Sebastian Africano, Deputy International Director at Trees, Water & People (TWP), has been chosen to receive a $25,000 scholarship to the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™) at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. Mr. Africano is one of twenty social benefit entrepreneurs from around the world who have been chosen to receive full scholarships to participate in the GSBI™. The projects developed by participants will provide essential goods and services to the poor, and often act as catalysts for economic growth.
Sebastian’s project is based on TWP’s work in Haiti, where they have established that poor urban families spend between 40% – 60% of their $1/day (USD) income on cooking fuel and are consuming biomass resources at a rate much faster than they are replacing them. After 12 years of developing and disseminating locally appropriate cookstoves in the region, TWP has built the experience to balance fuel savings, durability, scalability, and value in a stove design for Haiti. Simple modifications to a popular, commercially available cookstove, when produced at scale in Port-au-Prince, will provide Haitians with a local solution that performs on par with expensive imported cookstoves, but at 30% – 50% of the cost.
The Global Social Benefit Incubator empowers socially-minded entrepreneurs to build sustainable, scalable organizations and to solve problems for people living in poverty around the world. This experiential skill-building program combines online and in-residence exercises with training and mentoring from academic leaders and Silicon Valley visionaries over an intensive 8-month period. This year, the in-residence program will take place on Santa Clara’s campus August 7-19, culminating with a business plan presentation on August 18, 2011.
To learn more about the GSBI please visit http://www.scu.edu/sts/gsbi/.
You can donate your holiday wish to any one of TWP’s Facebook Causes, and help us bring light to people’s lives this holiday season. Visit one of our causes below or click here to help us fundraise!
Trees, Water & People’s Causes:
TWP partners with AMURT in Haiti…we loved this video so much we had to share it! Enjoy.
Sebastian Africano, TWP’s Deputy International Director, writes about his most recent trip to Haiti:
I’d call on everybody to keep their eyes and thoughts on Haiti in the coming weeks, and to think of ways forward as the country prepares itself for the era that will see them either emerge as a functional democracy, or remain buried mentally and physically in the rubble of the past several decades.
This quote from a recent NY Times Editorial (Nov. 30, 2010) titled “Haiti After the Vote,” describes the recent presidential elections and speaks to many of the challenges facing the incoming government (whomever that may be):
“Eleven months after the devastating earthquake, more than a million people are still displaced. The country is also struggling to contain a cholera epidemic. The new government will have to clear the many roadblocks that have slowed the rebuilding effort. And it will have to tackle a host of other reforms: modernizing the electoral system and constitution; unclogging bureaucracies and legal requirements that stifle business and investment; overhauling cruel and ineffective courts and prisons.”
I would add one point to the above list of challenges that face the incoming Haitian government – and would, after 6 years of working in Central America and the Caribbean, extend this critique to all the countries in the region. My thoughts stem from a trip I took a week before the elections, from the rural, arid northwest of Haiti back to the capital, during which we crossed paths with a convoy of at least 10 UN amphibious tanks & trucks, armed to the teeth, presumably heading to Cap Haitien.
We were in Cap Haitien until four days prior, and got out just before people started rioting against the UN based on the allegation that the current cholera strain was brought in by their troops, from abroad.
I knew that whatever was going on that week would pale to the chaos brought on by a general election between 18 candidates, and the after effects of this contest, that are sure to continue over several weeks.
So amidst the accusations of electoral fraud, stalling on durable solutions in the reconstruction, UN irresponsibility and an intensely dangerous cholera epidemic with dubious origins, lies an issue which receives relatively little attention, but which will be instrumental in creating a prosperous Haitian society, if there were ever to be one. The origins of the cholera that has currently has Haiti over a barrel are secondary when you ignore the factors that have allowed it to proliferate – an abysmal disregard for sanitation and hygiene throughout the country, and no waste management systems that would provide an alternative to current practice. In truth, nobody should be pointing fingers when there are crises like this afoot, but I look at the situation more objectively.
If the earthquake had never happened, Haitians would still be living among open sewers, defecating in waterways and throwing Styrofoam and plastic into clogged drainage channels, with no concern for the consequences… and the world would be perfectly content to ignore it. The cholera may have been brought from abroad, but I’m sure the conditions for its proliferation have been ripe for decades, as they are in many developing-world cities.
I see epidemics like these as eventually inevitable, given the conditions, and this outbreak in Haiti should catalyze a serious global conversation on waste, the burden of responsibility that exists upon both the producers and consumers of things that become waste, and most importantly human waste.
We “first-worlders” are subject to this scrutiny as well, as we find it more than acceptable to ignore the destination of our disposables, and are more than comfortable sullying perfectly potable water (an increasingly scarce commodity) on a daily basis. But until we feel just as comfortable discussing the matter as we do flushing and throwing things “away”, we’ll keep running into epidemics such as this one, and perhaps even worse ones that come from the burning, burying and floating of non-biodegradable and chemical waste into the world’s sinks.
As cholera in Haiti, the recent petroleum disaster in the Gulf, the recent toxic spills in Hungary and so many other environmental disasters have shown us, we reap what we sow, folks. It’s time we face the fact that we have to learn to manage what we consume, where it comes from, and most importantly recognize what that consumption leaves behind. Let’s make the effort to reduce our share of non-biodegradable products in the waste-stream, and to make this a topic of conversation among families and friends as Haiti turns the page and begins this hopeful new era.
Haiti faces many challenges, the latest of which is a cholera outbreak that has already taken the lives of hundreds of Haitians.
Please don’t forget about our Haitian friends. They are still suffering, struggling to rebuild their country after the devastating earthquake in January. Click here to learn how you can help bring fuel-efficient cookstoves to Haiti.
Today I embark on a 6-week trip to Central America and Haiti to visit the international programs of Trees, Water & People (TWP). November 5-18, I will be in Haiti and below are a few key activities on my itinerary:
- Arrive in Port-au-Prince and conduct analysis of Rocket stove distribution and monitoring of 7,000 household stoves with our partner, International Lifeline Fund (ILF).
- Discuss next steps for the development of a comprehensive National Stove Strategy for institutional and household stoves in Haiti.
- Visit original beneficiary families of TWP emergency relief stoves in Sineas Camp, Port-au-Prince.
- Visit new beneficiary families in Corail and Isa Tabare.
- Participate in United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) meeting to develop the National Improved Stove strategy in conjunction with the Haitian Government (TWP has an advisory role to the working group).
- Visit beneficiaries of TWP’s stove project in the Central Plateau of Haiti, as well as reconnect with the MPP – a rural peoples movement that is very interested in promoting fuel-efficient stoves to their 61,000 members. They have an abandoned ceramics facility that could become the foundation of a new local stove factory.
- Visit northern Haiti to assess the access to raw materials for stove building through ports and overland crossings from the Dominican Republic.
If you are interested in sending stoves to Haiti, click here. Our Haitian friends need our continued support during these difficult times.
Donate to TWP’s 1,344 Stoves for Haitians Displaced by Earthquake project featured on GlobalGiving.org between October 12-21 and your donation will be matched up to 50%. Now’s the perfect time to make your year-end gift go even further!Matching Scale $10 – $499 = 30% match $500 – $999 = 40% match $1,000 – $2,500 = 50% match
Why give to this project?? It has been 10 months since the devastating 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti and hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still struggling to survive in temporary Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. Having lost everything, earthquake victims are in desperate need of basic necessities. This project will provide fuel-efficient Rocket stoves to 1,344 Haitian families in IDP camps so that women may cook their family’s food safely and boil water for drinking.
Hurry to make your donations before the matching funds are gone!!
A surprising number of organizations with Colorado roots are working in Haiti to offer earthquake relief and improve the lives of the Haitian people. Six of those organizations will participate in a panel discussion at the EventGallery 910Arts, at 910 Santa Fe Drive in Denver, on Saturday, September 25, from 3 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Colorado Haiti Project; Lespwa Haiti; Renewal 4 Haiti; The Lambi Fund of Haiti; Trees, Water & People; and Wish 4 Haiti are represented on a panel designed to introduce Colorado organizations working in Haiti, bring awareness to their efforts and invite the public to get involved. This will be the kick-off event for an exhibition of Haitian art and culture scheduled in the EventGallery 910Arts for summer 2011.
A discussion of how earthquake relief work transitions into rebuilding in Haiti and creation of the model for long term sustainability is led by Paul Casey, Executive Director of Colorado Haiti Project; photographers Colby Brown and Ray Tollison from Lespwa Haiti; Jodel Charles, Haitian immigrant and founder of Renewal 4 Haiti; Godson Beaugelin, Community Outreach Coordinator of The Lambi Fund of Haiti; Sebastian Africano, Deputy International Director, and Claudia Menendez, International Program Consultant, from Trees, Water & People; and Leslie Christensen from Wish 4 Haiti. The panel will be moderated by Melissa Basta, a Peace Corp volunteer who has worked in Haiti. And, the Colorado Committee on Africa and the Caribbean is a co-sponsor of the event.
Committed to demonstrating how art can inspire change, the EventGallery 910Arts is a gallery space that often offers exhibitions with a social or environmental message. Located in the heart of Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, the EventGallery 910Arts and Gallery Gifts are housed within the creative community known as 910Arts. It is a complex of 17 artists’ studios and galleries, 8 live-work lofts and the Studio 6 Coffee House, anchored by a colorful open-air courtyard. The EventGallery 910Arts is a venue for meetings, parties, workshops and retreats and it hosts music, literary and film events. For more information, please visit www.910Arts.com.