This project will provide access to clean drinking water and improved indoor air quality to several million Rwandans. The socioeconomic benefits of access to clean drinking water and reduced indoor air pollution are well documented.
By combining carbon finance with the deployment of water treatment and cookstove systems, this project will directly combine sustainable humanitarian development with international carbon markets. This will contribute to a nascent field wherein humanitarian goals are met in an economically sustainable and accountable way.
Climate change is expected to impact people in developing countries in significant ways, including dramatically changing water and energy availability. Carbon finance markets exist to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide through economic incentives, while allowing clean development. However, the carbon markets have not yet been well utilized for humanitarian technologies in least developed countries. For example, although the CDM is a multi-billion dollar industry, less than 2 percent of projects are registered in African nations. Meanwhile, voluntary carbon markets, led by the Gold Standard, are working to demonstrate significant impacts in rural communities around the world.
Indoor air pollution from cookstove smoke has been classified by WHO as one of the most significant threats to the public health of vulnerable populations in developing countries. Exposure to smoke and particulate from traditional cookstoves leads to nearly two million deaths annually.
Every year, 1.5 million people die from diarrheal and other enteric illnesses associated with lack of access to safe drinking water and poor sanitation. Of these 1.5 million, 90 percent are children under the age of 5, most of whom live in developing countries.
Household water treatment is practiced in many developing countries in order to improve the quality of drinking water. A survey of 67 developing countries indicated that 33 percent of households (more than 1.1 billion people) practice some form of household water treatment. Boiling, practiced in 21 percent of those households, is the predominate method of treatment. The rates of water boiling vary regionally – 90.6 percent of households in Indonesia boil, versus 3.5 percent of households averaged across 22 African countries. Within Africa, the range is still high in those countries that have been studied – 39.8 percent in Uganda, while almost non-existent in some of the other countries.
This project will directly employ several thousand Rwandans during the deployment, and several hundred during annual monitoring, education and maintenance activities. This project also represents a direct investment in the public health and future of Rwanda.
The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) is the DNA for Rwanda and is dedicated to improving environmental sustainability, heath and welfare across Rwanda. This project addressed all these sustainable development criteria, by providing a health-based resource that will lower household costs, improve health, employ community members, and provide a proven water technology solution.