The policy dialogue kicked off on 14th November at the Marriot Hotel in Kigali.
The following is a pictorial of some of the events proceedings
Arrival and registration of guests
Opening Remarks by Rwanda Women’s Network Director
Due to RWN moving offices, in addition to Rwanda gaining the “dot RW (.rw)” domain suffix, note the change in our telephone number and official email address:
Rwanda Women’s Network
Avenue KG 426
Gacuriro – Kinyinya Sector (Near SOS Technical School)
P.O Box 3157, Kigali, RWANDA
Tel: +250 788 334 257
On March 16, 2015, the United Nations issued a first tranche of over 6,500 carbon certificates under its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for the Improved cook stoves programme for Rwanda that has, to date, provided over 14,000 households in Rwanda with affordable and energy efficient stoves. Over a period of 28 years, the programme is expected to distribute over 100,000 stoves and reduce over 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
“This is comparable to carbon emissions released by 75,000 buses making a round trip to Nairobi from Kigali”, said Allan Mubiru, the country manager of Atmosfair in Rwanda.
Rwanda Women’s Network in collaboration with the German organization, Atmosfair, is one of the partners in the Improved cook stoves programme. Other partners include SaferRwanda, the social business Inyenyeri as well as of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The partners have been involved in the production and distribution of the innovatively designed and high-quality efficient cook stoves that have already been adopted by thousands of households in Nigeria, Cameroon and Lesotho.
Cooking efficiency on traditional fire places in Rwanda is extremely low and hence wastes a great amount of two already scarce and expensive resources in Rwanda: fire wood and charcoal. The stoves promoted in the programme are the Save80 stove sets (which, as the name suggests, requires up to 80% less wood for the same cooking procedure) and the Philips pellets burning stove which is the cleanest wood stove on the market.
Using the improved cook stove helps families to consume less fuel and thus save money: for every sack of charcoal of 7,000RwF replaced by wood at a value of 1000 RwF, each household can save 6,000 RwF!
Family health improves since less smoke is emitted by the efficient cook stoves. (The WHO estimates that every year indoor air pollution causes the early death of about 12,500 people, especially of women and children, in Rwanda.)
Households save time that would otherwise be spent on collecting wood or long hours of cooking. When using the Save80 in combination with a so-called Wonderbox, a special insulation system for the cook stove, the user can save 2.5 hours for cooking beans and 20 minutes for rice and potatoes.
The reduced demand for fire wood will decrease pressure on forests and reduce deforestation. The programme thus contributes to the country’s vision to reduce the rate of wood use in national energy consumption from 94% to 50% by the year 2020 as well as the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) which aims to promote energy efficiency in cooking.
To support private households that could otherwise not afford such kind of technology, the improved cook stoves are sold at subsidised prices or are even distributed for free (in the case of refugee households). Such subsidies are made possible through carbon certificates (certified emission reductions, CER) that are issued for the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved by the use of the energy efficient cook stoves in Rwanda. These carbon certificates are then traded and sold on the international market. This trade and technology transfer is based on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is part of the Kyoto Protocol and regulated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “This programme is a clear manifestation that fighting climate change can be achieved through energy efficiency measures for households at the bottom of the energy ladder,” adds Xaver Kitzinger, the head of project development at atmosfair.
The German non-profit organization atmosfair uses the carbon certificates issued by the cook stove project to compensate carbon emissions generated by air travellers in Europe. atmosfair not only follows the strict UNFCCC guidelines for climate projects, but also the standards set by the Gold Standard Foundation, a global organisation that monitors Sustainable Development aspects of environmental protection projects. The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) supervises the implementation process.
Genevieve Nyirabagabe from Gatsibo District in Eastern Province dreads the cost of cooking fuel. Before she acquired the Save80 wood stove, it would cost her at least 12,000 Rwandan Francs ($18) to buy charcoal per month.
When she did not have the money – which was often – she had to spare time every two days or so to gather firewood – usually agricultural residues, scraps of wood or fallen sticks wherever she may find them.
Now, with a few bits of wood, costing a minimal Rwf 2800 ($4) per month, she can cook a meal for her entire family. The stove can cook meal for a total of eight people.
Acquiring the stove has proved empowering, not only in terms of money saved, but also with the time saved.
The time she used to spare to look for firewood she now employs in other activities. This has allowed her to dedicate more time to her women group involved in socio-economic activities.
Now not only does she have more time on her hands, but is are also making a little income through her women’s group.
Genevieve’s example is only a snap-shot of the impact the stove is having, multiplied many times with the empowering effect it is having in many women’s lives who no longer now have to rely on their husbands as they used to.
“This is one of the best things to happen to the women,” say Mary Balikungeri, RWN Director. “The stove has turned out to be one of the most potent tools in the RWN strategy to empower women.”
The Save80 Stove project is a partnership between RWN and Atmosfair, a Germany-based organization whose main objective is reduce carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere. Atmosfair also partners with other organisations in Rwanda and other countries in Africa.
In Rwanda, biomass is the largest source of energy, with firewood and wood for charcoal making up around 80 per cent of the total. Agricultural residues and peat make another six per cent. Petroleum and electricity account for the rest.
This suggests that almost every household and institution in Rwanda must use either firewood or charcoal for cooking.
Firewood and charcoal can be extremely inefficient in terms of energy use. To begin with, it has been established that for every kilogramme of charcoal produced, nine kilogrammes of wood have to be used.
Traditional charcoal stoves and the three-stone fires, quite inefficient in their fuel utilization, are still widely in use in kitchens across the hills.
To be energy efficient, heat needs to be concentrated on the cooking pot in order to make maximum use of the energy.
The flame from the three-stone and the heat from charcoal stove tend to be dissipated into surrounding, leading to excessive use of the fuel which demands more fuel.
The Save80 stove concentrates the heat to the pot, ensuring that it doesn’t get lost.
The subsidized stove comes with “wonderbox”, and works on a simple principle of retaining heat and conservation of high temperatures. For instance, the food is bought to a boil in the stoves using a small stick or two of firewood, after which it is immediately placed in a “wonderbox” that continues with the cooking until the food is ready. The circular “wonderbox” preserves the heat and continuing with the cooking.
Other than empowering the women, as the example of Genevieve illustrates, the importance of the stove is not obvious until one looks at the facts, especially as they may affect Rwanda’s mainly rural population as a result of global carbon dioxide emission.
Carbon dioxide, emitted when burning wood or charcoal, causes the greenhouse effect. Among other gases it traps heat in the atmosphere leading to global warming, which is responsible for increased drought and changing weather patterns.
With more households using the stove, not only in Rwanda but across Africa, the impact would be immeasurable.
To take the example of Rwanda, according to a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute, the country could suffer economic costs amounting to 1 percent of annual GDP by 2030 due to global warming. The institute predicts a temperature rise of between 1.5 and 3 degrees Celsius by the 2050s.
The study notes that a large proportion of the rural population in Rwanda currently lives at altitudes beyond the normal mosquito habitat.
It explains that as temperatures rise, so will the threshold altitude, increasing by 150% the number of Rwandans at risk of Malaria by 2050. The potential healthcare costs are of the order of $50 million per annum.
Therefore, other than empowering the women, the stove project harbours a health dividend.