Archive for April, 2009

How Green Empowerment and Thai Partner, Border Green Energy Team, Rocked the 2009 Energy Globe Awards

Salinee Tavaranan accepts Energy Globe Award Grand Prize

Green Empowerment’s “Solar Mobile Clinic and Hospital” project in Burma was selected as the winner of the international Energy Globe Award in the “Fire” category on Tuesday. The project, implemented by Thai partner Border Green Energy Team (BGET), was also voted overall Grand Prize Winner by the audience at a televised gala during a meeting of the European Union environment ministers in Prague.

The award was accepted by BGET Director Salinee Tavaranan. BGET will receive 10,000 euros (Approx. $13,000) in prize money. Green Empowerment’s Southeast Asia Program Manager Michel Maupoux was also in attendance. Nominations were chosen from a pool of 766 projects in 110 countries.

The project enabled the procurement of solar power systems and provides training for staff in 35 remote jungle clinics and two larger hospitals, serving 175,000 people, including many internally displaced ethnic minorities. The clinics are scattered over 600 miles of eastern Burma, a noted conflict zone. Solar systems must be frequently disassembled and moved on short notice, and equipment must be carried over the border from Thailand in backpacks. Green Empowerment’s role is technical design and training.

“Renewable energy is often the most inexpensive way to provide electricity to poor people in remote areas and often the only way to do so within a conflict zone. ” said Gordy Molitor, Executive Director, Green Empowerment. “This award to BGET is a testament to the inventiveness and tenacity of the Burmese people in the face of adversity.”

Green Empowerment was also singled out as one of the top three organizations in the world for its “Solar Water Pumping and Community Empowerment” projects in Nicaragua.  Green Empowerment worked with Nicaraguan partner Asofenix to construct three solar water pumps in rural Nicaragua between 2004 and 2007, bringing water to the homes of 960 people who previously had to haul buckets long distances.  One more system was installed in 2008 and more are planned. These projects dramatically improve health and well being with environmentally sound alternative energy.

The Energy Globe Award distinguishes projects that sustainably use our resources such as water, earth, energy and air or use renewable energy forms. Awards are given nationally and internationally in the categories Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth. The Awards were established in 1999.

How You Can Help Continue the Burma Project and Others

Your donations help bring solar power to health clinics along the Thai/Burmese border and needed water to rural villages in Nicaragua, as well as a host of other vital projects.  You can help continue this globally-acclaimed work.


Green Empowerment and Nicaraguan partner, AsoFenix, are currently working to bring solar water pumping systems to the villages of El Jocote and Corozo, which will bring water to 700 people for years to come. Our goals for El Jocote and Corozo:

  • Give each person at least 10 gallons of clean water each day
  • Reduce the time villagers spend hauling water
  • Improve health conditions and overall quality of life
  • Restore the watershed for long-term safeguarding of the water supply
  • Improve family health and nutrition by growing vegetables

Each solar water pumping system, including design, community development, equipment, and installation, costs approximately $60,000.  Your donation can catalyze funding from local governments and foundations.


Along the Thai/Burmese border, BGET and Green Empowerment are laying the groundwork for solar power to one medical clinic and a school dormitory.  We are ready to implement these two projects in October 2009 and want only funding.

  • The clinic currently serves about 13 villages on both sides of Thai/Burma border. A solar electric system will power a vaccine refrigerator, microscope lights, operation lights, and other medical equipment.
  • The dormitory is home to around 30 Karen children of all ages whose families are unable to support their education at home.  These children stay at the dorm where they are housed, fed and supported in many other ways.  All of the children attend the local Thai school.  The dorm has been going since 1998. The solar system will power a computer, satellite internet, and lights.

Both of these projects together would benefit several thousand people.  A half dozen full time medics work at any given time at the clinic.  About thirty students reside at the dorm.

Help us celebrate this success brought via the Energy Globe Awards by building on it
to bring light and water to entire communities who now do without.  Thank you for your support.


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Megan Kerins, a recent 3-month Fellow with the Border Green Energy Team in Thailand, shares her experience building a micro hydropower system in Ta Po Puh, a Karen village in the hills of Thailand.

We have come to install a micro hydropower system we’ve been thinking about for several weeks. But all the calculating and diagrams could never have related to me the gritty feel of rebar on my neck and shoulders, the heft of in my hands, the way the earth slid away from beneath my own two dancer feet today, leaving me a clumsy, bumbling “galawah”. That’s Karen for “foreigner”. I feared coming here, feared the realness that I knew I would encounter. I didn’t foresee that while I am here, I have the luxury of being exactly who I am, doing essentially what I feel, and doing no more or less than I am capable of.

Lying on our mats in the morning, ambient sounds begin to build in volume and wake us. The loudspeaker shouting indecipherable things, pounding of rice outside, voices of our friends mixed with those of strangers in Thai and Karen. As on every morning, we eat beautiful food for breakfast. The same tomato-sardine sauce on rice, a green and golden veggie stew. Cross-legged on a cool wood floor, the sun casts golden pillars across our faces through gaps in the walls. We soon make our way to the pile of supplies under the house opposite ours. Would we carry the enormous blue PVC pipes or the 50-kilo bags of cement or the remaining rebar? I go for a 90-degree el, sling it across my shoulders, and up I march. It’s only when I see the photo Salinee took later that I realize it was about as big as me. I’ve been working my body harder than I have in, perhaps, the past five months or so – walking up and down steep hills, often toting 20kg or so on my back, throwing rocks, mixing concrete, shoveling sand. I feel the ache in my legs as we ascend the usual drier path toward the dam. At the top, I turn around to gaze at other hills, overlapping like waves and disappearing into haze. Then the path makes a descent into a shadowy, treed lagoon. It is not until I nearly reach the top of this hill that the waterfall can be heard, crescendoing dramatically with each step until it comes into view, its noise a nearly constant assault on the ears after that point.

The men are already on the hill moving huge boulders, clearing a path with their machetes, felling banana trees like they are blades of grass. Lunch has been brought up to the powerhouse site for us. Sardine stuff again? Yay! We are so hungry. After eating and a short snooze on the hill, we carry more bags of sand and rocks to the dam site with which to block the flow of water on one half of the riverbed. I station myself for almost an entire afternoon in the small waterway we have dug. When we are mixing concrete, I’m handed huge bags of sand on my shoulders, which I carry the brief distance to the other bank as it drips icy water on my shirt. When we are passing concrete, I grab a full bucket from Ba Hanh and pass it to a Karen woman whose name I never learned. I pass an empty bucket from the woman to Ba Hanh. Sometimes someone isn’t paying attention, doesn’t see an oncoming bucket, has to be called to. We all smile at each other and laugh. It is wonderful, the rhythm of it, everyone working in unison, like a dance that just happens to build a dam.

We head back to the house at around 4pm, carrying tools, the boys laughing and running fast so that they can get to the soccer field as soon as possible. I try to imagine having so much energy after such a day and cannot. After each day of working, I am bodily exhausted, emotionally raw, and wanting nothing. Nothing more than to be quiet, alone, and motionless. So I shower, change, and sit on the sunny stairs that face the north to eat a snack and watch the sunset. My friends wave to me as they pile into the truck headed for the soccer field, all jaunty and wide-eyed. For most of the refugee students we are working with, this is their first time away from their camp in many years. Later that night they return all wobbly and sweaty, and we hang around the house playing guitar and talking. We watch the sky darken, as a few villagers drop by, some without speaking at all. As more arrive, it becomes apparent that there is to be a village meeting here. During the meeting, I watch people’s faces and listen to the way they speak with such little self-importance that I sometimes couldn’t even tell who the voice was coming from.

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We’re Huge in France!

Michel Maupoux has just been interviewed on French radio in anticipation of the Energy Globe Awards to be held in Prague April 14.

Radio France blog

The podcast is downloadable until April 9, 2009.  We invite you to practice your French!

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About This Position
The Major Gifts Coordinator will help shape Green Empowerment’s efforts to increase funding from individuals and corporate donors, through a combination of donor cultivation and stewardship strategies.

Responsibilities and Tasks
•    Implement our fundraising strategy for major individual and corporate gifts, in collaboration with the Executive Director
•    Analyze acquisition and retention of donors while developing strategies to upgrade existing donors
•    Lead volunteer fundraising efforts with the Fundraising Committee and Board of Directors
•    Work with Resource Development Coordinator and Intern, especially related to their efforts to identify corporate sponsors for events

Time Commitment:
This 6-month, one-quarter- time position may be renewed or renegotiated, depending on deliverables.

Remuneration: Depending upon qualifications

The ideal candidate will be an experienced professional, who shares Green Empowerment’s mission.  She/He will have enjoyed international travel and realized how a small investment in a rural community can have a very large impact on improving the lives of families in the developing world.  The Major Gifts Coordinator will be enthusiastic to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

Education: BA or equivalent preferred

Skills and Knowledge:
Demonstrated ability in fundraising from individuals and corporations
Experience with donor prospecting, identification, cultivation, solicitation, recognition and tracking
Knowledge of social media
Superior written and verbal communications skills
Excellent relationship management skills
Ability to use word-processing, spreadsheet and data-base software required.

To Apply: Kindly send resume and cover letter via email to apply@greenempowerment.org by April 20, 2009.

Thank you very much for your interest!

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About This Internship
Support Green Empowerment’s communications and fundraising efforts while gaining organizational experience with an international development nonprofit.  Develop skills in web-based applications, public relations, fundraising, events coordination and database maintenance while increasing Green Empowerment’s capacity to bring renewable energy and water to rural villages internationally.

Time Commitment: 3 months, 10+ hours/wk
Remuneration: Unpaid (but infinite coffee and abundant praise!)

Responsibilities and Tasks

Provide website maintenance using Joomla, an open-source content management system
Assist with development of GE literature, including annual report
Help prepare monthly e-announcements
Draft and/or proofread press releases from project reports
Facilitate contact with local media, etc.

Keep our contact database up to date
Help with thank you letters
Create mailing lists and assist in targeted marketing efforts via mailings, special events and publications

Work with Resource Development Coord to organize event logistics, such as venue, procurement assistance, and ticketing
Ensure organizational presence at larger events

Help coordinate volunteers
Perform general office tasks as needed (answer phones, order supplies, etc.)

EDUCATION: BA or equivalent preferred

Required:  Excellent written and oral communication skills
Desired: Volunteer coordination, contact database maintenance, event coordination

Required: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
Desired: Adobe Creative Suite (PhotoShop, GoLive, InDesign), FileMaker or commensurate donor database, basic IT abilities, basic knowledge of HTML  and content management systems a big plus

To Apply:
Kindly send resume and cover letter to steph routh (stephanie@greenempowerment.org) by April 15th, 2009.

Thank you very much for your interest!

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