Case study Project development in Kenya

Hifadhi – Livelihoods Project

A partnership for positive change and sustainable development.

The social & environmental challenges.

Access to energy is limited in parts of Kenya and consequently rural households are dependent on local biomass from forests. But Kenya’s forests are particularly vulnerable as Kenya has a very low percentage of forest cover and deforestation continues every year. This results in huge biodiversity loss.

There is also another consequence of this dependence on biomass for energy. Wood is traditionally burnt on “three-stone” open fires inside the home, which produce large amounts of smoke and noxious gases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that smoke inhalation from traditional wood burning stoves is equal to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. This has an enormous impact on the health of families, with women and children being most vulnerable to the risks.

The name ‘hifadhi’ means to preserve and this is the aim of the project is to preserve Kenya’s forests, and the health and livelihoods of rural communities.  The Hifadhi-Livelihoods project is developed and financed by the Livelihoods Fund, in partnership with EcoAct & Climate Pal.

This project is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations goals were set up as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

In particular this project tackles Goal 3: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; Goal 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; Goal 7: to ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainable modern energy for all; Goal 8: promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; and Goal 13: to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

How the project tackles the challenges.

The project provides poor households in the Mount Kenya region with affordable, clean and efficient cookstoves that reduce the consumption of firewood and emit less smoke with positive social and environmental impacts. They also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere which helps to mitigate climate change.

To facilitate this, local manufacture and distribution of new ‘hifadhi’ cookstoves has been set up by training local artisans and hiring local project officers. Affordable and easily portable the stoves  consume almost 60% less firewood than traditional fires. And this percentage is significant for families for a number of reasons.

Firstly, biomass collection is a time-consuming and laborious task, usually the responsibility of women and children. A reduction in this time has a significantly positive impact on their daily lives freeing them up for study, other work or more family time.

The health of project beneficiaries is greatly impacted with the reduction of smoke inhalation meaning that families are less vulnerable to the risks of life-threatening illnesses related to in-door cooking, illnesses which claim the lives of millions each year.

The Livelihoods – Hifadhi project is financed by the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, an impact investment fund created by 10 private companies ( These companies rely on the Livelihoods Carbon Fund to provide them with carbon credits with high social value to offset their emissions. The project saves over 174,000 tCO2e annually, contributing to the vital fight against climate change.

The upfront financing provided by the Livelihoods Carbon Fund to EcoAct and Climate Pal is also used for reforestation activities in the area by supplying communities with seedlings to grow trees. This is helping Kenya’s fragile forestry to recover, educating local people on the importance of their forests and even providing families with incomes and a sustainable source of wood.

Most importantly, this project is demonstrating the power of collaboration between communities, an impact investment fund backed by private companies and a project developer in driving forward sustainable development and positive change where it is really needed.

The result

  • 60,000 locally manufactured cookstoves distributed
  • 165,000 trees planted
  • Time spent on wood collection reduced from 6 to 3 hours daily
  • Wood consumption reduced by 60%
  • 30 local artisans have been trained and provided with jobs
  • 24 project officers are permanently hired from the local community.
  • According to our annual surveys, 100% of beneficiaries say they now have better indoor air quality because of the stoves