Greetings! My name is Jake Clemens, and I was part of the fall internship program at Green Empowerment and am currently interning with their partner organization AsoFenix (office located in Managua, Nicaragua).
My experience has been in the reforestation sector and I have completed the NGO skills training and renewable energy technical training at Green Empowerment.
At the end of December, Jason Selwitz and Ian Petrich from Green Empowerment came to Nicaragua to lead university groups on trips, highlighting the work Green Empowerment and AsoFenix have been involved with in the country. Jason led a group of students from Portland State University and members of Havurah Shalom and Ian led a group of students from the Presidio School of Management located in San Francisco, California.
Throughout the duration of the trip, we spent time in communities learning about past projects and the immense impact they have had on their standard of life. Solar and micro-hydro projects have not only provided lights and electricity, but also opportunities for small businesses to exist and the ability to diversify a family’s income. Solar water pumping projects also provided safe drinking water to communities that would otherwise be carrying unsafe drinking water from other sources.
Along with learning and observing past projects, the groups also participated in the installation of new projects. Included in these were a solar irrigation project (pictures of the system during installation and results seen below), solar home installations, a small wind turbine and a reforestation project.
For me, installing the solar home system was the highlight of the trip. Seeing the looks on the faces of the families when the lights come on for the first time was incredible. Acquiring the skills to install one of these systems was also a great addition to the trip.
In the meantime, we are working on many other exciting projects in rural Nicaragua, however I will save these stories for another blog entry. If anyone has questions about the trip, or the internships at Green Empowerment or AsoFenix, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you are in Managua, just look for the big awkward Canadian wearing shorts and hiking boots, speaking spanglish to some unsuspecting citizen trying to give him directions.