The Portland Tribune, September 2012: Clean Water to PhilippinesJuly 27, 2013
Chapter 7, includes Green Empowerment. Book: Modeling and Optimization of Renewable Energy Systems.July 27, 2013
EL CLARÃN – Inauguracion Chorro BlancoJuly 27, 2013
Hidro Red (Written by Anna Garwood)July 27, 2013
pdx.eater.com, January 2011July 27, 2013
Andina Newsletter, January 2011July 27, 2013
Andina Restaurant, 01.14.11July 27, 2013
The Solar Home & Business Journal, 11.18.10July 27, 2013
Wind Engineering, Vol 34July 27, 2013
Portland Business Journal 6.4.2010July 27, 2013
Portland Business Journal, 5.11.10July 27, 2013
Triple Pundit, 4.21.10July 27, 2013
Learn about the integrated projects here: Slideshow
Since 2009, congregants from two Portland area synagogues – Havurah Shalom and P’nai Or – have been working with two non-profits – Green Empowerment, based in Portland, and its Nicaraguan partner, Asociación Fénix – to help the people of a small (43 household) village in Nicaragua called El Jocote achieve their vision of a better life for themselves and their children. So far, our efforts have included community health surveys, fundraising to support the development and installation of solar powered pump to send water to storage tanks at the top of a hill above the village, and a series of service-learning trips.
The installation of the solar powered water pumping system has allowed the people of El Jocote to enjoy clean drinking water in their homes for the first time. The arrival of fresh water for one faucet per home may not seem like a major improvement, but it has led to a dramatic transformation in the village. No longer must the women and children collect drinking and cooking water from a spring and carry it in five gallon buckets weighing 40 pounds up a steep slope four or five times a day. For the first time, many of the men in the village can now stay home to plant irrigated crops rather than leave to work in the coffee plantations in neighboring Costa Rica or elsewhere. Partnering with Green Empowerment and Asofénix has allowed members of our congregations learn about – and see firsthand – the effects of global poverty and sustainable energy, and to serve in a direct and meaningful way. In fact, this experience has transformed many of our lives as well.
After the water pumping system was installed in 2011, several related projects were launched to ensure that not a drop of precious fresh water is wasted, and to reduce the demand on resources in the watershed and improve living conditions in the village. They include the construction of patio vegetable gardens that make use of the grey-water that remains after the fresh water is used for its initial purpose, the addition of latrines, the installation higher quality cook stoves that are more fuel-efficient and less polluting, reforestation efforts, and education campaigns (environmental, and health and hygiene). Together, these projects have reduced the demand on resources in the watershed and improved living conditions in the households. From the beginning, the vision, energy and enthusiasm of the people of El Jocote has been inspiring to all of us. The community has taken ownership of these projects; they would not have been successful without their enthusiasm and commitment.
Now we are committing ourselves to helping the people of El Jocote fund the next phase of their development plan. According to the people on the ground who know best, the most important next steps are to support:
• The construction of patio vegetable gardens for 15 more families
• The building of latrines for 21 more families
• 15 more improved cook stoves to dramatically improve indoor air quality
• A “community promoter “ who lives in and is respected by the village to work over an 18-month period to serve as a liaison with for these projects
The entire cost for these efforts, including all materials, training, transportation, and programming costs, and the funding of the community promoter for 18-months is $20,000.
We will also plan to organize additional services trip for members of Havurah, an P’nai Or, and other supporting organizations to travel to Nicaragua and work alongside El Jocote residents on these projects. Those of us from Havurah will work with the Tikkun Olam Committee and the youth and young adult programs to engage young people. We hope to offer scholarships for one or more young people to travel to Nicaragua with us on a future service trip.
We are committed to raising these funds so we can help our friends in El Jacote and serve as a model to inspire other faith-based communities to support other villages that are just as deserving as the people of El Jacote. We will do our part but we will need your help. Please help the wonderful people of El Jocote by attending a house party or making your tax-deductible contribution here or my attending one of the informational house parties we will be hosting.
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