Wildlife corridors — from divide and conquer to connect and restore
04 Feb 2022
Zambia has been identified as one of the top 20 greenhouse gas emitting countries as a result of deforestation and degradation. The primary drivers of this are charcoal and wood fuel production, logging for timber, expansion of small-scale agriculture and unsustainable agricultural practices.
Communities in and around the Simalaha Community Conservancy, which is in the Zambian component of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, typically use wood or charcoal for cooking purposes. The health risks associated with inhaling smoke from these open fires, as well as time lost on collecting wood, are some of the daily challenges of women living in rural areas.
To address these, Peace Parks Foundation, supported by CoMoN Foundation, collaborated with Commonland, to investigate the use of fuel-efficient cookstoves. These stoves reduce the consumption of wood and charcoal by approximately 30% and the greenhouse gas emittance by 80%, when compared to cooking on traditional open fires, offering benefits to both users and the environment.
During a successful pilot project, 240 cookstoves were distributed to community members within Simalaha. Commonland provided in-depth training on the use of the stoves, which was very well-received by the communities. The location and information of each household that received a cookstove was registered using a CommCare App and the efficiency of the cookstoves were monitored continuously. Reports from the field confirmed the stoves’ efficacy: water takes between three and five minutes to boil, and farmers were able to use small twigs to cook with, instead of traditional logs. Recognising the benefits of the cookstove, thousand of households indicated that they would also like to start using it.
The next step for Commonland and Peace Parks Foundation was to work towards meeting this need, as well as developing possible carbon credit benefits for the communities. This month, the first 2 100 of a proposed additional 10 000 cookstoves were delivered to Simalaha.
The carbon project has also taken shape as is explained in the video below.