Kissito Helps the Environment in Africa, the U.S., and the World

COVER

Kissito exists for the care and betterment of human life. In Africa, natural resources are so intertwined with health, livelihoods, nutrition and poverty that it became obvious that caring for the health of villagers without addressing the root cause of the problems they face is unsustainable. At the same time, there are environmental challenges and opportunities faced by communities in the United States as well. In 2013, the Kissito leadership endeavored to add a new strategy to meet the mission, by engaging in natural resource projects in the United States that could generate resources to apply to our philanthropic work in Africa and elsewhere.

This past summer Kissito began pilot natural resource projects in Africa focused on the common use of crude “three-stone” stoves that are still used for most cooking. These stoves are commonly used indoors where indoor air quality problems result in respiratory and eye infections. Kissito began a pilot project to place higher efficiency improved cookstoves in households in Uganda to reduce the incidence of stove-caused diseases, and since improved cookstoves use half the fuel of a traditional stove, the households that use the improved stoves save considerable expense. Reduced use of fuel also reduces the pressure on surrounding forests to provide wood or charcoal. To further extend the benefits, Kissito also began four small pilot tree planting efforts in Uganda to learn more about the logistical process of acquiring, managing, and conducting tree planting efforts with private landowners. The combination of increasing tree planting and reducing fuel use can drastically increase the amount of time available to households for food production and preparation.

One of the most vexing problems of rural Africa is a lack of clean drinking water. In the summer of 2013, Kissito partnered with faculty and students from the Virginia Military Institute to test the installation of household-scale sand filters designed for that purpose using locally available PVC and water containers. Several systems were installed with local labor in Bushyii village in Uganda, and the team will return in the spring of 2014 to evaluate the installations, make necessary modifications, and add several dozen new units. Training of the villagers will be conducted for both construction and maintenance of the units.

The largest long-term challenge for rural villagers in Africa is the current and expected change in rainfall patterns resulting from climate change. These changes in planting dates and rainfall amounts are already resulting in widespread famine. Improved cookstoves and tree planting mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to climate change. In the United States, Kissito has spun off a new nonprofit unit called the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund that will pursue projects that meet the Kissito mission while generating resources for our international work. Projects to date have focused on utilizing land for carbon sequestration by creating a new wildlife management area in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Future projects will include converting facilities to renewable biomass heating to cut energy costs in half and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. By documenting and registering these benefits with the California Air Resources Board, a source of revenue can be tapped that pays for the projects and generates excess revenue for other projects.

-Jeff Waldon, Chief Environmental Programs Officer

Kissito to Manufacture Improved Cook Stoves

Greetings from Mbale, Uganda! After staying in Uganda for the past two weeks, my fears of not having anything to eat have been totally squashed. Chapati, Matoke, and G-Nut Sauce are my favorites but the staples of rice and beans are fantastic as well. Many of the women in the villages of Uganda cook these delicious foods, not with 4-burner stove tops and ovens, but with a three stone fire pit and open flame!
The conventional three stone fire on which these women cook lead to many negative side-effects. The two worst problems are increased upper-respiratory infections suffered by children inhaling all that smoke and a drain on natural resources from the inefficiency of this cooking method.
Kissito is working with partners in Africa to renovate a building in the town of Nakaloke that will be used to manufacture Improved Cook Stoves. In cooperation with the local government in Nakaloke, Kissito has secured a building to lease rent-free for five years. This will allow Kissito to focus all financial resources on production and distribution of the stoves.
Improved cook stoves in the Uganda marketThe production of the new cook stoves will:
• Create jobs in Nakaloke. As with any community, jobs are key to a successful economy.
• Reduce smoke inhalation. The new stove model releases less CO2 into the atmosphere and will be better for breathing conditions within the home.
• Require less firewood. The benefit here is twofold, more trees will remain in the environment and it will cost less for the average household to purchase firewood.
• Improve hygiene. Many villages do not have running water. The ability to quickly heat a pot of water to use for bathing will dramatically increase the frequency with which the average villager is able to bathe.
In addition to the benefits above, Kissito will also be able to sell Carbon Credits for each improved cook stove we distribute and monitor. These Carbon Credits translate into funding for future projects in Uganda.

Contact jennifer.bell@kissito.org to learn more.

Uganda – Medical Training and Supplies

 

 

Kissito International currently has the following programs in Uganda:

 

  1. donate_africaOperation of the Pediatric Malnutrition Rehabilitation Center in partnership with Serving His Children In partnership with Serving His Children (SHC), Uganda’s most successful rehabilitation program for severely malnourished children, Kissito/SHC have  opened a new Malnutrition Rehabilitation Center in Manafwa District.  The center has the capacity of serving up to 20 pediatric patients and their family caregivers at any one time.  The Center specializes in cases recognized as severe.
  2. Emergency Obstetrical and Newborn Care Training Initiatives in Mbale, Manafwa and Baduda Districts Addressing Uganda’s unacceptably high maternal mortality rate and infant mortality ratio, Kissito is training local clinicians and other health workers to identify high-risk mothers and help save lives through an intensive, multi-year training program involving Ugandan physicians, nurses and midwives.
  3. Operational, Public-Private Partnership with Bugobero Health Center IV, Manafwa District Kissito’s transformative Partnership Plan includes Kissito cost-sharing with the Manafwa District Government Administration to sponsor staff, essential drugs, equipment, and ongoing training.  Physical improvements include extensive renovations and upgrades to meet and exceed health codes put in place by the Ministry of Health. In recognition of the transformative work happening at Bugobero, a recommendation is in place to upgrade Bugobero from a Health Center IV designation to a General Hospital.
  4. uganda_mgaletraining2Training and Equipping Community Health Workers (CHW) Program in Manafwa District Manafwa District has a large pool of Community Health Workers, but funding and staff constraints leave them undertrained and underutilized.  Kissito partners with the Administration of Manafwa and its Health Ministry to provide resources for ongoing training, equipping and deployment of these individuals.
  5. University Research Partnership: Pediatric Diarrhea in Uganda and Developing Societies The major goal of Kissito/University of Texas School of Public Health’s ambitious undertaking is to establish the etiology of diarrhea among children in the developing world, using populations in Ethiopia, Uganda and Mexico.
  6. Public-Private Partnership with Mbale District Administration and Health Office (32 facilities, serving district of ~332,200 individuals): working closely with Mbale district government to strengthen its existing health facilities/programs through provision of   drugs, supplies, equipment, training and skilled personnel.
  7. Operational Partnership of Flagship Facility: Mbale Regional Referral Hospital providing  Emergency Obstetric  Training, technical support, and equipping the hospital with essential drugs and medical supplies
  8. Public-Private Partnership with Manafwa District Administration and District Health Office (23 health units, serving a district of ~339,300 individuals): Kissito is working hand in hand with Manafwa district government to strengthen its existing health facilities/programs through provision of   drugs, supplies, equipment, training and skilled personnel.
  9. Partnership with PONT-Mbale CAP (Coalition Against Poverty) to provide transport services   for emergency & obstetric services in rural districts through motorcycle ambulances. Other interventions (through this partnership) include training of clinical staff, Community Health workers and assisted vaginal delivery utilizing Kiwi Omni extraction cups.