iDE UK at the Ashden Awards

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The iDE UK team attended the Ashden Awards last week. Here are some of the thoughts of one of our volunteers, Sheri Haward:

“I was pleased to attend the Ashden awards last week. There are some highlights  to interning at iDE, not least to be able to participate in a conference that promotes what is happening at the cutting edge of sustainable energy in the UK and abroad.

Yet sustainability is a bit of a buzz word nowadays, isn’t it? Is it really making a difference to people’s lives or effecting changes around the world or even in the United Kingdom? When you look at the news, it doesn’t seem so, there is just the perpetual doom and gloom about extreme weather events or new weather records or failed or failing political summits. Adding to this is the realisation that resources are being used up at an alarming rate and the alternatives are confusing or seem unpopular.

Thankfully, the Ashden awards  provide the  perfect antidote, showing us how the answers are not just with the big shot politicians or EU, UN or G8 agendas, but with ordinary people like you and me. It’s people like us who have come up with a  variety of inspirational,  innovative approaches and technologies, which are the key to getting sustainable energy solutions to reach scale, not just in the developing world, but in the UK too. As the Director of the Wadebridge Renewal Energy Network, a UK finalist, said, “People with no resources & no influence CAN do something about the energy crisis.”

iDE is a keen supporter of Ashden and won the award for ‘Avoided deforestation’ last year for ‘Hydrologic’, an enterprise manufacturing low-cost ceramic water filters, which it developed in Cambodia. Two thirds of the population of Cambodia didn’t have access to safe water when iDE started with Hydrologic. Most had to resort to boiling it, a process which involved chopping down Cambodia’s precious rainforest.

Mrs. Chey and her Hydrologic

A Cambodian home with the Hydrologic water filter in pride of place next to the TV. Photo: iDE UK- David Graham

Following last year’s award, Hydrologic has attracted investment from a number of new partners and Hydrologic carbon credits have been sold for the first time on the voluntary market. It has flourished over this year, sales have increased significantly –  with over 250,000 sold in the last ten years. These water filters are becoming a fixture in many Cambodian homes (see photo above). You can learn more from the video about Hydrologic in Cambodia from last year’s Ashden Award here.

The 2013 finalists had all come up with energy solutions, which are being adopted by communities and some which were being pioneered by whole communities too, like in Wadebridge in Cornwall, a town that has collectively decided to generate 100% of its electricity by 2020. This year’s International awards featured organisations that are investing in both energy efficiency and renewable energy to boost economic growth by creating new livelihoods, jobs and skills.

iDE as a whole (not just me) congratulates the International Gold winners, Solar Aid, a charity that pioneers solar powered lamps, as the alternative to smoky kerosene lamps. Most families want a lamp, not just to improve the quality of life in their homes, but so children can study and get ahead. This creates an enormous market for solar-powered lamps, in the last 8 weeks alone, Steve Andrews, the Solar Aid CEO commented that a 100,000 lamps were sold.  By switching to solar powered lamps, families in Africa save around £77 per year, which is a substantial amount for poor families.

I also liked another finalist, Azuri.  Azuri offers pay-as-you-go scratch cards for a domestic, small solar energy scheme, so they don’t have to take loans or microfinance for sustainable electrification of their homes. As Simon Bransfield-Garth of Azuri stated: “Stop viewing rural Africa as victims, but as customers.”

iDE has always had the same approach to its small-holder, farming clients. They are not beneficiaries of charity, but pro-active, entrepreneurial men and women who are looking for long-term sustainable ways to get out of poverty. iDE facilitates these solutions, with the aim  that they can be set up and remain in place because they are commercially viable.

Attending the Ashden conference was an inspiring event that actually filled me with hope. Hope for the future of this planet, this country and people in general. The participants were all passionate in their commitment to sustainability and the many different energy solutions offered not only made sense from a climate change perspective, but were significantly more economical in the long run. You can read more about The Ashden awards  here. 

(hawardsheri@gmail.com)

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Season’s Greetings from iDE UK!

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As the end of the year approaches, iDE UK would like to thank all of our supporters and reflect on the fantastic progress we have made over the last year.

What a great year it has been for iDE UK, we have welcomed new volunteers, interns and staff, continued our brilliant work and started on some exciting new projects for 2013. On top of this, we have just ended the year with the fantastic news that we have raised over £30,000 in just three days thanks to our generous supporters, The Waterloo Foundation and The Big Give Christmas Challenge!

In terms of our projects, we have had yet another successful year, and we continue to expand into new areas and countries.

We are still working hard on the Nepal and Bangladesh Agriculture and Nutrition Extension (ANE) project, which is funded by the EU and involves us managing a diverse group of partners including Save the Children, CIMMYT and WorldFish. The project is supporting 51,000 households to improve their food security and is increasing child nutrition in 16,000 households in Nepal and Bangladesh. The project ensures cutting edge agricultural technology, which vastly improves productivity, is getting into local shops for smallholder farmers to buy. This means that highly efficient and affordable irrigation machinery like the Axial Flow Pump become available to the poorest farmers.

Cambodia has also enjoyed a fantastic year, with successes in sanitation with the Sanmark project, as well as winning a prestigious Ashden Award with Hydrologic, gaining a gold standard with Carbon Offset Funding and continuing to help smallholder farmers through Farm Business Advisor programmes.

We are also going strong on our Ethiopia Smallholder Markets and Agriculture Resilience Transformation (SMART) Project in Ethiopia, helping 36,500 smallholder farming households, consisting of approximately 219,000 individuals out of poverty. So far, 4,419 smallholders have received a total of approximately 15.47 tonnes of certified seeds through our micro-finance institutions and new technologies!

We have also had a great year in Vietnam, through our Fertiliser Deep Placement Technologies (FDP) project funded by the innocent foundation. In this project we have successfully reached many of our targets and by the summer of 2012 2,726 farmers had adopted FDP technologies. Through applying FDP to their rice crops, the farmers have seen their fertilizer costs fall and their quantity of rice produced rise, leading to a 71.8% increase in income.

We are also now working to expand our farm Business Advisor programme into Mozambique, with the help of SIDA’s Innovations Against Poverty funding. SIDA’s support has allowed us to develop a comprehensive business plan; with many interested private investors we are presently hunting for the right social investor to implement the plan and match this exciting prospect to provide technical agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers.

Next year we will start a project in Zambia, which will match local farmers to mining companies in order to create a market providing fresh fruit and vegetables to the mining workers. Through this project we aim to help 3,500 households raise their incomes by $350, utilising the markets created by new mines opening up in the area (with up to 36,000 hungry miners to feed each day) and supporting farmers to grow their way out of poverty in the long-term.

This year we have helped thousands of smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia realise their entrepreneurial potential and work their way out of poverty. Next year we aim to continue this success and help thousands more!

iDE UK 2012 Review

Success Story: Muze Meskelo’s Maize

Follow the journey of Muze Meskelo, an entrepreneurial farmer from Ethiopia

iDE entrepreneurial farmer in Ethiopia

Meet Muze Meskelo, entrepreneurial maize farmer and father of six children under 12 years old. He owns three sheep, two ox, a cow and a calf and owns half a hectare of Maize fields to grow his crops. He worked hard every day tending to his crops and his farm, yet was not producing enough maize to provide a sufficient income for his family.

Before he was introduced to iDE UK, his field produced 1.2 tonnes of maize, which would have made him around 3,600 Birr (£120) per year. He was then introduced to an iDE UK EU funded project called RAPID, which aimed to work with local smallholder farmers such as Muze to help them improve their crops and sustainably increase their income. Through the iDE UK project, Muze was able to get credit through a one year loan from a partner organisation to buy seeds and fertiliser and pay someone to weed his land. From the new maize seeds and fertiliser introduced by innovative iDE UK technologies and produced by local manufacturers, Muze was expecting to increase his crop yield to 5 tonnes from the same half a hectare space. This meant he was able to increase his income to a brilliant 15,920 Birr (£524) a year to provide for him and his family. Muze is now a successful entrepreneurial farmer and will continue to make a sustainable income from his crops!

Another successful project from iDE UK!

To donate to iDE UK and help other poor farmers in Africa and Asia create sustainable poverty-free livelihoods to support themselves and their families, please support us in The Big Give Christmas Challenge. All donations made 10am Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th December will be matched by The Waterloo Foundation.

World Toilet Day 2012: iDE promotes toilets in Cambodia

iDE project is revo-LOO-tionising sanitation markets in Cambodia and around the world.

Toilets are not exactly glamorous, but installing and using a toilet is vital in ensuring people stay clean and healthy, and can save thousands of lives each year. iDE provide sustainable sanitation solutions in Cambodia and around the world through human-centered and market-led approaches that make a real difference.

iDE know that promoting sanitation means more than just making toilets and handing them out to the poorest villages. Our approach is to develop, manufacture and market toilets with local communities, ensuring all products are viable, sustainable and succeed in improving the lives of the poorest.

With only 23% of rural Cambodians owning their own toilet, the market and scope for providing toilets and improving sanitation is huge. When we started our project in Cambodia in 2009, we understood the barriers many poor families face in acquiring a toilet, such as social values, a lack of awareness and poor access to credit. That is why we use sanitation marketing and human-centered design to ensure the toilets satisfy local aspirations and needs. We have also partnered with VisionFund to offer low interest loans to help locals buy their own toilet. Over 31,000 easy latrines have been sold in the last two years in Cambodia and we aim to sell 100,000 more in the next two years!

Through adopting a Sanitation marketing (SanMark) approach, toilets are marketed as an aspirational purchase, meaning the local community are actively encouraged to buy and use a toilet not just for their hygienic benefits, but also as a symbol of prestige. This also means that demand creation for sanitation is no longer the sole burden of government and NGOs. This project has enabled local entrepreneurs to profitably create and supply high demands for sanitation, in larger numbers, a shorter time frame, and with lower costs than any sanitation program has previously been able to achieve. This project was first run in Vietnam from about 2002 and its success means it has now been rolled out in Timor Leste, Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia and Zambia!

Through treating people as customers and not as recipients of charity iDE are able to move beyond asking “what is good for people?” to “what is important to people?” We can understand what people need and how their aspirations can be fulfilled, supplying life-changing products through sustainable market chains. We look at supply and demand in order to establish new supply chains, creating new opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers, sellers and customers.

Through promoting toilets as a desirable and aspirational purchase, and by making it much easier for the poorest families to access markets and buy a toilet, iDE are helping improve sanitation on a monumental scale throughout Cambodia and around the world.

iDE UK, supporting World Toilet Day 2012.

Find out more about iDE UK Sanitation projects now!

Bangladesh photographs from David Graham

As promised, here are some more wonderful photographs taken by iDE UK ambassador and professional photographer David Graham when he was out visiting iDE UK projects in Bangladesh.

To see more of David Graham’s photographs taken when visiting iDE UK projects visit our Tumblr and Pinterest pages!

Photo of the day: iDE UK in Nepal

As promised, we have another beautiful photograph (which was amazingly taken on an iPhone!) taken from when the two David’s were out visiting iDE UK projects in Nepal.

The project they were visiting is called the Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project (ANE), which is currently based in Nepal. This project helps small holder farmers who lack access to agricultural technologies and markets, meaning they experience low productivity, food insecurity and high levels of poverty. iDE UK target these small holder farmers and work to sustainably improve their production and marketing of crops and nutritious foods. This not only leads to increased food security but ensures adequate nutrition levels and provides a sustainable income for the farmers!

By the end of this project in 2014, iDE UK aim to improve food security in 51,000 households and improve child nutrition in 16,000 households throughout rural Nepal.

Our programmes manager David Jackson has reported that the project is going brilliantly and is already showing how improved farming techniques are increasing productivity and income!

 

The two David’s in Nepal and Bangladesh for iDE UK

ImageOur programmes manager David Jackson is currently out in Nepal with our very gifted supporter and photographer David Graham, to check up on the projects over there. They will be reporting back with information and photographs as they go along to keep us all up to date with what is happening on the ground. Here is one of the first photos David Graham has sent to us from Nepal of one of the many women in Nepal that iDE UK is helping with sustainable business solutions.

Keep posted for more photos and information about their trip!

Photos will also be shown on the iDE UK Pinterest and Tumblr pages so why not take a look?

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ideuk/

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/ide-uk-share-to-inspire#