Rwanda’s Akagera National Park is the largest protected wetland in Central Africa. It is home to rhinos, lions, and more recently, one of CO2balance’s latest projects.
There are 400,000 people living in the periphery of the park, many of whom depend on the park’s activities for their livelihoods and amenities. Demand for firewood for cooking purposes is high, but the lack of forests means availability is low, pushing people further and further into the national park in search for what they need. This is where the advent of improved cookstoves can make a real difference: in contrast to inefficient traditional three stone fires for cooking, improved cookstoves offer an efficiency gain of around 50%, thereby slashing firewood demand in half.
This results in an array of benefits, from reduced CO2 emissions, time saved in gathering wood fuel, and reduced exposure to the toxic gases contained in wood smoke – to which women and children are especially vulnerable.
Not disturbing the park’s natural ecosystem also has direct benefits for the neighbouring communities, given that revenue from tourism and educational activities in the park are a major part of the local economy. Maintaining the vital biodiversity through reduced loss of tree cover is just one more reason why the humble cookstove is such an important development tool for the area.
CO2balance has been working together with Rwanda of Peace and Progress (RPP) since 2013, together delivering 30,000 improved cookstoves across Rwanda to date. In this latest collaboration, it is envisioned a further 36,000 will be distributed over the next two year period.
In June, the project moved to the next phase – the local stakeholder consultation (LSC). With the assistance of the local Mukarange health centre, the event was Covid-secure, with all participants having returned a negative Covid19 test result prior to attending.
During the LSC, participants were informed about the usage of the stove and the environmental and health benefits it offered. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with the only negative comments being that they wished they had received the stoves sooner, and they hoped an even greater number of people could be reached in the future!
CO2balance would like to extend our thanks to RPP, the Mukarange Health Centre, and all participants for cooking up a successful, and safe, event!