Enjoy these video updates from one of our Sustainable Vision teams: Stanford University's project to strengthening manufacturing capacity of Burmese metalworking firms to promote sustained development. The team believes introducing an improved manufacturing process for treadle pumps will eventually diffuse to other areas, broadly improving the local metalworking sector.
For the past two years, a Sustainable Vision team from Baylor University has worked in remote villages in Honduras, helping locals build mini hydro-power stations.
Team leader Brian Thomas reports that the team's company, Village Energy, has launched an electricity generation business in a village called Danto Uno, and is establishing a second business in a nearby village.
Work is also underway to help local people use their new source of energy to spur entrepreneurial activities. A Baylor faculty member, Blaine McCormick, taught entrepreneurship to village people on a recent visit, and already villagers are creating businesses.
Many poor villages in developing countries are located in isolated mountainous areas without access to grid-based electric power. Without access to electricity, villagers burn a variety of fuels for energy, which can lead to respiratory disease and environmental degradation. At the same time, a number of these villages have nearby streams that represent a considerable untapped natural resource for energy creation. This project seeks to take advantage of those streams, creating village-level pico-hydro systems that harness the small mountain streams to produce enough energy to serve the villages.
The team has developed and installed several pico-hydro systems in remote villages in Honduras. The team has replicated the process and made the pico-hydro systems sustainable by building them into community-owned businesses. Specifically, the grant allowed for the development of business plans for two types of companies: franchised power-producing operations in rural villages (villagers running the pico-hydro systems), and system design companies located in nearby urban centers.
University Grants Manager Jennifer Keller Jackson had the opportunity to travel to Peru to learn about UMass Lowell's drip irrigation project (2008 grantee):
Grantees, such as University of Colorado-Boulder's Sustainable Technology Entrepreneurship in Afghanistan team, collaborate with non-profit, for-profit, educational or government partnerto bring socially beneficial products to the poor via an economically sustainable business model (as opposed to traditional philanthropy):