: Green Empowerment

Discussion Forum

Core focus and future

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Thu 31 Mar 2011, almost 10 years ago

Hi,

I know of Green Empowerment since Walt Ratterman and Dipti Vaghela came over to meet BPR in 2004/5 (when PWX was still in design).

Of course, i was not just impressed by Walt, but completely humbled.

Unfortunately, at that time we could not support the project in Nicaragua that was proposed and while i followed some of Walt's extraordinary attempts around the world, i lost touch with GE.

Here are questions for GE:

Do you see GE's core competency in implementation or fund raising? From your team structure and your response above (to reasons for joining PWX), your resources are geared towards the latter.

It seems you implement thru local groups.

Do you plan to train/empower local groups to become more competent and self-reliant so that they could become members of PWX? Maybe some of them are already competent today.

Thanks,
Rajesh

Core focus and future

By Green Empowerment Posted on Fri 01 Apr 2011, almost 10 years ago

Thanks, Rajesh. Answers below:

1. Do you see GE's core competency in implementation or fund raising?

We do both -- provide assistance through all stages of a project's development, including installation and training, in addition to fund raising. These are what we see as our Core Competencies:

* Initiate and facilitate collaborative multi‐stakeholder networks that transfer knowledgebetween partners in the South, and well as the North to the South.
* Trusting relationships with NGO partners built through long‐term joint work based on a respect for local leadership.
* Providing projects, partners, and funders Quality Assurance through follow‐up, development, oversight, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation.
* Technical know‐how on a range of appropriate technologies allowing us to provide hands‐on training, on‐line education, design assistance, and mentoring to expand the portfolio of technologies our in‐country partners can utilize.
* Programmatic insight into development strategies, community‐management of basic services, evaluation, and scale‐up.
* Expertise in funding strategies and proposal development to bring needed resources to catalyze good local ideas.
* Management skills administer complex multi‐country programs and to build capacity of local partners and communities.
* Strong partnerships with academia and private sector to facilitate applied research to improve projects and disseminate knowledge.
* Facilitation of specialized local and international Volunteers to serve our local NGO partners.
* Tailored programs to engage civic groups and student groups on international rural development, including facilitating Adopt‐a‐Project opportunities and in‐country service projects.

2. Do you plan to train/empower local groups to become more competent and self-reliant so that they could become members of PWX?

Yes, we train and empower our local partners. Yes, they could at anytime decide to apply for membership to the Peer Water Exchange. However, we have established long-term working relationships with them and in many cases they defer to us to find, cultivate, and lead networking and training opportunities --and/or-- share resources and report project information.

implementation and partnership model

By A Single Drop Posted on Fri 01 Apr 2011, almost 10 years ago

Hi there! Welcome to PWX!

Great mission! Because you are working in so many different areas, can you talk a little about your in-country partnership model? Do you have foreigners train and focus on single projects? Do you have local trainers and create self-reliant organizations? etc...

When you apply for PWX grants, will they be proposed and answered by locals in the region you will be requesting funding, or will it be representatives in the main office in Portland?

What other ancillary activities do you offer other than approtech transfer? Do the local projects have revenue streams?

Looking forward to seeing you on the platform!

Gemma

implementation and partnership model

By Green Empowerment Posted on Fri 08 Apr 2011, almost 10 years ago

Hello, Gemma, thanks for the inquiry:

We have a network of long term, trusted NGO partners that we rely on to select and prioritize projects in coordination with the beneficiary communities, often at the suggestion of local or regional government officials. Green Empowerment provides technical, financial, and operational support -- such as working with our partners and local/regional governments to conduct rural water and electricity assessments and planning. We do not have funding of our own to grant to our partners and rely on grants from aid agencies, governments, family foundations, corporations and individuals in order to make our collaborative projects possible.

This is one reason we are interested in becoming a member of the PWX. For income generating projects, funds are raised directly by the beneficiary rural farming families through increased agricultural production and Green Empowerment is not a recipient of on-going finances. In terms of PWX, Green Empowerment will be the main point of contact for our partners and projects, and accordingly, we will duly coordinate with our partner's project developers and managers on a regular basis.

Integration with Local Policy

By Team Blue Posted on Thu 28 Apr 2011, over 9 years ago

Hi Jason,

My months of interning with Green Empowerment (GrE) in 2004-05 left me with valuable perspectives in how a non-local group takes part in a partnership with local groups.

Soon after my time with GrE, I became involved with an established local group in India, Gram Vikas (GV), which I have been with for several years now.

In hindsight, one striking difference between the focus of my work I remember at GrE and the work I do for GV is the aim to integrate projects with local policy.

The key lesson that I've learned at GV is the ability of a grassroots NGO to showcase a technology that works and convince the government to support implementation on a wider scale. Because of leveraging and often even influencing government policy, GV has been able to scale both its biogas and water/sanitation programs from a handful of projects to several hundreds. GV is aiming to do this with its other successfully piloted projects, such as community-based micro hydro.

From reviewing your website, it seems that wonderful scaling has happened in several of your core geographic areas. In these scaled programs, have you been able to influence or integrate with in-country development policy?

I would love to know specific examples in order to enhance my learning in the different approaches to influencing policy.

Thanks,
Dipti Vaghela

Integration with Local Policy

By Green Empowerment Posted on Fri 29 Apr 2011, over 9 years ago

Hi Dipti,

Good to hear from a fellow Switzer!

In Peru, we have helped our local partner in the north do a regional assessment to identify where solar, micro-hydro, wind, and water projects were needed and feasible. After the report came out, we have been able to work together to attract funding for individual projects and clusters of projects, often with financial support from the regional or municipal governments. In fact, this year we wrapped up about 4-5 of these projects already.

In Nicaragua, our partners have formed a coalition of renewable energy project developers and have been contracted by the Ministry of Energy to do feasibility studies on watersheds for potential micro-hydro projects. As these are completed, the hope is that the local partners will then be contracted out to develop and implement the feasible projects.

In the Philippines, the local municipalities in the Visayas have been very supportive of our partner's ram pumping community clean water distribution projects and have funded anywhere from 30-40% of a given project's capital costs. And in Mindanao, our partner there invites municipal leaders to project ribbon cutting ceremonies...often afterward, once they witness the outpouring of local citizen support and goodwill, the local governments then become advocates of developing similar projects for their jurisdictions and help provide financial support.

Regionally, within Latin America, we are working with several partners to scale-up small-scale biogas and wind turbine projects. In addition to the NGO, business, and university communities that already invested in these projects, one area where we could strengthen our programming and coordination will be to better engage local policy makers and decision makers in the development of projects utilizing biogas and/or wind.

These are the examples that came to mind right away.

On behalf of GrnEmp,
Jason

Benefits of PWX

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Wed 30 Mar 2011, almost 10 years ago

Hi. Really like your mission, great web site, and scope.

What are the main benefits you hope to get from using the Peer Water Exchange?

Will you be able to break down project funding requests to meet the typical costs of most PWX projects? Does your focus on new technologies fit with some of the low tech aspects for accessing water?

How could your past experience help others who are combining technological aspects with low-tech solutions?

Benefits of PWX

By Green Empowerment Posted on Wed 30 Mar 2011, almost 10 years ago

Thanks, Mark!

1. What are the main benefits you hope to get from using the Peer Water Exchange?

A: By becoming a project implementation member of the PWX, we hope to increase our visibility to a new donor base and gain access to additional funding; generate opportunities to collaborate with other water focused organizations; advance abilities to monitor, evaluate, and communicate project results; enhance water related sanitation and hygiene programming; accelerate watershed restoration and education projects; and learn from the lessons of others to do such things as improve training of local technicians.

2. Will you be able to break down project funding requests to meet the typical costs of most PWX projects?

A: Yes, PWX projects visible on the website seem to range from $1k to $5k to $50k. Budgets and reporting for our ram pump, solar water pumping, gravity fed, and biosand water filter projects can be itemized to reflect the typical range of costs for other PWX projects.

2a. Does your focus on new technologies fit with some of the low tech aspects for accessing water?

A: We don't focus on 'new' technologies as much as we focus on renewable and sustainable systems. For example, the ram pump is a more than a 200 year old technology, and fits squarely in the 'appropriate technology' bucket, as well as, gravity flow, or biosand filters. We look to our partners to innovate with the technology and/or socio-economic approach. Solar is more high tech, but is the only possibility in challenging sites.

3. How could your past experience help others who are combining technological aspects with low-tech solutions?

A: As mentioned, we also have a mix of high-tech and low-tech tools in our toolbox, as well as, holistic approaches that integrate community organizing, productive uses of water, and training. With our existing network of partners who use a broad range of approaches, we are well-positioned to share and disseminate best practices from other PWX organizations with those partners within the Green Empowerment network of in-country water focused NGOs. For example, we can facilitate training workshops, initiate technology transfer, and foster project design exchanges between PWX members and our local partners.

Re: Benefits of PWX

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Thu 31 Mar 2011, almost 10 years ago

One of the benefits of PWX that many of our members are starting to use is the comprehensive repository. Members are giving us their complete project histories to showcase on the map, put in the search engine and also use our project management tools and AnalytiX to mange their portfolio. All of this also increases sharing and collaboration.

We are also finding that many orgs have their data in different systems, often ad hoc, and gathering it takes time and energy. Overcoming this hurdle requires a commitment (small in resources but big in the vision part). Manna Energy has done that.

What are your thoughts and plans along those lines? You have a great history of working in many countries (didn't you do some work in Sri Lanka?). We would love to showcase that.

welcome

By El Porvenir Posted on Wed 30 Mar 2011, almost 10 years ago

We've met Jason and talked to Green Empowerment on occasion, I think they'd be a worthy addition to PWX. Welcome...
Rob

welcome

By Green Empowerment Posted on Thu 31 Mar 2011, almost 10 years ago

Thanks, Rob! The church I belong to, St. Michael's and All Saints here in Portland has been sending folks to El Porvenir for many years. I look forward to being a part of PWX!

Dan

welcome

By El Porvenir Posted on Fri 01 Apr 2011, almost 10 years ago

We'll have to compare notes sometime. We have some staff heading to Portland in May to talk there. We also happen to have a high school from Portland here right now as well...

Rob


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