Less than half of the people living in Kenya have access to safe drinking water. Instead, they must collect water from sources like open rivers and streams, leading to regular outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases.
ClimateCare’s Lilian Kagume explains how her team measures the positive impacts delivered by the Aqua Clara Water Filtration Program, which not only provides communities in Kenya with safe drinking water, but, in doing so, also cuts carbon emissions.
Want to hear more about the project and how it reduces emissions? Join our webinar on 28th May.
Across Kenya, people are encouraged to boil water before drinking to protect themselves from waterborne diseases. For those in poorer communities, this usually means burning unsustainable sources of biomass like wood or charcoal, thus reducing forest cover and causing carbon emissions. This also poses a huge burden for women and children in the search for fuel. And those who can’t find or afford fuel risk their lives daily by drinking unsafe water.
This year, I am measuring the impact of the Aqua Clara project which brings affordable water filters to communities in Kenya, eliminating the need to boil water. In addition to filters, the project trains end users to check and maintain the filters, and educates communities on the importance of maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation through regular hand washing and cleaning of utensils, fruits and vegetables in safe water.
To date, these filters have provided safe water to over 5,384 households, improving health and saving lives.
But the story doesn’t stop there. By avoiding the need to boil water, this project cuts about 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, in addition to protecting local forests.
Every year, we monitor the effectiveness of the project and measure the carbon reductions. This information is submitted for independent verification by the Gold Standard, allowing the project to issue premium Gold Standard carbon credits. These are then sold to our clients to offset their own emissions, bringing a vital source of income to maintain and grow the project.
Training the monitoring team
Earlier this year, I trained 20 men and women to carry out project surveys, water quality testing, sustainable development analysis and water consumption field tests. I equipped them with skills to collect accurate data, and at the same time ensured the whole team was trained in basic filter maintenance. I also ensured they were able to engage with families and gain essential feedback that can help us improve the project.
Over the next four months, this team will survey 720 households and institutions in rural Kenya. They will collect a wide variety of information about the project including how people are using the filters, recording any incidence of water borne diseases and documenting financial and fuel savings.
In addition to these surveys, the team will observe families, to see how they use the filters, and will use specialized kits to test water quality.
An exciting development this year is the use of an online tool, the Mwater app, which is used for data collection throughout the monitoring process. It is efficient, easy to use, and also makes data analysis simpler.
Once completed, I will collate the raw data for checking, verification, technical analysis and quality control. This is followed by the calculation of emission reductions and preparation of a monitoring report.
We will also carry out an assessment about how the project contributes to its registered Sustainable Development Goal outcomes, which include SDGs 3, 6, 8, 9 and 13.
The final step will then involve independent verification of the monitoring process and carbon calculations. The monitoring report, emissions reductions estimates and all the supporting documents will be sent to an external auditor, the Validation and Verification Body (VVB), for review and preparation of a final verification report to be submitted to the Gold Standard.
Impacts on the personal level
During my time working on the project, I was fortunate to meet many of the people who are benefiting directly from the Aqua Clara filters. This is what a couple of them had to say:
I’m so proud of the technical and advisory role that ClimateCare delivers for this project, of which this monitoring work is just one small part. It’s amazing to know that my work not only measures the impact of the project, but also helps the project perform even better so that it can reach more communities to offer the much-needed safe water, sanitation and hygiene they need.