Fresh Faces at Green Empowerment
Here at Green Empowerment we are excited to introduce you to two new members of our team, Mohammad Pakravan and Abraham Ngu!
Mohammad Pakravan, Technical Program Manager
Mohammad joined our Portland headquarters in August where he has taken up the mantle of Technical Program Manager. Originally from Isfahan, Iran, Mohammad describes his hometown as “a city with mountains on one side, dessert on the other and a river that invigorates life from the high lands through downtown and out into the marshes.” He grew up in the post Iran-Iraq war’s industrial revolution. Mohammad’s father is also an engineer, so he says “I was able to observe from a young age how development projects can lead a society to escape the poverty trap.” Motivated by a desire to be part of this kind of development, Mohammad originally studied mechanical engineering. While completing his degree Mohammad realized that “engineering solutions and practices are an important element of development but not the only defining factor.” Therefore, he has focused on economic and policy aspects of engineering solutions in his master’s in Renewable and Clean Energy and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Economics.
Before joining Green Empowerment, Mohammad worked at Oregon State University to study behavior and cultural attributes in low-income areas of Africa and Latin America. Using the methodology he helped develop technologies and services can be designed in a way that is complimentary to local culture and lifestyle allowing for more sustainable and scalable implementation of projects. This methodology was awarded a National Science Foundation Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation grant.
Here at Green Empowerment we feel extremely lucky to have a new member of the team that has both a high level of technical expertise and a deep appreciation for the critical relationship between technology and the primary users of that technology.
Reflecting on his new role Mohammad shared “As technical program manager at Green Empowerment my main goal is to help empower our partner organizations with systematic approaches, that sometimes involve technology, to lead communities out of the poverty cycle. My objective is not to teach partners how to fish, but rather to work with partners to further improve their community’s livelihood if the fishing pond dries out. “
Welcome Mohammad! We are excited to see how your background and expertise help propel our projects forward.
Abraham Ngu, Malaysia Program Manager
This fall we also welcomed our new Malaysia Program Coordinator, Abraham Ngu. When he is not in the field, Abraham works from the offices of two of our partner organizations (TONIBUNG and PACOS Trust) in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
Abraham was born and raised in Sarawak, the state neighboring Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. After high school he continued his education in the United States, earning a degree in biochemistry from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and studying forest management in the Pacific Northwest. On returning to Sarawak in 2016 he began working with SAVE Rivers, a civil society organization that advocates for indigenous forest and land rights in the upper Baram River valley. Green Empowerment has collaborated with Save Rivers and other local partners for many years to present alternatives to megadams. Read more about this work here .
Abraham says he was inspired to work with Green Empowerment because of “Green Empowerment’s model of supporting local partners that work at the village level. There aren’t too many organizations around that do that well.” This passion for partnership is key to Abraham’s new role. Some of his main responsibilities are to continue to strengthen established partnerships in the Sabah region and to facilitate program expansion in other parts of Malaysia, particularly Abraham’s home state, Sarawak.
As well as expanding geographically, Abraham is excited to expand the type of projects that we implement in Malaysia. Reflecting on his role, Abraham shared that “Green Empowerment’s work in Malaysian Borneo has predominantly been on renewable energy. With our new technical manager Mohammad, while also tapping into the wealth of experience that Green Empowerment has in Latin America, I am excited to be working on more watershed/water related projects in Malaysia.”
After just over a month of working with Abraham we can already see how his deep understanding of local issues and dedication to indigenous rights will be invaluable to Green Empowerment’s work in Malaysia. Welcome Abraham, we are very happy to have you!