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Archive for October, 2009

The Sacred Valley is full of paradoxes. Stunning vertical landscapes. Tourism and a hippy mecca. Andean Waldorf schools. And grinding poverty…

I first meet up with Sandra and Sandy: two good natured, down-to-earth Canadians who are volunteering in Peru. Sandra with Kuasay Wasi Clinic (http://kausaywasi.org/) and Sandy with DESEA, Desarrollo en Accion (www.deseaperu.org), Green Empowerment’s new partner in implementing a project to improve health through household water filters. With the exciting news from the Metabolic Studios of Annenberg Foundation, the project finally has the resources to really get off the ground. I am in the Sacred Valley to see the team of DESEA, meet the communities and work out the logistics of the new grant.

Ricardinia, the newly-hired field manager, took us out to the communities: Totora, Accha Pampa and Chaipa. While at about 4000 meters (13,000 feet) themselves, they were nestled in valleys with the surrounding peaks towering at the aching heights of 5000 meters (16,400ft). Ricardinia grew up a day’s walk from the closest road, in some hidden village in these sacred hills. She left for high school and trained to be a teacher. She heard the radio ad for the DESEA field manager and was hired on. She is a huge asset as she is the main cultural and linguistic bridge to the poor communities.
ricardinia
In Totora we met Gregorio, the filter workshop manager, who was the young mayor of this adobe village. He was dressed in western clothes and spoke in fluent Spanish with a Quechua accent that made round words sound like triangles. He had attended the CAWST (www.cawst.org) training as is a devotee of the biosand filters that he builds everyday. We caught him with a bundle of wire mess as he was heading to Pampallacta to repair the school’s filter.

When they saw Sandra arrive in Totora, a group of women gathered for a “clinic” (not a building, but an event). They squatted on the ground and unwrapped their bundles of brightly woven cloth to reveal children that needed a nurse’s eye.
clinic
We met a woman and her baby that had lost a dangerous amount of weight from diarrhea. She had taken her to the Kuasay Wasi clinic where she was given a dehydration solution. By the time I met the baby, she had gained back some weight and looked like she would survive, but it drove home the point that simple hygiene and clean water are the most important things we can do to save children’s lives.
baby

These communities speak almost no Spanish. They maintain the poetic Quechua language and traditions alive. Everyday clothes look like a celebration, with dozens of buttons on the wrists arranged like pearls on an evening gown, and big flat round hats covered with ornate red cloth that dangled over the edge.

And yet, illiteracy, isolation, discrimination and malnutrition have taken their toll. Sandra describes meeting a woman who could not remember how many of her children had died; was it 5 or 6? I hear stories of a toddler eating paint, excessive alcohol and spouse abuse. I don’t see this kind of malnutrition where I live in Cajamarca, where rural people have few resources, but plenty of food, although both areas show signs of protein deficiency, with a diet based on rice and potatoes.

In Totora and Accha Pampa, we walk into the tiny dark kitchens, covered in soot, to see the filters. Ricardinia translates from Quechua. The people we met said they used the filters daily and even said that they had noticed an improvement in health of the children. They understand that the filters clean. The filters are made in one of the project communities out of local materials. The concrete structure is filled with sand and gravel which effectively remove pathogens.
biosand filter

Ricardina, Gregorio and the team say that everyone wants a filter. But once they have it, there are some (perhaps 15%) who don’t use it. Do they want it just because it’s a new thing to have in their home? It’s modern and different? Daily habits run deep too, thousands of years deep. And introducing some new-fangled things into those daily patterns is a hard thing to do. Even when you know it’s good for you. I know I should floss every day, but I don’t. It seems that here, the filter use and health education is not a secondary complement of filter installation, but needs to be at the core of the program.

school water

This pipe, from a dirty open sink hole, delivers water to schoolchildren


We surveyed the existing water sources. In Totora, there is “agua entubada” (piped, but not potable, water) that just comes from an open river, above which the animals graze… Kids drink from water that comes from an open sink hole near the school. Other communities have gravity-fed water systems that deliver spring water to some of the houses, but not to others.

Sandy has a kit to test for total coliforms and fecal coliforms, which are indicators of unsafe drinking water. The streams have lots of fecal coliforms, the sealed water spring water distribution systems are clean and the filtered water is clean. However, this has shown several of the systems are not working properly and need to be fixed (the sand was not fine enough and the water passes too quickly). This monitoring tool helps them adjust the filter fabrication.
lab test
The complex social and cultural environment will pose plenty of challenges, but also makes the need for the health and water program all the more evident. With the support of Metabolic Studios of Annenberg Foundation, 150 filters will be built and installed. Most importantly, workshops on health and hygiene will be integrated into the program and health promoters trained from the communities. Something so simple can save a life. After spending time with the DESEA team and going to the communities, I am optimistic that this partnership has what it takes.
landscape

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The University of Michigan’s Better Living Using Engineering Laboratory’s (BLUElab) Biogas Project focuses on the use of anaerobic biodigesters to recover energy from waste.  This group is advised by Dr. Steven Skerlos and is a team of undergraduates and graduates from different disciplines that do work on the project as an extracurricular commitment.  The group’s goal is to promote the implementation, acceptance, and use resource recovery systems in developing and developed nations in order to improve human and environmental health.  This summer, five members of the group traveled to Nicaragua as part of a service-learning trip in order to work with local communities in collaboration with Green Empowerment (NGO in Portland, OR) and AsoFénix (NGO in Nicaragua).  This entry was written by Lindsay Krall and Sherri Cook.

We traveled to Nicaragua at the end of August, 2009, to start building a relationship with the local communities, learn about current renewable energy projects, and help install two biodigesters for energy recovery from animal waste.

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The trip and associated design course is supported by the Multidisciplinary Design Minor (MDM) within the College of Engineering and taught by Dr. Skerlos.  This course focuses on the projects in Nicaragua with the goal of promoting sustainable energy in Latin American.  As an outcome of the class, we plan to develop a general methodology for a community or a family to decide on the best biodigester system for their use; the methodology and assessment will focus on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the system’s installation and use.  Also, we hope to improve the current designs by incorporating feedback about the use, our research, and updates from the field in order to promote sustainable waste management in developing nations.

Installing digesters in Nicaragua was a great experience for our team.  The year before the trip, group members read literature to learn more about the systems and ways to improve current designs.  During the trip, we saw several current biodigester projects as well as a micro-hydro project.

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After our arrival in Nicaragua, we discussed Green Empowerment’s and AsoFénix’s various projects in Bramadero and Potreritos with our trip leaders Jason, Sara, Seth, and Jaime.  We drove across the rolling Nicaraguan countryside to Bramadero, where we stayed for the first four days of our trip, and met our gracious hosts.  On our first day of work, we took measurements and began working on the Ferro cement style digester in Potreritos. We got down and dirty in the field breaking volcanic rocks and digging a two square meter hole, which, by the end of our trip was ready to become a working system.

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The next day, we built a composting latrine in the Bramadero schoolyard.  We worked with Tilo, (the head of a local community water committee) and Antonio (a trained mason) to take dimensions, mix cement, build iron support rods, lay the bricks, and develop a structure that will provide the school children a new latrine and a source of compost.   The children enjoyed learning about the project and construction as we did.

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Upon completing the latrine, we returned to Potreritos to complete the Ferro cement digester by laying the cement foundation and capping it with low density PVC that can be bought locally in Nicaragua in case repair is necessary.  We also aligned and built the piping to collect the biogas so the family can light their stove.  Our last project was to install a high density polypropylene digester.  We used a machete to chop wood and build a fence that will prevent animals from puncturing it.

At the end of our trip, the team went to San Jose to see the micro-hydro project and explore the tropical forests of the country.  During this part of the trip we hiked through the forest to see a micro-hydro project, swam near a waterfall, drank local coffee, and saw howler monkeys.

Our trip gave us insight to where we would like to take the project.  Our multidisciplinary minor students are now designing our own digester to study, experiment with, and explore various methods by which to optimize their output.

Pictures provided by:

Heather Dorer, Zijia Li, Jason Selwitz, and Lindsay Krall

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Kathy Cooper, a MAP Fellow at SIBAT in the Philippines, has now been in the Philippines for about a month.  SIBAT is a NGO focused on supplying the technical know-how for wind turbine installations and micro-hydropower facilities that provide electricity to rural villages. SIBAT also has a sustainable agriculture program that they integrate with their renewables program to stimulate community level enterprise development.  In this blog Kathy shares her experiences from the past month with the Green Empowerment community.

I love being here so far. My coworkers are friendly, open, and very knowledgeable about subjects I want to learn more about. Matt Hart from Stanford is also here as a volunteer, and there is another intern as well, who has been placed here by Engineers Without Borders, named Ewan. He is from Scotland, and he immediately acquainted Matt and I with his friends, a large circle of Australians. Being integrated into a social network right away has made me feel very at home here. The office community has also embraced us with open arms: I am prepared to face off against my coworkers in a highly-anticipated cooking contest, and Gigit (who does SIBAT’s website design) is an experienced Yoga scholar who leads sessions for Ewan, Matt, Char, and I on Thursdays. My balance has already improved.

I’ve been working on an Excel model that allows a user to input cost and revenue data for a micro-hydro plant (materials costs, labor, O&M, depreciation, anticipated usage etc.) and it calculates the NPV and IRR, and shows how the electricity price should be set for cost recovery. I’m also hoping to integrate tariff schedules into the model. Although the cost part of the project is straightforward enough, the revenues aspect is giving me some trouble because I do not know how to estimate usage without surveying the community. I was originally scheduled to visit the project sites, but then Typhoon Ondoy struck (and then Typhoon Parma struck, and now it’s still raining) and  many rural areas are inaccessible due to bad roads and mudslides.

Which brings me to the most significant part of my update: Typhoon Ondoy. Manila, where I live, experienced the worst flooding in 70 years exactly one week after I arrived. 80% of a city of 13 million people were submerged, and 300 people died. Over 13 inches of rain came down in less than 6 hours. The volume of water pouring down on the city led government officials to open the flood gates of a dam without warning any of the citizens downstream. This caused river levels to rise about 20 feet in some areas, leading to the total devastation of many river communities.

Matt and I took most of last week off work to help out in the relief effort, which mostly involved carrying boxes and pouring rice from 50 kg bags into smaller bags so it could be distributed. We also got to take apart, clean, reassemble, and test some motors that had been submerged in a workshop that makes toys and wheelchairs, and Matt employed his structures know-how to assess the damages on our boss’s house. Working in the relief effort was a moving experience for me. I was able to see first-hand how relief efforts were largely organized and executed by Manila citizens. They didn’t feel like there was time to depend on the government to organize an emergency response, so they just did it themselves. The city truly mobilized.

Next week Matt and I will go live on a farm for a while. We may do some planting, harvesting, assess the site for a renewable energy project, and learn about bamboo construction, the Filipino language, and local cooking. I love how this Fellowship allows me to do so much hands-on work, and I’m very happy to be here.

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Anna Garwood, Green Empowerment’s Latin American Program Manager, was recently interviewed about a Green Empowerment Project in Peru.

If you aren’t in the Peruvian Amazon, and thus are out of the listening area of my recent interview on “Radio Marañon,” I’ll give you the translated upshot. Juan Santos Chavez, the president of the 10 family agricultural association in the village of La Libertad (i.e. Freedom) held the little black tape recorder up:

“Today we are honored to have the presence of a Señorita from the USA here in our town. She will introduce herself and tell you what she’s doing here”

“Good morning, my name is Anna Garwood. I work for Green Empowerment, a US NGO, in partnership with Soluciones Practicas-ITDG and I’m here in La Libertad on a follow up visit to a micro-hydro plant installed several years ago.  It is working well; the 5kw system is powering lights, cell phones, TVs, a machete grinder and even 26 laptops for all the kids in high school…I want to congratulate the community of La Libertad for organizing, building and operating the electrical plant…”

I also had a chance to interview Juan as we walked over the lush fields to the power plant. I asked about his observations of any changes in the community since electricity arrived; “What has impressed me most is the kids. They beat us at learning how to use and program the TV and DVD, and even the remote control.” In anthropology circles there is a debate about what, if any, things are universal across human cultures. I think Juan’s comment gives one more point to the universal side of the debate.

As for the adults, he mentions lighting and improving the means of work, such as the new machete grinder. He also says that electricity is cheaper than going through a packet of candles every week.

A peddler came around to La Libertad, hawking goods for sale. This time it was TVs, radios and blenders. Some people purchased their new electronic goodies in cash, but others paid the traders in sacks of coffee, chickens or guinea pigs.

After organizing to build the micro-hydro, they also got together to lobby the municipality for a road to the village, they improved the school building and since they have electricity, they were selected by the Ministry of Education, to receive a donation of laptops for each high school student which will revolutionize the access to information in this village off the beaten path.

Juan says about 5 people a week come to his house from other villages to charge their cell phones. Many people in surrounding villages use car batteries for household electricity, which they charge in the city a few hours away. Now, La Libertad wants a battery charger so that they can start a small business charging batteries off the micro-hydro system. They want to buy the charger on credit, and, when they get the legal title documents of the micro-hydro system, they can use that as collateral.

Juan had heard about ITDG on the radio, years ago, and walked an hour from his village to the closest road, and from there got a ride 2 hours to the regional city of Jaen, where he knocked on the doors of ITDG for assistance in building a micro-hydro project for electricity in his community. A few years later, the tables have turned, and now Juan is broadcasting the success story.

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David Hauth, an intern for Green Empowerment, is working in Nicaragua with AsoFenix on a number of renewable energy projects. He shares his thoughts about the work that he has completed, the challenges he has faced and the success that he has experienced.

As I write this blog I find myself in the middle of my 13th month in Nicaragua, ”un año y pico” as they would say here.  Looking back over the past year it seems like a monumental task to attempt summarize, synthesize and adequately convey both the breadth and depth of my experiences, the perspectives I’ve gained and most relevantly, the knowledge I have learned.

Because I have learned such a great deal this past year.  I’ve learned that development work is hard, really hard.  It is a work of ambiguous and ever-changing situations backed up against rock hard deadlines, expectations and international money.  Of uneducated labor and beneficiaries matched up with highly engineered projects.  It is a work without glory, unrewarded in terms of the material gains of wealth and recognition.  It is a work of independence, self-motivation and integrity, where very often your direction is your own, shaped by the goals you set for yourself and the sacrifices you alone are willing to make.

Development work is also a job never finished, a task never completed.  No matter how much help you give, how many lives you improve, maybe save, there’s another child suffering, probably just a mile down the road, begging your “pesito” and your “corazón.”  It is a world that can sometimes seem so bleak and hopeless it can knock you down, regardless of your strength of character or depth of commitment.  It is a very special person who finds the strength to get back up, time after time.

And that’s another thing I’ve learned, this work is not for everyone.  I stand before you today, a humbled man of 25 who is in the prime of his youth and full of energy and hope, to tell you that I don’t know if I could do this work 5 more years, much less the rest of my life.  My heart is full of passion and desire to help.  In my dreams I see myself working hand in hand with the poorest and marginalized, helping to provide a little justice in their lives.  But the truth of the work is no dream, it is very much a reality in which only the strongest and most passionate can live.  That is why I am in such awe of the people who dedicate their lives to this calling.  Those who can get up every morning, knowing that their work never ends, that the need is always there, yet tell themselves “I’m going to do my part today, I’m going to try.”

Jaime Muñoz

Jaime Muñoz

I’m talking about Jaime Muñoz, a man who has no more than a Third World “high school” education, yet whose passion and hard work have led him to educate himself and personally found and direct a Nicaraguan NGO with connections all over the world, an NGO whose only goal is to help, and who has helped thousands of people, in its own country, receive the basic services (water, energy) that for us are so natural and necessary most of us probably can’t fathom life without.

I’m taking about Jason Selwitz, Michel Maupoux, Anna Garwood, Gordy Molitor and all the Green Empowerment staff whose passion and enthusiasm are oftentimes so intense that it can be unnerving.  People who’s education, intelligence and creativity could see them earning more than twice as much income in the for profit world, but have instead chosen to work twice as many hours.  They are the small percentile driven, not by their daily desires, but instead by a greater passion to actually see done what they feel is right.  These people are rare, they’re rare, special and very necessary.  Development work is not for everybody, in my mind very few can do it.  We should appreciate those that actually do.

I suppose you are depressed now right?  What I’ve managed to say up to this point is that the work is almost impossible and the people who can do it almost don’t exist.  Well let me try to cheer you up with something else I’ve learned, or maybe more appropriately, seen.  That is that it works.  Call it a miracle, call it unbelievable, call it whatever you want.  I’m going to call it a fact.  A fact that in the face of scarce resources, education, time and money it almost always works.

Where does it work?  It worked in El Roblar, a community so isolated it can only be reached by walking over 2 hours….up.  Where just recently was finished a 17 kW micro-hydro system that will provide clean and cheap energy (each family pays a small, flat monthly fee for maintenance) to over 30 homes.  Energy that will provide refrigeration, lighting to replace cancer causing kerosene lamps, TV for education via national and international news and, if we can find the funds, energy for a computer in the school so that their kids, their future, aren’t trapped in the archaic past.

El Roblar

El Roblar

It worked in El Roblar not only because of the end result, but perhaps more importantly because of the process.  A process that involved bringing the community together, the discovery of leadership, the learning of new skills and the realization of self worth.  A process that involved Gustavo and I, two trained engineers, standing for 3 days with our hands in our pockets watching Marco, Juan Antonio and the rest of the recently trained community hang over 3 kilometers of overhead power lines.  Watching them do it right.  This of course after they had hauled several tones of cement up the mountain, built a damn, dug 500 meters of trench through the woods, laid the penstock and built the turbine house.

Cuajiniquil

Cuajiniquil

It’s also working in the community of Cuajiniquil, which will reap the benefits of the first partnership, created and fostered by Green Empowerment, between Asofenix and blueEnergy, a Nicaraguan NGO specializing in wind energy.  Benefits that will include, through a hybrid solar-wind energy project, a potable water pumping system and micro-grid to provide energy to the isolated community of 15 families.  This partnership between two of the largest and most effective renewable energy NGO’s in the country will facilitate an exchange of knowledge and expertise and only strengthen each organization’s ability to affect meaningful changes in future.

Where else does it work?  It works at home as well.  It works through the involvement of local communities and universities that want to help.  Involvement that benefits both sides through the exchange of experiences, cultures and friendships.  Organizations such as the Havurah Shalom Congregation from Portland, Oregon that sent representatives down in December of 2008 and are currently raising funds for a solar water pumping project in the community of Jocote.  Or the students from Northwestern University who came down during their spring break this year and kick started a large scale biogas digestor project and  have been raising funds to come down in 2010 to install 3 battery-charging wind turbines in communities without electricity.  This long term commitment in funds, resources and energy provides an enormous amount of support to Green Empowerment and Asofenix and is necessary for the continued success of both.

I could go on forever about the change I’ve seen and the progress made.  But the important thing is that, regardless of the obstacles and overwhelming need, progress is being made and positive change can be seen, both in Nicaragua and at home.  And that is the most important thing I’ve learned, that despite the hardship, lack of resources and people progress is being made one village, community and person at a time. Progress that I’ve been lucky to be a part of.

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In August of 2009, Andrew Kanzler led a group of fellow Landscape Architecture alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students from Cal Poly Pomona on a 10-day Green Empowerment Service Learning project/tour with staff from Practical Action in Peru/ITDG along sections of the Jequetepeque Watershed in northern Peru.  Andrew is an artist and current graduate student in Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.  This was Andrew’s second experience with Green Empowerment after having traveled to Nicaragua in 2007.

Hostel in Cajamarca

Hostel in Cajamarca

In August myself and some classmates headed down to Peru with some folks from Green Empowerment. We flew into Lima and from there we went to Cajamarca. Cajamarca is in the Andes on the east side of the continental divide. This city is known as the switzerland of Peru because of their well known dairy products. I was pretty excited because I’m a huge fan of cheese and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Cajamarcan Cheese. What’s cool about this town is their old architecture and city plan. There is a plaza in the center of town called Plaza de Armas (turns out just about every plaza in Peru is called plaza de Armas). We stayed in a hostel just a block from the center of town called hostal de Cajamarca. Hostels in Peru aren’t like hostels that we think of in the states, Hostels are really just hotels that aren’t 4 star hotels. This hostel was really cool because it had a courtyard that we often used as the central gathering location or hang out spot when we were waiting or just chatting. It reminds me of how much I want a courtyard to be the center of my house. Of course this style is of spanish influence, not of the indigenous groups. We spent the first few days here, getting acqainted with what to expect and meeting with various people from the NGO Soluciones Practicas.

We were here because me and a few others had spent 6 months preparing a project for a community in the Andes of the La Cocha subwatershed. 6 months is a lot of work to be doing for a place that we had never seen before. We based all our judgments on figures and numbers on everything we could find about the area. We did research on the slopes, the rainfall, the temperature, types of crops they were growing, types of innovations their ancestors employed and a bunch of other things. We came up with as many solutions we could to help them adapt to global climate change and help them survive in a more globally effected climate.

Grade School in Cajamarca

Grade School in Cajamarca

But we finally made it out here, and were excited to be able to see what it was really like. Cajamarca is a relatively cold city, but based on our research we new that the town we were going to, Chilete, would be warm or even hot like it was back home. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the climate and temperature could change in Peru in such relatively short distances. On our way up we found that much of the Andes is being afforested with new trees that never grew here before.

Tree Landscape in the Andes

Tree Landscape in the Andes

Trees like Eucalyptus and pines we being planted along grids, and some of us weren’t sure wether they were the best species or not because they could become invasive.

Yanacocha Mine

Yanacocha Mine

The ride was definitely educational and we began to learn more about the Yanacocha mine that was nearby. It is one of the largest gold mines in the world yet the locals do not benefit from it.

Community Members of Chilete

Community Members of Chilete

Once we got to Chilete we presented some of our work to some leaders of the community. It was amazing to finally present our work to the people we intended it for. It being a class project that we had spent 6 months on, it never seemed like it was a real and viable project until that day. Our work was finally coming to life. If only we had really had this feeling earlier we may have been more prepared. Things like understanding that we need to produce our work in Spanish for them, and many other language barriers were a problem but we were able to make it through with our classmate Rene. Rene hadn’t been part of the project, but he was the most fluent Spanish speaker and he became an important part of the project. After our presentation we exchanged contact information with the hopes of keeping in touch.

Hillsides of Chilete

Hillsides of Chilete

We received a much needed info on the La Cocha sub watershed and we finally were able to see the hillsides we had been so accustomed to seeing on maps.

It was getting closer to our trip to Suro Antivo.

A Vicuna

A Vicuna

Suro Antivo is higher up in the Andes, on the way up we almost hit a Vicuna, a rare species related to the Alpaca. Its fur was once reserved for royalty because it is so soft.

Soccer Game in Suro Antivo

Soccer Game in Suro Antivo

There was much concern over how well our bodies would be able to handle the altitude when we got there, so Jason thought it’d be a good idea to play soccer when we got there. The long car ride made me beat so I decided to sit this one out.

Bamboo in Suro Antivo

Bamboo in Suro Antivo

Suro Antivo is an amazing town to visit. Farmers all own large plots of land and everyone lives no less than a quarter mile apart. Suro is a type of bamboo that was used as a common building material. That plant is no longer found in town. Antivo means “old” similar to the word antique. The grassland landscape here must have changed a few times over the many years that people have been here. It is likely going to change again.

Meeting in Suro Antivo

Meeting in Suro Antivo

Most of our meetings took place in the school house because it is the only public gathering place. In Suro Antivo many people have just received running water for the first time, and neighboring communities many people do not having clean running water at all. This means the most common causes of death is dysentery from dirty water.

Tapstand in Suro Antivo

Tap stand in Suro Antivo

Our objective in Suro Antivo was to locate and plot the existing springs on a GPS unit and then create tap stands for the existing taps so that they will not break.

Taking a Sample

Taking a Water Sample

We split up into a few groups, Some of us checked the flow of water on the existing springs. Some went and did environmental assessments on springs around town. When we returned we shared our findings with each other and began working on plans to keep the newer springs in optimal condition over a long period of time.

Working on Environmental Assessment

Working on Environmental Assessment

Here we are working on the plans for the assessments

Presenting Findings to the Community

Presenting Findings to the Community

And presenting them to the community.

Working in the Jequetepeque Watershed

Working in the Jequetepeque Watershed

Later on we went to other communities in other parts of the greater Jequetepeque watershed. We assessed other springs and conducted interviews of people that lived there.

A Group of Children

A Group of Children

So many people have no clean running water and so many people are sick every other week because of it. It’s truly eyeopening to know how fortunate we are in the US to have clean running water.

Alto Peru

Alto Peru

Our nights were coming to an end in Suro Antivo and our next stop was to be in Alto Peru on our way back to Cajamarca.

Community Members of Alto Peru

Community Members of Alto Peru

On our way to Alto Peru I noticed some locals packed in hauling trucks who seemed angry at us. We were driving by in the same kinds of trucks that the miners use so, many of the locals thought we were miners. When we arrived in Alto Peru we spoke with some of the community leaders who voiced extreme concerns about the mine.

Powerlines to Yanacocha Mine & Alto Peru Windturbine

Power lines to Yanacocha Mine & Alto Peru Wind turbine

The irony was that there were many power lines held up by large towers that ran right past Alto Peru and went directly to the yanacocha mine. The only source of power for those in Alto Peru were from their own wind turbines.

Paved Road

Paved Road

The road the rest of the way was paved. Again, the road to the mine is paved, but not to other parts of the watershed.

Cumbe Mayo

Cumbe Mayo

When we arrived back to Cajamarca we took a trip out to Cumbe Mayo. Something I have been wanting to see. Cumbe Mayo is the location of a pre Incan aqueduct, the craftsmanship of the aqueduct is just amazing.

Working in Cajamarca with Soluciones Practicas

Working in Cajamarca with Soluciones Practicas

Back in Cajamarca we met with some more folks from soluciones practicas and discussed our findings and impressions of Chilete, Suro Antivo and the surrounding areas. We said goodbye to our drivers who became our friends and before we knew it we were on our way back to Lima.

David and his Cuy

David and his Cuy

On our last days in Lima it became easy to become bored because our days previously were so filled. However it was our friend David’s birthday and we had a chance to celebrate. (he loves the cuy).

View from Larco Mar in Lima

View from Larco Mar in Lima

Now only a couple of months later I am back in school and still thinking about what kind of impact we may have had on the people we had visited.

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Green Empowerment seeks an experienced and motivated Development Director to help support our ongoing work.  The application deadline is November 4, 2009.  Please pass this on to friends, family, and vague acquaintances who you feel can help catalyze the work we do through fundraising efforts.

About This Position
The Development Director will be responsible for developing and implementing a fundraising strategy that incorporates individual donor cultivation and corporate appeals, fundraising events, and submission of grants for capacity-building grants, and to develop and implement digital and written communications efforts.

Fundraising

  • Develop and implement a 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; develop planned giving program as an aspect of long-term donor cultivation
  • Advance use of contact relationship tools such as our donor database
  • Support and encourage Board fundraising efforts and lead volunteer fundraising efforts with the Fundraising Committee
  • Secure organizational capacity grants from foundations, corporations, or other sources

Communications

  • Maintain communications regarding GE’s achievements with the funding community and donor prospects.

Event Coordination

  • Coordinate and refine events to raise funds and foster profound donor relationships
  • Manage volunteer efforts that enrich fundraising campaigns and events

Time Commitment: Full-time position, with flexible work hours

Remuneration: $40,000, employer-paid medical insurance, paid vacation and sick leave

Qualifications: Minimum 3-5 years experience with fundraising in a leadership role.  Experience with communications and event management required.

Education: BA or equivalent preferred

Skills and Knowledge:

  • Proven management and leadership capabilities
  • Experience with donor prospecting, identification, cultivation, solicitation, recognition and tracking
  • Demonstrated success in organization fundraising from individuals, family foundations and corporations
  • Proven ability to develop, manage and complete successful fundraising events
  • Superior written and verbal communications skills
  • Ability to use word-processing, spreadsheet and data-base software required
  • Experience using press releases, written materials, web sites, e-news, blogs, Facebook, and other media required

To Apply: Kindly send resume and cover letter via email to apply@greenempowerment.org by Nov. 4, 2009.  Thank you very much for your interest!

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