August 20, 2008
I chose to work with blueEnergy because of their commitment to real, positive change over the long haul. blueEnergy provides sustainable electricity to rural populations that would otherwise rely entirely on candles and diesel generators, but they are dedicated to doing so in a manner that will remain viable for generations. This is achieved through a strong emphasis on education, training and local ownership. All of blueEnergy's wind turbines are manufactured by local residents in Bluefields, Nicaragua and installed in outlying communities with the support and integration of leading members of those communities. Each community nominates a community operator who receives hands-on training and is responsible for the upkeep of their community's energy system. As a result of this method and the history of blueEnergy as an organization, strong personal relationships are developed between community members and blueEnergy staff and volunteers while simultaneously empowering communities with ownership of their energy systems.
The volunteers in Bluefields work side by side in the workshop with local laborers and share experience, meals and friendships everyday. On trips to the communities, blueEnergy staff and volunteers are welcomed into individual homes and integrated into the fabric of the community for the duration of their stay.
The long standing relationships that have been established by local staff and long term volunteers in both the outlying communities and in Bluefields itself, have created a strong foundation of trust and respect for the organization. As a result, new volunteers are welcomed to the region with open arms and are able to immediately accomplish positive results that would take independent operators years to achieve.
For example, I was recently investigating the possibility of harvesting locally grown bamboo for use as a building material, but had no idea where to start. The director of blueEnergy Nicaragua suggested that I start by talking to an old family friend who had some experience working with bamboo. As soon as I met with him and explained my position within blueEnergy, he offered to give up his weekend and accompany me, at his own expense, to a bamboo cooperative located a few hours up the river. His willingness to do so was based entirely upon his previous positive experiences with blueEnergy and his trust in our ability to achieve lasting results.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the gratitude expressed by community members for simple services blueEnergy has provided that most people take for granted.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
having the opportunity to relate firsthand with the people we are working to help.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
each phenomenal in their own way.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
revolutionize energy use and provide sustainable alternatives to the current environmentally detrimental model of development throughout the Atlantic coast region of Nicaragua and beyond.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I am working on a new initiative to design and build a "Centro EcolÃƒÂ³gico Regional de CapacitaciÃƒÂ³n Ambiental" (CERCA) that will provide a functional example of sustainable construction techniques and energy systems for the Atlantic coast regi.