Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde

Climate protection project for compensation ​​​​of greenhouse gas emissions of the HNEE

On October 1, 2014, HNEE signed a cooperation agreement with the university-affiliated Ivakale e.V. to jointly implement a climate protection project to offset HNEE's unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions by protecting the Kakamega Rainforest in Kenya. As part of the project, energy-efficient clay stoves will be installed in households in the Kakamega Rainforest region. This will save at least 60% of firewood compared to traditional open fireplaces. The installation and use of the clay stoves thus slows the degradation of the heavily overexploited rainforest, ensuring that less CO2 is released into the atmosphere and remains stored in the forest in the form of carbon. In addition, the families benefit health-wise from lower smoke and work loads. In order to guarantee and transparently communicate the positive effects, a certification by Gold Standard - the strictest standard for sustainable offset projects - is carried out. The project is intensively integrated into teaching and research at HNEE, which is possible due to the close contact with Ivakale e.V., founded by HNEE alumni.

The Kakamega Rainforest - What is being protected?

Ivakale Panorama Kakamega Forest © Felix Cybulla

The Kakamega Rainforest is a 543 km² forest complex consisting of the Kakamega Forest Reserve and seven other forest fragments. The forest fragments were formerly connected to the Kakamega Forest, but are now separated from the Kakamega Forest by agricultural land and settlements. The 238 km² large, closed Kakamega Forest is the last remaining relict of the so-called Guineo-Congolian Rainforest in Kenya and is home to an unusual variety of flora and fauna, some of which only occur here (endemic). It provides habitat for numerous endangered species and has therefore been declared a Biodiversity Hotspot. The diversity of bird species is considered unique continent-wide. The neighboring satellite forests are smaller forest fragments in natural to degraded condition. All fragments of the Kakamega Forest Complex are under control of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and enjoy official protection as a Forest Reserve [1]. Core areas of Kakamega Forest of particular ecological value have also been declared a National Reserve and are managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Despite the official protection status, the Kakamega Forest is under enormous pressure due to the severe overexploitation of its resources, especially through firewood extraction but also conversion to arable land as well as the collection of medicinally valuable plants.


Clay hearth - How to protect?

© Felix Cybulla


Firewood-saving Upesi stoves are locally made, relatively inexpensive alternatives to the 3-stone fire. The heart of an Upesi stove is the so-called "liner", a blank of fired clay. When installing a stove, 2 liners are embedded in a solid foundation of clay, providing both thermal insulation and stability. The liners are made by local producers in a design established in Kenya Depending on the size, manufacturer, transportation costs and payment of the installer, an Upesi stove including installation costs about 12 euros.



© Felix Cybulla

And this is how an Upesi stove is installed on site:

© Felix Cybulla

Contribution to sustainable development



 © Felix Cybulla

Saving firewood leads to multiple effects: 

  1. Reduced timber removal relieves pressure on the Kakamega Forest.

  2. CO2 emissions from combustion are reduced to the same extent.

  3. The more efficient combustion of wood in the Upesi stove results in less smoke and soot in kitchens and has a huge health benefit.
  4. Reduced wood procurement greatly reduces the physical burden on women and children.
  5. The reduced wood procurement is also an economic factor, because the time saved can be used for additional income generation (shadow wages) or for education and leisure. This benefits women and girls in particular, and reduces their economic dependence on parents, husbands, etc.

[1] http://www.kws.go.ke/

Documents and links: