been largely cut down and conflicts often arise with surrounding villages over this scarce supply.

Furthermore, it was striking how much testing is done with data collection. An example: sensors on the cookstoves that measure how long the cooking takes. This can greatly simplify the process of CO₂ reduction measurement.

After the visit to Kenya we traveled 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 enter into a contract with a new project partner, we always visit this local partner and the organization that will roll out the cookstoves and monitor the CO₂ reductions.

In the cookstove project in Uganda, cookstoves have already been rolled out by Fairtrade Africa to Fairtrade coffee farmers who are members of the cooperatives ‘Ankole Coffee Producers and Cooperative Union’ and the ‘Kibinge Coffee farmers’ Cooperative’.

The special thing about this project is that wood is no longer 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 compressed with cassava flour into briquettes. A beautiful process that mainly uses excessive agricultural waste. And there is still enough left to serve as organic fertilizer for the coffee plants.

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But what I remember most from the visit to Uganda is meeting the families who use the cookstoves. In this case too, women cook. They were very enthusiastic about the cookstoves, because they can now cook all day long with just a few briquettes and they almost no longer suffer from smoke-related problems, such as irritated eyes and excessive coughing. We spoke to Miriam, a 45-year-old coffee farmer, and she said that her eyesight has always been poor due to eye irritations 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 high demand for them.

The last part of this trip was the visit to the annual meeting of our partner in Ethiopia, the coffee cooperative OCFCU. Unfortunately, there is still unrest in the project area, but the rollout of the cookstoves is continuing steadily. We expect to receive the Fairtrade/Gold standard Carbon Credits at the end of this year or early next year.

Neera van der Geest
Director FairClimateFund

“FairClimateFund always takes the CO₂ footprint of its trips into account as much as possible. We visit our projects a maximum of once a year to discuss progress with our local partners. We always compensate our (project) trips with our Fairtrade Carbon Credits.”