CO2balance projects are renowned for being high impact, transparent, and genuinely benefitting the communities. Therefore, to continue generating high quality carbon credits through our carbon projects, we have a duty to visit our existing projects to inspect their functionality and evaluative if improvements are required. As development in safe water and cooking technologies progresses in our project countries, we must ensure that the projects we operate are functional, effective, and appropriate alongside the current development trends.
Over the past month, two members of our UK team having been in Uganda carrying out long-awaited project audits and touching base with our in-country team for a thorough update on the status of the projects. In Uganda there are soon to be over 900 rehabilitated boreholes located across the country, with some of our safe water projects operating for over 8 years. With these older projects, they are more likely to experience the need for borehole repairs or re-education on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices so in-person visits to the boreholes are essential to determine if further interventions are required.
During the trip, 30 boreholes were audited across all project areas: from Kaliro district in the East, to multiple districts in the Northern region, and Western and Central districts. The audit procedure is carried out by a UK member of staff, the in-country manager and the Project Officer that knows the community and operates the project on the ground. Aspects of the audit include assessing elements such as:
- Borehole Identification: visibility of a plaque with the borehole identification details displayed
- Borehole surroundings: is it clean, are there animals nearby that could contaminate the water source, is there a risk of flooding near the borehole?
- Fencing: is there a solid fence/wall constructed that stops animals from accessing the borehole area?
- Pump status: are there any signs of cracks or damage to any part of the pump?
- Flow: is the water flowing at a suitable speed? Does the water have an odour?
- Logbook: are the communities using the provided logbook to note issues/repairs/meetings? Is it accessible to the Project Officer to review when visiting the community?
- WASH: are the containers clean inside and out? How often do they clean the containers? Is there a latrine nearby that could contaminate the water source?
- Old source: where did the communities collect water from before the rehabilitation of the borehole?
- Health: have the community members seen an improvement in their health since the rehabilitation and continued maintenance of the borehole?
Photographs are taken of the site, including the soak pits and surrounding areas, to capture an image of the status of the area.
Meetings are carried out with community members and Water Resource Committee members during the visit. This provides a fantastic opportunity for the CO2balance team to explain the importance of maintaining the borehole and addressing vital points such as the need for WASH practices both at the borehole and at home. The conversation is open to all and both men and women are invited to share their feedback on using the borehole and highlight any challenges they face relating to the project. A variety of challenges were raised during these meetings such as gender-based violence due to water collection, seasonal variation in financial support for borehole repairs due to the reliance on farming as an income, and impacts of climate change drying out the aquifer in the hot summer months. These open and honest conversations provide a vital insight into the reality of water collection in rural communities and highlight areas for support and improvement where possible.