The Growing Esmeraldas with Renewable Energy project (known as Creciendo Esmeraldas con Energía Renovable, or “CRECER”) has won the 2016 National Energy Globe Award for Ecuador! The CRECER project was created to improve the lives and livelihoods of rural cacao-farming families in Ecuador’s Esmeraldas Province through the holistic implementation of renewable energy technologies, eco-agricultural training programs, and improved social cohesion. Since mid-2014, Green Empowerment and its local partners FEDETA and CorpoEsmeraldas have worked together with three rural communities on this pilot initiative, resolving locally-defined needs while protecting the region’s fragile coastal rainforest ecosystems.
Thanks to program funding provided by WISIONS, 42 local farmers completed an 80-hour course to improve their cacao cultivation through organic practices, 50 families received training on gender equity, conflict resolution and leadership techniques, and 15 community members were trained as technicians/promoters. With the support of these newly minted local experts, ten biogas digesters and nine solar cacao dryers were installed. These technologies empower local families, improving cacao yield and quality by providing organic fertilizer and uniform post-harvest processing, while simultaneously protecting local watersheds, substituting renewable energy for fossil fuels and firewood, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.But that’s not all! The impact of CRECER extends well beyond the limits of the pilot project’s scope. The farmer-to-farmer diffusion of CRECER’s impact has already shown promising results, with local market-based replication of both technologies planned for the coming months and significant interest expressed by both local government and cacao cooperatives in continued agro-technical support activities.
Given the great success of CRECER to date, GE and our partners are now exploring the expansion of some elements of the project to other regions of Ecuador. Keep following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on the blog to hear about exciting updates in the coming months.Many thanks to our implementing partners, FEDETA and CorpoEsmeraldas, and to our funding partner, WISIONS! The WISIONS initiative has been actively promoting the introduction of sustainable energy solutions and resource efficiency since it was launched in 2004 and has supported a variety of Green Empowerment projects over the years. The main objective of WISIONS is to make clean energy a default solution for basic energy needs in developing regions, by helping local partners to identify successes and bring them to scale through regional networks, marketing and demonstration.On June 5th, UN World Environment Day, the national winners of the Energy Globe Award were presented in a global online campaign under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP. The Energy Globe Award includes 177 participating nations and is the largest and most renowned environmental prize worldwide.