Real-Time Evaluation and Elaboration of a Project Proposal, Secretariat for Climate Farming – GFEU / Welthungerhilfe (Burkina Faso)
Woodfuel is the major source of energy for more than 90% of the Burkinabe population. When burned in traditional or other conventional stoves, pollution levels inside and outside the home cause severe damage to health and worsen the effects of climate change by emitting GHG. Furthermore, these practices favour deforestation and soil degradation. The main problem lies with the charcoal production, which is particularly produced to satisfy the increasing city demand.
Poverty and deforestation form a vicious cycle. As poor families have little other income opportunities, many of them turn trees into charcoal or firewood in order to sell it to fuel dealers that serve the cooking fuel needs of city dwellers and restaurants.
I elaborated a project with the specific objective to promote an ecologically sustainable cycle, involving the people living in and around the capital of Burkina Faso to apply efficient and ecologically sustainable energy practices, small businesses to diversify their income structures, and farmers to apply agriculturally and ecologically sustainable practices. In the long run, this will lead to the recovery of soils, lower deforestation rates and improved food and income security of the target households. Hence, the project contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as to an increased resilience towards climate change of the people living in and around Ougagadougou.
In order to achieve these goals, the project addresses the following elements in an integrated way:
- Highly efficient pyrolytic cooking stoves, also known as micro-gasifiers, are powered with biomass such as agricultural by-products or other left-over material. These stoves are approximately 50% more efficient than the improved cooking stoves currently in use. The utilization of the stove decreases the demand for fire wood and hence lessens deforestation At the same time, it promotes climate change mitigation, by reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
- The pyrolytic stove burns smokeless and consequently adds to the improvement of the health situation of family members, who often suffer from respiratory diseases due to very smoky conventional cooking practices.
- While the produced gas is used directly for cooking, the residue is biochar, which constitutes the basis for a highly effective soil conditioner. It considerably improves soil fertility, which leads to higher and more frequent yields. This already contributes to food security. Additionally, due to the highly efficient burning characteristics of the stove, people save energy and money, which they can re-invest in other complementary activities to improve their food security or livelihood situation.
- Besides, the project contributes to sanitation, by collecting and recycling sanitary waste of human beings (ecosan toilets) for the production of the highly nutritious soil conditioner mentioned above.
- Last but not least, the commercialization of pyrolytic stoves and briquettes, as well as the exploitation of unused biomass and human feaces, create income opportunities and promote the economic development of small and medium sized enterprises.
This project addresses Climate Change Mitigation by using the biochar derived from the pyrolytic stove as a carbon sequestration. The carbon in biochar resists degradation and can sequester carbon in soils for hundreds to thousands of years, providing a powerful tool for mitigating anthropogenic climate change.
Climate Change Adaptation is addressed by improving fertility and drought resistance of the degraded and dry soils in Burkina Faso through organically produced soil conditioner. This way, yields can be increased considerably even across the limits of the natural harvest seasons, which increases resilience of the Burkinabe people towards climate change.
The project applies the integrated approach of Climate Farming. Climate Farming is a strategy to stop deforestation while promoting local economic structures and improving the health and food security situation of local people. It stimulates local circuits, connecting the fields of energy, soil fertility and agriculture and provides the needed technology to apply these methods in view of the impacts of climate change.