January 14, 2018

A new livelihood initiative in Lubutu

The Congo Basin, second in size only to the Amazon, is one of the most important landscapes for biodiversity in the world.

Aside from the mining of conflict minerals, one of the biggest drivers of deforestation is through a subsistence economy based on the uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources such as wood for fuel and construction materials, and bushmeat for protein.

But for Cool Earth’s partners in Lubutu, a subsistence economy is the only means of survival.

We’re working to deliver solutions to benefit the local communities in this area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Following the success of the stove project, which has been enthusiastically received and implemented by community members, the plan is to scale up to develop and deliver a new sustainable livelihoods initiative.

Environmental sustainability will provide income and the provision of agriculture schools, which will improve local practices – increasing crop yields and keeping trees standing.

A new livelihood initiative in Lubutu
“It gives me peace, I used to get sick carrying wood every day. But now, as I go once per week, I feel more peaceful.”

Stove project update

Changes to the traditional wood-fired stoves make huge differences to communities such as Lubutu. Mud stoves allowed for the removal of harmful emissions and the new and improved fuel efficiency of these stoves reduced the need for so much wood collection.

Since having new stoves installed, frequent wood collection is a thing of the past as wood is burnt much more slowly.

Not all households in Lubutu had a shelter for the stove, however, so in order to roll out the next 500, Cool Earth has been focusing on awareness raising sessions on the health implications of traditional stoves for men. This has been done in the hope of encouraging men to see the benefit of the stoves and to help to build shelters in which they can be built.

By encouraging men to engage with the project, they were also given support to construct their kitchen shelters through the provision of machetes and a file for shaping.

In total, nearly 200 men attended the sessions, a great result from the community.

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