Climate Change: Low Carbon Energy in Douala

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Activities carried out

LCE Mid – Term Evaluation

Project Final Evaluation

Project Summary

This climate change mitigation initiative is part of the urban slum programme in Cameroon. The project will utilise the network of poor entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises found in slum areas of Douala, Cameroon. It will introduce entrepreneurs – and decision makers and the wider slum population – to appropriate low carbon technologies with clear climate change mitigation benefits, as opportunities for new, profitable product lines, either for manufacture or distribution, primarily in Douala slums. This will in turn, reduce consumption of fuel wood, charcoal, gas and kerosene used in domestic cooking and lighting with additional relevant positive impacts over natural resources and health.

This project will be implemented in partnership with Living Earth Foundation which will be mainly in charge of the monitoring and coordination of the project. FCTV will be the implementing agency of this project.

This project is funded by a climate change grant from Comic Relief. The climate change initiative is a three-year project which will run from February 2012 to January 2015.

Project Outcomes

  • Outcome 1: 3,000 slum dwelling, mainly women-headed households, and 6 public institutions (schools, dispensaries, local government offices) across 3 slum locations in Douala in Cameroon will have adopted at least one new low carbon product to provide sustainable energy by 2015, thereby contributing to a measurable reduction in carbon emissions and the establishment of a local green energy market.
  • Outcome 2: By 2015 civil society and development policy makers in Douala municipality are more aware of low emissions energy options and their decisions are based on informed choices about opportunities to mitigate climate change. At the quartier level, local government will be influenced by this initiative to better support local green energy entrepreneurs through the creation of an enabling regulatory environment by changing by-laws, issuing licenses, and promoting technological innovation.

Project Activities

(1) Promotion of Low Carbon markets in Douala Slums

Activities will focus on the identification, promotion and start-up of a low carbon energy market. Research has identified a number of products and simple technologies with potential to reduce energy consumption which are suitable to the energy and market context of Douala’s slums. The range of products includes solar micro grids, solar lanterns, biomass fuel briquettes, micro-anaerobic digestion generated bio-gas and the Wonderbag, a South African technology which allows food to continue cooking after being removed from the stove without the fire hazard of hay boxes.

The project will start with a participatory market and energy research to identify likely demand for low carbon energy as well as key stakeholders, socio-economic characteristics of the energy market, appropriate technological solutions, marketing strategies and local and national energy policy gaps and suggestions.

The project will support 20 micro-enterprises to promote and sustain their start-up in the low carbon market. The methodology followed will be the same as the main grant and include generic business training – registration, business planning, record keeping, marketing, etc. – and specific functional training and mentoring around the new products and innovations, including technical aspects, market identification and pricing.

To address sustainability and pricing, the project will investigate the potential for registering Voluntary Emission Reductions with recognised agencies to secure carbon credits to offset product costs.

Additionally, a minimum of six pilot projects will target communal infrastructures – schools, clinics, markets, local authority offices – to provide low carbon solutions to reduce running costs and energy consumption.

As well as direct climate change and other indirect benefits (evidence from Uganda suggests a direct correlation between the reduction of fuel costs associated with biomass briquettes for schools and increased attendance among the poorest pupils as a result of reduced fees), these projects will serve as demonstrations for the wider local population.

(2) Low Carbon Energy Awareness Raising in Douala

A campaign of awareness raising on energy and climate change will be carried out targeting slum dwellers, CSOs and policy makers. The project will use lessons learned from the low carbon market development process to influence and inform government and international stakeholders, particularly in priority areas of urban planning and governance by merging different approaches.

The processes described above will provide lessons on barriers to the widespread adoption of low carbon energy and opportunities for local authorities, in particular, to establish an enabling environment for the sector, through, for example, adjustment of local fiscal systems and byelaws. These lessons will be captured and recorded through case studies and a series of seminars and stakeholder meetings, and more widely distributed through the mass media.


Case studies and learning materials identifying how the programme can be scaled up and replicated in slum communities in other African cities will be generated. The project will describe key findings about the ‘bottom of the pyramid energy market’ and identify the obstacles facing green entrepreneurs aiming to sell low carbon technologies to expanding communities of the urban poor.

Given the difficulties of verifying emissions saved at the household and community level, we plan to share learning on effective methodologies for generating reliable figures to describe, for example, changes in domestic energy consumption in poor communities.