RUWES - Project Surya Partnership

In line with RUWES’ efforts to mitigate Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) through clean energy and results-based financing, we entered into a partnership with Project Surya of India. The RUWES-Surya collaboration aligns with both organizations’ established commitment and approach to increasing clean energy use and mitigating climate change. Project Surya has developed the first methodology to quantify Black Carbon (BC) reductions from cookstoves to be adopted by a carbon market (the Gold Standard Foundation) to maximize climate-based payments for use of improved stoves.

The project utilizes an innovative financing system that enables the extremely poor rural women afford clean cookstoves through carbon credit. The carbon credit serves to reduce the cost of the cookstoves, rewards the end user and ultimately serves as a repayment model for the stove through climate credits earned from the mitigation of black carbon.

The RUWES-Surya partnership has the combined expertise to create sustainable models for after-sales maintenance and technical support. This is driven by objective results from the field through the use of sensors and real time evaluation through the installation of chips that data of clean cookstoves usage through the server. This intervention will make a large-scale shift to clean stoves possible while creating a self-sustaining ecosystem for developing, marketing, and financing improved cookstoves in Nigeria.

In October 2016, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Solution Centre supported an exchange between a group of RUWES women and Project Surya to learn how rural women in Odisha, India are transitioning to clean household energy. They met with women in three villages where they saw different clean cookstove technologies, spoke to rural development organizations about different strategies to finance their own projects, and saw the impact the projects have had on people’s lives.

Of particular interest to the women was how mobile technology is helping women afford clean cooking technology. In the villages of Keonjhar and Notarpali they saw how sensors connected to cookstoves transmit information via a mobile network to show how often and how long clean cookstoves are used. This helps the organization Nexleaf Analytics quantify how much black carbon and carbon dioxide is prevented from being emitted into the atmosphere. This is then translated into ‘climate credits’, which enable women to get payments for using their stoves.

RUWES Visit to India

This Innovative Climate Finance has been tried and tested in India and RUWES has benefitted from a peer review for the entire process, leading to the commencement of a pilot in Nigeria (Marraraban Burum in Apo Local Government Area and Katampe Village in Mpape District of Bwari Area Council), where they will be comparing two different stoves in 100 households in 2018. Tara Ramanathan, Nexleaf Program Director, hopes this will help identify the type of cookstoves women prefer using and ultimately improve the health of Nigerians and protect the climate.

Due to huge potential of the market we intend to scale up this project. In Nigeria a group of rural women are taking bold action to protect themselves and their families from dangerous air pollution. The Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES), with a broad base of over 2 million Nigerian women, are taking control of household clean energy usage by creating clean energy enterprises, training women in the manufacturing and maintenance of clean cookstoves and solar systems; and creating a network of women entrepreneurs to provide affordable clean energy solutions across the country.  

Household air pollution in Nigeria causes approximately 95,000 premature deaths each year. Women, who do most of the cooking, and their children are most vulnerable. The main culprits are kerosene lighting and simple cookstoves that burn firewood, both of which produce smoke laden with black carbon and microscopic particles (also known as particulate matter: PM2.5) that penetrate deep into the body causing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. 

RUWES is also creating a viable market and sustainable supply chain for clean energy technologies to provide a source of income for women by helping them become clean energy entrepreneurs, and to supply energy for homes and small businesses. It is helping women access finance for business incubation and entrepreneurship. The Market Women Association of Nigeria and its entire membership-base of over 700,000 women joined RUWES with the aim of ensuring the ready availability of clean energy products to mostly rural and peri-urban communities.

Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the UN Environment hosted Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat, said RUWES is empowering women to lead Nigeria’s adoption of clean energy. “These women are an inspiration for other women around the world. They are changing the way Nigerians think about where they get energy from. And they are not only improving the lives of their families but are among the leaders in their country’s effort to move away from polluting energy sources,” Ms Molin Valdes said. “This network of over 2 million women that are supporting each other, working as entrepreneurs and mobilizers, learning from women groups in other countries and bringing that knowledge home.”

According to the World Health Organization, 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves. The smokes from these fires have deleterious impact on the environment and health. Every year over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution.