The COPE Project is a joint venture between Earth Charter US and the Workers Education Association of Zambia, both are affiliates of the Earth Charter Initiative. The aim is to move rural people from poverty to contentment without going through the carbon economy. They are using the Earth Charter Principles to guide their actions.
The project focuses on three main areas,
1. reducing reliance on wood and charcoal for cooking, by using solar cookers and Rocket stoves
2. water pasteurization, using solar cookers and filters
3. sanitation, using waterless toilets
The implementation of the project will free the rural people from the energy drain of chronic illness and the environmentally destructive practice of gathering wood. This will free up time for more constructive and productive uses of their time and energy, which the villagers decide how to use, according to their cultural customs and inclinations.
Victor Phiri, the Project Manager for WEAZ, has spent the last two months flying to Kenya and Namibia to gain training and expertise in our project tools. George Sherman, Board Member for the Earth Charter US, has been providing logistical support from the US.
In October Project COPE is bringing together the WEAZ trainers, experts from Kenya and Namibia, village elders and the Chiefs of the two target villages, and interested villagers for intensive 4 days trainings. During that time, Victor Phiri will also be teaching the Principles of the Earth Charter. Once the training is completed, then the implementation phase will start.
During the implementation phase, people in the villages will begin to spread the technology to others. People who in the past were paid for charcoal, a time consuming and environmentally destructive form of cooking fuel, will now be paid for teaching how to use Rocket stoves and solar cooking, preserving and enhancing local economies. Similarly, others trained in making the stoves, toilets, and pasteurization tools will be marketing these to the villagers. As the villages begin to realize the benefits with additional time and energy, young girls will be encouraged to go to school, and older villagers will be helped to channel their new found energy into whatever productive projects they are interested in, such as micro finance, Fair Trade coops, alternative energy consortiums, or health projects.