Climate hazard of concern:
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?:
The primary benefits to the ecosystem realized by the use of water hyacinth briquettes and pyrolytic biochar producing stoves are as follows: 1. The removal of an invasive species from Lake Victoria that has already caused the loss of nearly half of the lakes aquatic species. By removing the water hyacinth (at least where this is possible economically) the lake regains its health and vitality. 2. Amendment of biochar into soils results in a soil/plant relationship that increased the plant’s resilience to drought conditions that are a direct result of global warming and climate change. 3. Increasing the use of organic fertilizers reduces the need to purchase chemical fertilizers, further offsetting the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere and further mitigating the causes of climate change. 4. Use of highly efficient cooking stoves reduces the emissions of CO2, reduces deforestation, and reduces the emission of black carbon to the atmosphere (also considered to be a significant cause of global warming). All of the above activities are human interventions that provide hope for a sustainable future for Kenyan’s.
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the ecosystem affected?:
Non-wood biomass and improved cooking stoves (Moto stove) can be used as a fuel for cooking food and heating water in the household, however, in order to harness this energy source the biomass must be densified into fuel briquettes. Biomass briquettes made from crop residuals, and other organic wastes can then be used with efficient cooking stoves to reduce incidents of respiratory illness resulting from indoor air pollution and, moreover, provide a valuable soil amendment material that reduces crop sensitivity to increasing drought conditions in Kenya.
How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?:
It is important for any intervention that is intended to result in greater climate change resilience of the ecosystem and of human activities and livelihoods to have two necessary ingredients: Local Resources that make the intervention possible and Proven Practices that have demonstrated effectiveness towards increasing the ecosystem’s resilience to climate change. Both of these ingredients must exist, one will fail without the other. ACON has demonstrated both of these to exist. One of the most important “Local Resources” is the people and the motivation of the people to take action. ACON has also demonstrated that both of these are possible through mobilizing many entrepreneurs to engage in stove production from local materials and briquette production businesses (using local biomass and water hyacinth from Lake Victoria as a feedstock). There are currently 60 fuel briquette entrepreneurs receiving mentoring from ACON in Kenya. Of these, 68% are female and 32% are male. It has been observed across the programme that females are generally more involved in businesses that require a low capital start-up, are immobile in production at a micro scale, and deal in products that they can sell to immediate markets, which could partly explain their greater number in briquette businesses. Most of the businesses have started up in the last 6-7 years, reflecting the view that the industry is just beginning to flourish. 98% of businesses in the programme were introduced to briquettes and improved cooking stoves (Moto stoves), either as a new business venture or as a diversification from their existing product line, whereas the remaining 2% were already in existence. Almost all of the businesses are located in Western Kenya region. These areas were chosen by the mobilization team for recruitment of entrepreneurs due to the high potential here for the industry to spread.
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?:
ACON’s stove, briquette, and organic fertilizer production programs empower the community to take action to mitigate the impacts of climate change on food security, energy security, and conservation of forests which have an indirect mitigative impact on fresh water resources.
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?:
Through ACON’s programs, communities learn to take a proactive approach to the problems that beset them. The PRA and other participatory methods employed by ACON can be used repeatedly by the community to resolve specific climate related issues. For example, as a result of the invasiveness of water hyacinth on Lake Victoria, many fishermen have lost their livelihoods as a result of the inability to lauch a boat onto the lake and the loss of fish stocks to the impacts of eutification of the lake. This positive action results in restoring livelihoods and a sense of empowerment to communities. The increased resilience of plants to drought conditions as a result of using biochar enhanced organic fertilizers is a very strong example of this.
How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?:
Yes. See above. The formation of social networks is a very strong component of ACON’s approach. The use of participatory methods links directly into “Local Knowledge” to arrive at community lead solutions to environmental issues.