On a local level, I found that the Kudura could be a triple-win solution. Socially, measured in my project with monetary savings as the indicator, the Kudura impacted Sidonge positively, due to the fact that it created monetary savings in Sidonge through lower prices on energy and fertilizer. In addition, savings on medicines are created through access to low-cost and purified drinking water. Economically, in relation to the macroeconomic framework elaborated by the Danish theoretician Jesper Jespersen, the Kudura could help start economical flows, as the savings made can be used to raise the demand for new products elsewhere in Kenya, raising the need for production (that needs more labor and raw materials). Finally, environmentally the Kudura was also a win-solution, as it cuts down the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, due to the fact that it replaces the baseline energy services with clean energy sources. Thus, the Kudura could be a triple-win solution on a local level.
On a societal level, I investigated the impact of the Kudura through a cost-benefit analysis, which has the advantage of being able to include the external effects of a project. The cost-benefit analysis can be used to calculate the costs and benefits in relation to an investment project, to see if it is a societally profitable solution or not. Socially, besides the savings on a local level, the Kudura also saves the villagers of Sidonge time, as they do not have to spend time on collecting firewood and charcoal, or hike to the nearest village to charge cellphones. This can be seen as a saving as well, as they can now use this time for productive work instead, and thus increase their income. Environmentally the Kudura cuts down the CO2 emissions even more, as the baseline scenario will now also include the environmental effects of the production of charcoal and the harvesting of firewood, which can have further damaging environmental effects. At a macro level, the Kudura should include the CO2 emissions related to its production and transportation, but even so, it still cuts the CO2 emissions down significantly. Finally, economically, even though the initial and recurring price of the Kudura was included in the calculations, the Kudura would still yield a positive sum in the cost-benefit analysis in comparison to baseline, which was found to be negative. Thus, the Kudura could be a triple-win solution on a societal level as well.
As I have also noted in my project, the results here will of course depend on the measuring techniques used and the indicators chosen. Thus, this investigation could easily be broadened out to include a bigger scope of research. To ensure a robustness of my conclusion, I have left out all the insecure indicators, which could also impact the results. I have e.g. not included the difference between the bio-fertilizer and the chemical fertilizer, which will probably make the Kudura even more environmentally positive in comparison to baseline, as the chemical fertilizer without doubt will be more environmentally negative than using a natural, bio-fertilizer. Furthermore I have left out the use of electricity in the nearby village in baseline, which would also make the baseline even more negative than the Kudura. Finally, socially the Kudura will bring many other impacts that could affect Sidonge positively; as the women are the ones mostly collecting firewood and charcoal, it could make the gender equality higher. The long-term effects of the children having more time for school, could also in the longer run show that they have greater possibilities in life than their parents.
Thus, with all these effects not considered, the Kudura could be an even better triple-win solution on a local and national level than it already is.]]>
The notion is this: after developed countries have spent ver 2.3 Trillion US$ on aid in developing countries of the last 50 years (of which over 1TUS$ was in Africa!), the impact has been minimal to those that the aid targets – the base of the pyramid demographic that lives on less than 3$ per day. Here’s a very informative video interview with Bill on why foreign AID fails to deliver.
The issue seems to be any one or more of corruption, bad stewardship, waste, excess and off course as Ernesto says, the lack of consultation with the targeted populations about what they think they need. In my travels across Eastern Africa in 2010/2011 while searching for a site for our Kudura sustainable development solution demonstration site, I came across a number of “white elephants” – projects that cost a fair penny yet were no longer functioning. At the time I remember asking local community members two questions:
The answers were consistent: the community hardly ever had a sense of ownership of the project and often the original donors were blamed for the project failure / comments like the following we common:
“the pump stopped working and no one came to fix it”
“we did not ask them for this…”
The issue seems this: given the problems of water quality, energy and poverty seem so well defined, as people living in developed countries, our tendency is to immediately jump to a “solution” within the context of what we know and experience. Often those solutions seems so simple that we cannot imagine they would be hard to implement and that the impact would be hugely positive. The reality, as we have experienced to some extent in Sidonge, is that without a clear, community felt problem that the community wishes to resolve, no amount of money thrown at the problem is going to result in much good. In fact, as Dambisa Moyo, Zambian-born economist and New York Times best-selling author of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way For Africa puts it, AID has done far more bad than good to the people that it targets.
The Kudura sustainable development approach encapsulates this vision and thinking. In November we identified a young individual in Sidonge, Geoffrey Okumo (video interview with Geoffrey and photo gallery below), who saw an opportunity to start his own business at home providing hair cutting and phone charging services to the community. He had spent much of his post school years travelling to faraway cities like Mombasa to seek work and income. Being from the rural area, he struggled. In this opportunity he saw a way to create jobs and make money, while helping the community. No longer would they have to walk some 7 km’s to a town to charge their phones and get a haircut, meaning they could spend more time working their land and studying. After he approached us to assist him with a small loan (€100), he built his kiosk on our site and we provid him power at a monthly fee. He is now faithfully paying back his loan on terms we agreed and making some money for himself to boot.
This, we believe, is how AID resources should be deployed – help entrepreneurs like Geoffrey to help themselves. Check out the photos below.
We met at the University of Strathmore during the launch event of the Climate Innovation Centre – a world bank funded incubator for African start-ups that hold a promise of creating major impact on Climate mitigation. RVE.SOL was invited to exhibit as a company that holds that promise. Here’s a recent post about that event.
Over 23 years in the business of rehabilitating Kenyan street children, Dr. Mulli and his team have over 2000 present students and over 8000 alumni. These alumni are highly qualified, occupying various positions of seniority in government and private institutions. All call him “Dad”. The reason became clear to me during the course of the visit.
The organisation has two campuses – both running sustainable tree planting and agriculture businesses that provide for over 45% of MCF’s operational budget, the balance provided by international donors like NCA. MCF was recently awarded international GAP certification, which entitles them to export quality produce to European markets. Ever wonder where the green beans you can buy at your local store in winter come from? MCF in Kenya!
Children come from destitute backgrounds, suffering abuse, abandonment, drugs and many other horrors too dificult to comprehend. These students then undergo a strenuous but loving rehabilitation curriculum covering general education with a sustainability focus, ultimately preparing them for entry to international universities and a “normal” career. The result is a above average rehabilitation rate, to the point where the Kenyan judicial system often recommends children to the program.
Local communities are positively impacted by job creation – MCF employs over 800 staff members! In addition MCF support a number of local development initiatives, such as a planned eco-village close to the facility. The term eco-village is loosely used and describes a community that has as it’s guiding principles socially, economically and ecologically sustainable practices that allow the community members to thrive in harmony with each other and with their environment. Many such initiatives have been kicked off in developing countries Africa with varying results. The Senegalese program in particular, run by GENSEN, the Global Ecovillage Network Senegal and the, get this, Ministry of Ecovillages led by Babacar Ndao. From what I can glean, the only country with a dedicated portfolio minister! That’s dedication to solving the problem.
As part of their sustainability agenda, MCF and NCA are planning to implement a series of self-sustaining Eco-communities for which we hope KUDURA will be considered as a core component of the sustainable development solution. The community would benefit through clean water and energy, intended to break the perpetual cycle of rural poverty and serve as a demonstrator for what is possible with the right technologies, accountability and stewardship.
RVE.SOL is proud to be associated with MCF and NCA!
We set out early 2011 to identify one or more sites in Eastern Africa for deployment of our sustainable development model, looking to validate three key points in proving our solution:
This is part of a series of articles covering our observations and will cover clean water consumption, impact to health, job creation and improved school results.
In a previous article, we outlined how KUDURA makes potable water from the local Sidonge ground water which has been documented to contain Typhoid, Bilharzia and other nasties.
Our baseline social impact survey, conducted a full month prior to deployment of Kudura, indicated that the population of Sidonge depended on the following sources of water for their livelihood:
Initially we had our resulting potable water and the original source water tested by the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation – the results were awesome – the report can be viewed by clicking this link. Note that this water was purified from water that came from this source at right. Hard to believe, not true?
Given access to Kudura potable water from a central point in the community, many families opted to pay for the piece of mind and associated reduced medicinal costs caused by consumption of this raw water. Consumption however declined in the rainy season as many families would capture rain water run-off from their roofs for drinking. We experienced an anomaly from July to September 2012 where consumption dropped significantly – initially without explanation. Subsequently we discovered that the energy vendor was misappropriating funds and that the community members did not trust him – as a result, they stopped buying water. Finally, his services were terminated by the community self help group and a new individual called Geoffrey Okumo, hired. Almost immediately, villagers started buying water again.
It is interesting and important to note that our sustainable development model enables a number of ancillary income opportunities for villagers, whether they choose to consume the potable water or not. Every day around 5pm, after school, children check with the energy vendor as to whether more raw water is required. Most days it is and they set out to the raw water source, jerry can in hand! On returning with a full 20l jerry can, they are paid by the community-run project fund, earning 5-7 shillings per jerry can. Some students are clearing 50 shillings a day! This money is being used to buy materials for school like pens, notepads and the like. In a subsequent article we’ll see a family video interview in which the family is convinced that the income from raw water collection tied to light at night to study has had a tangible impact on school results over the last year.
This gallery of pictures were taken last week and give a good overview of things on the ground, so to speak.
We’ll be conducting a follow up social impact study late this year, the results of which we will happily share.
Subsequent posts will cover Energy for light and communication, Energy for cooking and use of bio-fertiliser for rejuvenation of over-utilised land for crops.]]>
The concept of sustainable development was defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987 in the report “Our common future” (also called the Brundtland Report) by the following phrase: ”Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987, page 43). It was furthermore defined as a three-dimensional concept including social, environmental and economical sustainability. The further message of the WCED report was that a continued economic growth is crucial for the possibility for the developing countries to challenge poverty – but that the growth should be environmentally sustainable at the same time (see the WCED report for a full introduction to the concept).
The reason for talking about a triple-win solution is that some believe that we are in the middle of a triple-crisis at the moment. This triple-crisis is first of all based on the fact that the world is socially unequal, with still too many people living in poverty, feeling hunger and suffering on a daily basis (for further information and numbers, see The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 elaborated by the UN). Secondly, the world is also environmentally in crisis, as the environmental changes are felt across the globe – following the UNDP Human Development Report from 2007-08, 262 million people were affected by the natural disasters between 2000-04, where of 98% were from Less Developed Countries (LDCs). Finally, the economy is also in crisis, as experienced e.g. through the economic breakdowns beginning in 2008 in North America and Europe.
On the basis of this, the triple-win solutions are meant as a part of a sustainable development to address these three crises: social, environmental and economical. The triple-win solutions are therefore outcomes that support social development, environmental sustainability and economical growth at the same time (see the UNDP 2012 report “Triple Wins for Sustainable Development”).
As mentioned by Friedrich Barth from the UNDP at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2012, renewable energy can be a triple-win solution (see also the UNDP 2012 report “Triple Wins for Sustainable Development”). Let me explore this some more:
Renewable energy has first of all been pointed at as poverty reducing, due to the fact that access to energy can increase the score in the Human Development Index (HDI). Secondly, if the prices on renewable energy can be lower than on fossil fuels, the poor have to spend less money on energy on a daily basis (which in the long run can lead to a reduction in poverty as well). Renewable energy will be far less harmful for the environment, due to smaller amounts of CO2 being released into the atmosphere (see e.g. “The Sustainable Energy for All Initiative” led by Ban Ki-Moon). Indirectly, the reduction of poverty will result in less poverty pollution, which is caused by the necessity for the poor to exploit the nearby environment for surviving. Furthermore, the better environment caused by access to cleaner energy sources, will also benefit the poor by leading to a higher food security and better lives – hopefully with less environmental disasters occurring in the long-run (see for example the article “The Energy-Poverty-Climate Nexus” by Casillas and Kammen, 2010).
The above mentioned can also be expressed through the energy-poverty-climate nexus, which expresses the link between renewable energy, poverty and the environment, and how these can affect each other in a positive way (see again the article by Casillas and Kammen, 2010 – or the UNDP/UNEP “Poverty-Environment Initiative”).
To sum up, the triple-win solutions are solutions that support economic, social and environmental progress at the same time, and they are thus part of promoting a sustainable development in the future.]]>
The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (Kenya CIC) is a World Bank-infoDev initiative (infoDev) designed to support the development and scale of locally relevant climate technologies in Kenya and Eats Africa. Funded by UK Aid and DANIDA, the Kenya CIC provides incubation, capacity building services and financing to Kenyan entrepreneurs and Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) who are developing innovative climate mitigation and adaptation solutions. In recognition of our innovative KUDURA rural poverty solution, we were invited to exhibit at the event, giving us access to visitor from the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources and other AID organisations.
I contacted Vivian with the purpose of using the RVE Hub KUDURA as a case in my bachelor project about the link between renewable energy, sustainable development and poverty reduction. The main goal of my project is to investigate to what extent a renewable energy project like the RVE Hub can be a triple-win solution to the triple-crisis – a term used by UNDP amongst others.
I encountered RVE.SOL during my attendance at the United Nations conference Rio+20 in June in Rio de Janeiro. One of the themes of the conference was “Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, which I chose to focus on, due to the fact that it expresses a promise for a triple-win solution in the future. The theme states that we have to eradicate poverty to make the world sustainable, and that this should be done with a growth that is environmentally sustainable. There are some interesting links here that should be pointed out: First of all, is it possible to have an environmentally sustainable growth? Secondly, if not, can we then eradicate poverty without economic growth? And finally, what is the interlinked relationship between poverty and the environment?
One thing that seemed almost universally agreed upon at Rio+20, was that renewable energy can be a triple-win solution to the triple-crisis, due to the “poverty-energy-climate nexus”. This nexus expresses how renewable energy can eradicate poverty through lower prices and at the same time be sustainable. It will in this way also reduce the pollution of poverty, and in the long run reduce the impact of the environmental changes for the poorest of the poor – following the UNDP Human Development Report 2007-08, 262 million people were affected by natural disasters between 2000-04, where 98% of them were living in developing countries.
The first analysis of my project will be about the social, economic and environmental impact of the RVE Hub on the population in Sidonge, and on the possibility for scaling-up a project like this to a broader level to reach more people. My second analysis will be used to discuss different theories of the role of growth as part of the new sustainable development – can it be sustainable, or is it even necessary for developing a country?
I will during my blogs try to keep you updated on my findings and research for my project, and more thoroughly write about some of the themes from above regarding the poverty-energy-climate nexus, the triple-win solutions, the sustainability for all, and maybe also the role of organic agriculture in the future.]]>
Also check out our photos from the event here.]]>