TREES, WATER & PEOPLE CO-FOUNDER WINS SARGENT SHRIVER AWARD

Stuart Conway helps build a Justa cook stove in Guatemala

Stuart Conway, Co-founder of Colorado-based nonprofit Trees, Water & People (TWP), has been honored with the 2010 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service. The prestigious award is presented by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) and the Peace Corps community. Conway is a proud RPCV who served in Guatemala for three years as an Extension Agent and Trainer for the Conservation of Natural Resources Program.

“We are excited to honor Stuart Conway for his work cofounding a nonprofit that helps communities to protect, conserve, and manage natural resources and for his untiring conservation efforts on behalf of communities worldwide,” said Kevin Quigley, president of the National Peace Corps Association. “His commitment is in the finest tradition of Peace Corps Volunteers since the days of Sargent Shriver.”

As Co-founder and International Director of Trees, Water, & People, Stuart has managed the planting of 3.5 million trees throughout Central America and Haiti since 1998. He also helped to develop the fuel-efficient Justa cook stove, which reduces wood usage for fuel to conserve trees and reduce carbon emissions. Conway has expanded his beneficial stove program throughout Central America and Haiti, coordinating the building of 40,000 fuel-efficient stoves and directly improving the lives of more than 200,000 people.

The Shriver Award is given by NPCA each year to an RPCV who continues to make a sustained and distinguished contribution to humanitarian causes at home or abroad, or is an innovative social entrepreneur whose actions will bring about significant long-term change. The award is named after the tremendous contributions of the first Peace Corps Director, Sargent Shriver, in the founding and development of the Peace Corps.

“The innovative efforts of Stuart Conway help further the mission of the Peace Corps and help to bring attention to the enormous contributions Volunteers make during and after service at home and abroad,” adds Quigley. “We are pleased to recognize his efforts with this award.” Sargent Shriver’s son, Tim Shriver, will present the award to Stuart Conway on June 25, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

100% Replanted: Replant What You Use

100% Replanted is a unique program where you can calculate how many trees go into the wood and paper products you use each year, and then pledge to replant the trees you use. These trees are planted in and around the Magdalena Protected Area in El Salvador, where they will be safe from cutting. See the 100% Replanted website for all the details.

International Program Visits Projects in Central America and Haiti

Sebastian Africano hangs out with Haitian children in an IDP camp in Port-au-Prince

TWP’s Deputy International Director, Sebastian Africano, and International Program Consultant, Claudia Menendez, recently returned from a five week trip to Central America and Haiti.  The trip gave Sebastian and Claudia a chance to visit our development projects as well as connect with our partner organizations on the ground.  Highlights from each country include:

  • Our partner organization, AHDESA, in Honduras has built 3,419 fuel-efficient stoves in the first quarter of 2010!
  • TWP’s tree nursery in Tiquisate, Guatemala will produce 30,000 trees this year, providing shade and nourishment to families!
  • With funds from the Rio Tinto Prize, TWP and PROLEÑA will be developing a Forestry Training & Research Center for biomass energy in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua.
  • This year, our partner organization in El Salvador, Arboles y Agua para el Pueblo (AAP), will include soil conservation training for farmers, as well as reforestation activities and building 350 new Justa stoves.
  • With partner organization StoveTec, TWP has distributed 432 Rocket stoves to Internally Displaced People in Haiti and will be providing 1,344 more stoves in the next six months.

Interested in donating?  Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to Trees, Water & People’s International Program.  Stay tuned for more pictures and updates!

Claudia Menendez (top left) stands with the Ekip Recho (stove team) at IDP camp Delmas 33

Notes from the International Program’s Five Country Work Tour

Here is an update from Claudia Menendez, consultant to TWP’s International Program. Claudia and Sebastian Africano, TWP’s Deputy International Director, have been making their way through Central America, visiting with our partners in each country. After visiting Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Claudia and Sebastian will travel to Haiti to meet with program partners and distribute Rocket stoves to internally displaced Haitians.

“We began our work tour of TWP program countries on April 1st when we landed in Guatemala City. We traveled to Tiquisate with Leonel Jarquin, Mayor of Tiquisate and TWP`s partner in Guatemala. His team has been working on a stoves and trees program for 8 years making a difference with every stove built and tree planted. On the 4th we took the bus to the border of El Salvador, hopped on another one that took us to Sonsonate. The following day we met with Arboles y Agua para el Pueblo (AAP), TWP`s partner in El Porvenir, El Salvador. AAP had plenty to showcase including their nursery with 15 species, and a new prototype dry composting latrine that they hope will get the attention of local government as a sustainable latrine model to replace the current pit latrines that cause major soil contamination over time. Sebastian led a workshop on rocket stove design and principles where we did a hands on building of different size combustion chambers to demonstrate the fuel-efficiency of various sized chambers.

Sebastian Africano (right), TWP's Deputy International Director, at the AAP stove workshop

Currently we’re in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where the social and economic context is full of uncertainty as the nation tries to recover from the June 2009 coup d’etat. There was a peaceful march today organized by groups of campesinos (farmer’s associations) that are requesting a land reform, as well as by other grassroots movements like the Committee for Peace Action, a group of over 200 women, who struggle to gain justice, peace, and truth in Honduras through informal education and hands-on development like planting of kitchen gardens.

With all this happening around us it was very inspiring to see AHDESA, our partner in Honduras, growing as a non-profit and having a major impact on families social, economic and environmental health with the ecofogon and Justa stove programs. Since January they have built over 3,000 stoves making many families, especially the cooks, very happy people. It gives us hope to know that with a simple technology like a fuel-efficient stove we can make a difference to those people who need it most.

Next stop is Managua, Nicaragua!”

Participants at the AAP stove workshop gather for a photo in El Porvenir, El Salvador