iDE UK’s New Climate Change Innovation Powered by the Nepali Sunshine!

Last week was ‘Climate Week’. Half a million people attended 3400 events making it Britain’s biggest ever climate change campaign. So, what are iDE UK doing about climate change I hear you ask?

At iDE UK we share Climate Week’s vision of inspiring action to create a sustainable future. We understand the devastating and complex challenges climate change represents to people and the planet and respond to these challenges by:

  • Designing sustainable market-based interventions that promote economic development in an environmentally sound way.
  • Designing technologies and solutions which use renewable energy.
  • Ensuring the farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs we work with are equipped to deal the consequences of changes to the climate.

Take the case of Nepal for example: Recent climatic change has shifted monsoon patterns in Nepal, restricting access to water in the dry season. Many poor, rural communities live at an altitude way above their nearest water source. Traditional pumps do not provide enough water for the community throughout the day. Women and girls are forced to battle increasingly extreme weather for their daily walk to fetch water, often a 3 hour trek. One of our Nepalese farmer clients told us, “Through carrying water many women got sick and had problems.”

Nepalese farmers carrying water

Walking to collect water can take over 3 hours

As many who have visited this beautiful country can tell you, living in these conditions is avoidable because there is abundant renewable energy available which can be used to pump water – sunshine!

Our latest innovation, Solar powered ‘multiple-use’ water pumps are designed to help entire communities in Nepal adapt to climate change and provide access to both clean domestic water and productive water for irrigation.

A happy customer

One happy villager stands by the newly installed ‘Solar MUS’

Each system can lift water up to remote communities from 100 meters below to serve 50 households (about 250 people) with water for both agriculture and as a safe drinking source.

This brings many benefits for rural communities: Farmers have been able to grow high value crops meaning each household is able to earn around £134 per year in additional income. Access to water for domestic use (worth £6,700 per year, per system) is revolutionising sanitation and hygiene. The system also greatly reduces the time women and children spend carrying water. When asked what she will do with the time she used to spend fetching water, one client said, “I’ll give more time to my children, get training for a skilled job and motivate the community”.

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High value crop production as a result of efficient water irrigation

USAID’s Shanker Khagi visited our Multiple Use Water System (MUS) site in Kaski, Nepal last week, recalling; “I very much benefited from the interaction with field staff in learning about the Integrated Climate Change Adaptation activities that are being implemented.”

Scaling Up? iDE UK expect to reach 100,000 rural poor people with this new innovation. In order to do this iDE is currently looking at institutional and financial models which can be replicated throughout Nepal. While a system to reach 250 people costs £10,700, it has a 5 year payback and a 20 year lifespan making the investment highly worthwhile for poor rural communities.

iDE UK is at the forefront of developing new products and solutions that help poor rural communities respond to climate change. For more on our work in Nepal, click on the links:

Our new video on the MUS

iDE Nepal website

BBC documentary on similar systems in Nepal

What next? Please let us know what you would like to hear about in our blog. Click on the speech bubble icon at the top of this post to comment.

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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!

Female Farmers: Powerful Contributors to Agricultural Development

On International Women’s Day we would like to highlight the tremendous contribution that women smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia make to their economies and communities. It is iDE’s fundamental belief that all poor people have the right to a secure livelihood, and that both men and women play vital, yet often different, roles in the pursuit of secure livelihoods for their families.

iDE helps poor families generate additional income by increasing access to affordable income-generating technologies and market opportunities.  We follow a business-like approach, treating smallholder farmers—whether male or female—as customers rather than as charity recipients.

Recognising the significant size of the female market segment and the important role that women play in agricultural production and household well-being, iDE ensures that women farmers are as likely as male farmers to benefit from programme interventions.

We would like to invite you to visit the farms of our most inspiring Zambian female farming entrepreneurs, Anita Mwembe and Veronica Sianchenga – hear it in their own words and see the results of their hard work.

On International Women’s Day join us in celebrating the achievements of the millions of women in business on rural farms in Africa

iDE UK

Solutions to Poverty: Manchester, Thank you!

We’d like to extend a belated but sincere thank you to everyone who joined us in Manchester for our recent event, discussing iDE’s solutions to poverty.

This was our first open evening in the Northern capital and we were thrilled with such a diverse turn out.

Attendance on the night included a flood of students from Manchester Uni who showed genuine enthusiasm for iDE’s poverty solutions projects in rural Africa and Asia.

Thanks too to our NW-based trustee, David Rigby who gave a captivating talk about the work iDE is carrying out and his personal experiences visiting our projects in Ethiopia and Cambodia.

If you would like to know more about our work adapting social enterprise to fight poverty please visit iDE UK

To be kept up to date on future events, please ‘Like’ us on our new official facebook page. Thanks!

Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail

iDE founder and author of ‘Out of Poverty’, Paul Polak talks about his successful alternative to traditional approaches of addressing poverty.

We think this approach to poverty makes perfect sense. What do you think?

From poverty to prosperity…

Check out the new iDE mission video – our business is eradicating poverty across the globe. Will you help us?

Most of the poorest individuals on our planet, more than 800 million, are subsistence farmers who survive by farming small plots of land. In order to make a significant impact on global poverty, we work with these populations. iDE’s mission is to turn poverty to prosperity. And how do we do that? Well, it starts with a single drop….