Passion for a business venture that meets the triple bottom-line – people, planet, and profit – is what really drives a team of students at the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA Program at Colorado State University. Working with Trees, Water & People, the group of four students are helping to develop Luciérnaga,a social enterprise that commercially distributes solar lighting products through networks of community-based organizations (CBOs) and agricultural cooperatives in Honduras.
Luciérnaga (“firefly” in Spanish) has a strong sustainable mission: “use an extensive network of agricultural cooperatives to provide 2.2 million Honduran families without electricity access to affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly solar lights that can be used for educational, household, and economic gains.”
This summer, the GSSE team will be traveling to Honduras to conduct in-depth research on Luciérnaga’s business operations such as the supply chain distribution, cooperative functionality, and customer service. They will use the information learned in the field to close Luciérnaga’s business gaps and increase scalability in Honduras and throughout other countries in Central America.
The diverse GSSE team, composed of Alicia Prusinksi, Magaly Mori, Kevin Rodriguez, and Trang Tran (pictured below from left to right), is currently fundraising for their trip by participating in a business competition, pitching to social and sustainable businesses, and crowdfunding.
Check out their website, meet their team, and consider funding their project. Remember that with one good deed YOU can make a change in the world!
Around the world, 1.4 billion people still have no access to electricity. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, Trees, Water & People (TWP) and our partners are working to bring light and energy to rural communities in Central America and Peru. Paul Winkel, who works with TWP partner PowerMundo to distribute solar lights and cell phone chargers, offers his reflections:
When I was a teacher, we often spoke amongst ourselves of that special moment when we “lit up a child’s life.” Those times where we could see a child come alive and truly connect, when you felt you were making the biggest difference.
I don’t think any of us really understood the full meaning of that saying – light is so common in our lives that we do not appreciate its power, and so it passes merely into metaphor. But here in Peru millions live in the dark, and in my few months I have truly seen lives illuminated. Not just children, but entire families now light up because of our work, and that light radiates in incredible ways.
It seemed such a simple idea when I left home…yet the best usually are. A small plastic device that fits in your hand – a light and cell phone charger that changes lives. And not as a gift, that’s the best part. These people are not “poor” – many live amongst some of the greatest natural wealth I have ever seen. They do not need our charity or one-off projects. All they need is the market for a solution; and we’re here to help create it.
Learn more about Trees, Water & People’s Cleantech Program here.
On August 17th, TWP and our partner organization, Asociación Hondureña para el Desarrollo (AHDESA), inaugurated the Renewable Energy Training and Demonstration Center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Center has been developed as part of our work with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas’ (ECPA)Improving Access to Clean Energy in Latin America initiative. Since November 2011, TWP and AHDESA have been working as “Implementing Partners” with the ECPA to promote clean energy, low carbon development, and climate-resilient growth in Central America.
The new Renewable Energy Training & Demonstration Center is powered by a 2kW solar PV system and wind energy. In addition, AHDESA has all of the clean cookstove models that they produce on display as well as an array of Cleantech products that they sell to communities who lack access to the energy grid.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event!
We are working with our long-time NGO partner, Proleña, in Nicaragua, to establish the National Center for Biomass Energy & Climate Change near La Paz Centro, Nicaragua.
The Center will be an educational resource where communities can learn about managing forests, renewable energy, cleantech, and clean cookstoves. In addition to the core training, we will develop the Center as a global facility, where people from around the world will be empowered with the skills that will help them adapt to climate change in their region.
Features of the National Center for Biomass Energy & Climate Change: