El Fuego del Sol GeoTourism Alliance in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Project

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Go to Project: El Fuego del Sol GeoTourism Alliance in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

A strong network of NGOs, grass-roots organizations, corporations and individuals working together to engage international Caribbean island tourism to facilitate:

• Improving and protecting social and ecological environments,
• Introducing renewable energy solutions,
• Propagating Fair Trade products / services,
• Celebrating the rich historical cultural splendor of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

About You

Organization: El Fuego del Sol Visit websitemore ↓↑ hide↑ hide

Section 1: About You

First Name

Kevin

Last Name

Adair

Organization

El Fuego del Sol

Country

Dominican Republic, PD

Section 2: About Your Organization

Organization Name

El Fuego del Sol

Organization Website

Organization Phone

312-925-1626 or 809-710-5381

Organization Address

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Is your organization a

For‐profit

Organization Country

Dominican Republic, AL

Your idea

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Name Your Project

El Fuego del Sol GeoTourism Alliance in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Country your work focuses on

Dominican Republic, PD

Describe Your Idea

A strong network of NGOs, grass-roots organizations, corporations and individuals working together to engage international Caribbean island tourism to facilitate:
• Improving and protecting social and ecological environments,
• Introducing renewable energy solutions,
• Propagating Fair Trade products / services,
• Celebrating the rich historical cultural splendor of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?

Yes

Innovation

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What makes your idea unique and innovative?

El Fuego del Sol (EFdS) S.R.L. is a Dominican Triple-Bottom-Line LLC, owned and organized by Americans, Dominicans and Haitians. EFdS has worked for over 5 years on the Island of Hispaniola and was founded on the charter of: financial sustainability while working to benefit society and the environment. The three bottom lines are: people, planet and profit.
With a gradually growing profit over the past 3 years, EFdS actively reaches out to established NGOs to help them accomplish their goals more effectively. EFdS created the Sun Oven Donation Program with the Dominican NGO, Grupo Jaragua (GJ) and local grass-roots organizations in some of the poorest areas of the Dominican Republic (DR) and in Haiti. EFdS and GJ work to generate international interest in the program which has led to financial support from NGOs in the US and Spain. GJ purchases Sun Ovens from EFdS, manufactured in our DR factory following Fair Trade standards. GJ uses the Sun Ovens to cook food for their staff and volunteers in their community centers. GJ also offers innovative ways for local residents to purchase discounted Sun Ovens and for those without money to earn their own Sun Ovens through community service hours with GJ. This program is detailed in the whitepaper available in pdf at www.elfugeodelsol.com. After working together since 2007, in September 2009 EFdS and GJ signed a legal operating agreement creating a true Hybrid Network (corporations and NGOs working together for mutual goals). The concepts of Triple-Bottom-Line Business and Hybrid Networks were unheard of in the DR, and they are the subject of innovative study programs in Universities internationally.
EFdS also creates GeoTourism trips with Grupo CONACADO in the DR and Global Exchange in the US to promote Fair Trade Chocolate programs. EFdS works with several additional NGOs, corporations, and in consultation with the DR and US governments. The Alliance continues to grow.
[Re. Below: The Sun Oven has Patented Technology.]

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Yes

Impact

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What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

Since 2005, EFdS has pioneered GeoTourism in the DR and Haiti. Our tours feature CONACADO Fair Trade Chocolate and the beautiful environmentally threatened DR/Haiti Frontier. Our Sun Oven Distribution Program has introduced new technology to address woodfire cooking leading to deforestation. EFdS co-sponsors trips with the US NGO, Global Exchange.
Olga, a local client from Oviedo, DR, is a community leader and active in a local women’s group. For years, Olga earned money by baking and selling cakes (“Bizcocho”). She used the ovens at her church, but it was difficult to buy propane and the cake ingredients. After learning the Sun Oven cooking process from GJ staff, Olga became the top Solar Chef in the GJ Community Center. Now she leads volunteers cooking for the staff and community every sunny day. After the noon meal, Olga uses the Sun Ovens to bake Bizcocho and achieve more profit, since she now only needs to buy the ingredients. Olga has now earned her own Sun Oven, and she is paid to travel with GJ staff to neighboring towns to teach Sun Oven cooking to community leaders there. The key in each community is to enlist the help of an influential local leader to demonstrate by example the benefits of solar cooking.
EFdS provides reasonably priced, sustainable trips featuring local history, culture, waterways, ecology, cuisine and the Sun Oven program. Visitors enjoy a unique experience in a beautiful part of the world that is only a two hour flight from Miami.

Problem

Trees are being destroyed in the Dominican Republic faster than they are being replanted. The government has offered propane at subsidized prices, but low income families still primarily rely on wood / charcoal that they scrounge. Trees on protected land in the DR are being smoked into charcoal which is then smuggled into Haiti. The DR has one of the largest divides between the wealthy and those in poverty in the Western Hemisphere, and Haiti is dramatically worse in this regard. The Chicago Tribune rated the DR as the number one tourist destination in the Caribbean, but the vast majority of the 4.5 million visitors to the DR do not leave the resort zones of the island. Few realize that the DR has over 500 years of cultural heritage, over 12,000,000 people and is larger than many northeastern states. Blog sites indicate that tourists are seeking to help Dominican people but they are unsure how they can benefit the locals. Many Dominicans pay little attention to their own diverse heritage. Profit is key in the DR. Once cultural programming is shown to be profitable, it is likely to catch on as it has in other destinations. Litter is also a huge problem, affecting land and waterways.

Actions

EFdS Project Development Process:
1. Identify specific issues in the local community that could be improved through the introduction of new technologies.
2. Research ecological solutions with a proven record of improving lives elsewhere in the world.
3. Communicate with local citizens of the DR and Haiti to see if the innovation we have found could bring an improvement to their daily lives that residents actually want. -This step is often skipped by developmental efforts.
4. Evaluate similar technologies to choose the best model for the community (Not necessarily the cheapest.)
5. Research, design and adapt the introduction / adoption process through input from community leaders and potential clients. This step includes facilitating how the process will be financed.
6. Create as many Fair Trade jobs and incorporate as much locally sourced materials as possible.
7. Start with a pilot project and scale project size up when resources allow.
8. Invite international travelers to join us in the implementation as we celebrate the location, waterways, culture, history and cuisine.
9. Follow the concepts of the Development Assistance Pledge throughout the process. elfuegodelsol.com

Results

EFdS is working to scale-up the successful combination of carefully introducing ecological technologies to address specific development issues and incorporating international tourism as a driving financial engine for this process. The mutual benefit to our Dominican and Haitian clients as well as to our international visiting clients is also expected to continue and to grow as more technologies are introduced, more clients are contacted, and more international attention is generated by our programs.
EFdS continues to pilot new programs, including micro-lending and additional ecological products to complement the Sun Oven. The key to continued results is to grow each program so it can be self-sufficient and financially sustainable. The solution must be sufficiently dramatic in it’s growing success in order to engage the key people and resources for each program to be sustained. Additional desired results include providing clients with more of the basics of life, including: safe, secure, comfortable housing; energy efficient municipal lighting; and an integrated plan, compatible with the Sun Oven program, to provide cooking options at all hours and in all weather conditions.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The DR and Haiti have the perfect climate for a wide range of renewable energy technologies. However, there is little renewable energy on the island. Yet when innovations prove to be convenient and financially beneficial, the percentage of adoption of the innovation can be much higher than in the US. More than half of the gasoline burning cars in the DR have been flex-fuel converted to run on propane as well. This conversion voids the cars’ warrantees, but since propane is government-subsidized, propane cost per gallon equivalent is less than half the cost of gasoline. No ecological innovation in the US could expect a 50% or higher adoption rate, but in the DR, if the innovation can be proven to save money, huge rates of adoption can be achieved quickly.

A catastrophic problem now in Haiti is the lack of housing and building materials. EFdS is now engaging our Project Developmental Process (described above) to address this issue.

In early 2011 we are preparing a major product introduction of ecological building materials. We are working with a Santo Domingo design firm to build the most ecological elementary school for the introduction of our building materials system. Throughout the year as our new building materials factory expands production, we will dedicate 10-20% of our production for cost-plus housing for Haiti. We are also finalizing our partnership with a US NGO to provide tax advantages to US citizens who support the Sun Oven Donation Program. April 27 – May 8 will be the next Fair Trade Chocolate Lovers Tour with Global Exchange. The plan for 2012, 2013 and beyond is the continued development and expansion of the programs and the Alliance.

Hispaniola has the most rivers of any island in the Caribbean. The DR also has amazing water formations such as the Oviedo lagoon with over five times the salt and sulfur content of sea water. In our travel options, EFdS combines the exploration of the benefits of new technology, connection with history and culture and the exploration of the DR’s water features including rivers, lagoons and the sea.

The more success and attention our technology innovations generate, the more international travelers will join us on our muti-faceted adventures. Success leads to more success, the more effective our innovative technology introductions and adoption, the more visitors and partners we may expect.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Each person who learns to cook in a Dominican-built Sun Oven and then works to earn their own through our program is a huge success. Every person who works in the DR at a job of Fair Trade job quality producing one of our Sun Ovens or working with Grupo Jaragua for their distribution, introduction and adoption is a success. Every international visitor who enjoys one of our tours or volunteers for one of our programs is a success. We have every reason to believe our successes will continue. We have sufficient people involved in our current programs especially with the dedication and innovations provided by our partners at Grupo Jaragua.

The problems we face have little chance of abating without the dedication of many people providing many additional programs, and all of our programs are designed to scale up and be replicated in other regions of the world.

The issues are really better considered as obstacles or challenges, rather than barriers to success. These are some of the obstacles and challenges. There are always people who will resist considering new improvements out of some loyalty to the way things are. These people are in all cultures and in all positions of influence. Some challenges are provided by people who want to help, but are so focused on enlightening others that they resist listening to ways that their approach can be improved. The strongest obstacles are provided by those who are paid by the status quo and are worried that they will lose money personally by ideas and efforts that will help society and the planet.

The key requirements to address these obstacles and challenges are flexibility, adaptation and tenacity.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?

Yes

Sustainability

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

In what country?

Dominican Republic, PD

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

EFdS is independent, but we are happy to work with everyone who shares our dedication to society and the environment.

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

As our Alliance grows, it brings more success and exposure to the project. Our latest partner who is not directly connected monetarily to EFdS, is the DC based NGO, Solar Household Energy (www.SHE-inc.org). SHE has agreed to assist in supporting the Sun Oven Donation Program through Grupo Jaragua. GJ is a Dominican NGO, so Americans cannot receive tax benefits when they support GJ directly. However SHE has a formal relationship with GJ, can accept donations from USA donors, and use that financial support to help provide solar cookers to impoverished Dominican and Haitian families (because of SHE’s 501(C)(3) status, contributions to the organization may be tax deductible for Americans). The donor could even be visiting GJ in the DR: Their donation to SHE could be made online, and SHE could then coordinate for GJ to deliver the Sun Oven, and a local Dominican Family could receive it. Everyone benefits!

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Continued Development
We hope to grow to have NGOs from dozens of countries involved and ready to facilitate citizens of those countries in donating Sun Ovens to DR and Haitian families. Volunteers are also welcome, including Geotravelers and Geo-telecommuters. We could use help expanding our web presence. Recent volunteers at the GJ Community Center in Oviedo continued the expansion of the Sun Oven program, including participation in a DR-Haiti ecotourism fair. The key to success is to grow our Hybrid Network of businesses, NGOs, individuals, government organizations, and educational institutions.
Scaling up
We have demonstrated the EFdS Project Development process with the Sun Oven, and the infrastructure is set for larger implementation and additional ecological product introduction. Next is the creation of EFdS Center for Ecological Employment Education. The CEEE will be located in Pedernales, DR where both Dominicans and Haitians will be able to participate through a Sister-City process with Anse-au-Pitre, Haiti. The Pedernales location benefits from DR government programs to encourage business in the border region. Employment training will be offered and income will be generated through the manufacture of ecological products that will benefit the local community and beyond.
It is the charter of EFdS to help NGOs better achieve their goals and work better with other NGOs in their region. Resources in every developmental project are tight. The staff and volunteers of an NGO need to be 100% focused on achieving their goals. As a Geotourism company, our international travel clients are paying EFdS to be aware of all the NGO projects in our target region. As we continue to expand, EFdS will be able to help more NGOs work together in areas of transportation and other coordinated programs.
International Education Network
The Sun Oven Curriculum, developed by the Miami Country Day School, is available in English, Spanish and French for schools around the world. It includes the disciplines of: Science, Creativity, Global Climate, Conservation, Nutrition, Alternative Energy, Culinary Arts, Geography, Web Skills, Design, Engineering, Manufacturing, Comparative Cultures, Advertising and Marketing.
We are also interested in working with institutes of higher education worldwide to provide educational opportunities and accredited internships to many students

The Story

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What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

AAfter years of touring the US, promoting ecological development, performing shows, and giving business presentations, Kevin Adair received the dream call: to perform for 4 tropical resorts in the Dominican Republic. The job was great-- only 4 nights a week! He lived as a guest in the ultra-luxurious resorts. But he found that he couldn’t just sit by the beach all day. He felt the call to do something constructive, ecological and beneficial.

Kevin saw extensive poverty on the ride between resorts: miles of concrete and zinc roofs baking in the sun, but no alternative energy. He decided to build and distribute Sun Ovens which cook delicious food by the power of the sun. He envisioned El Fuego del Sol, a GeoTourism destination, offering ecological development, socially conscious tours across the country, voluntourism and Fair Trade jobs.

Kevin befriended a young man working as a taxi-driver. The friend brought Kevin to his home to meet his family. Kevin enjoyed real Dominican food that tasted better than any resort food. Together they visited many available properties in the region. Kevin decided on a large former motel, close to where his new friend grew up. The property was sprawling and beautiful with fruit trees and many native plants growing inside the surrounding walls. It had been closed for 10 years. Turning the old motel into our GeoTourism ranch would be a recycling act in itself. We have transformed the property into an ecological garden, horse ranch, and event center with guest cabins and camping. Our ecovillage ranch is now under development and renovation, and we have expanded our scope to be providing tours throughout the DR. We are working to help the DR become a GeoTourism and eco-industry leader, not just a bargain place to visit the beach.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Kevin Adair, Founder and President of Fuego del Sol has over 20 years experience in the tourism/service sector including event design coordination and management. Kevin has developed events for hotels, restaurants, resorts and cruise ships around the world including Jamaica, Germany, Mexico and thousands of events in the United States. He has produced, created, developed, and presented corporate events and presentations for companies including Hyatt Hotels, Dolphin Cruise Lines, Chicago’s Mayors Office of Special Events, and Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. Kevin’s corporate presentations have appeared on NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s Good Morning America. Since 1993 Kevin has owned, developed, promoted and sold 11 real estate property projects in the United States. Kevin has also been working to improve environmental and social conditions throughout his life. Since 2005 Kevin has lived in the Dominican Republic working in the hotel and environment sectors. Kevin graduated Cum Laude in Theater and Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Warren M. Hineline, Corporate Treasurer, is retired from 35 years of service as a product technical specialist for electrical conductivity device manufacturer Hubbell Incorporated. Mr. Hineline has been a long time financial supporter of key environmental NGOs including: The Nature Conservancy, The Audubon Society, The Sierra Club, Earth Justice, The Union of Concerned Scientists and The National Parks Conservation Association. Warren has also volunteered for numerous social service organizations including: Meals on Wheels, and The DuPage Inter-generational Village where he served as Secretary/Treasurer for 8 years. Warren’s long-term dedication to environmental protection has brought him to help found Fuego del Sol S.L.R. with the goal of affecting substantial environmental change one community at a time.

Elvin Mejia Grullon, began his relationship with EFdS as a client. He is now our factory’s General Manager. He has worked in the tourism sector of Bavaro - Punta Cana since 2001 for prominent companies such as VIP Tours, Tourinter, Club Caribe, and Nexus. Elvin is fluent in Spanish, English, and French and he has been a solid member of the Fuego del Sol corporate team since the company’s inception in 2005. Elvin has worked as Tourism and Outreach Manager for the EFdS project and Recycling Director for the waste management project. Currently Elvin oversees all aspects of Fuego del Sol operations including employee relations, program development, and tour operator coordination.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

Clinton Global Initiative and Xigi

MIF Opportunity 2010

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Has your organization been legally constituted or registered in your country or one of your target countries for at least three years?

Yes

Does the applicant organization have sufficient financial resources to guarantee the co-financing required by MIF during the execution period of the project? (This amounts to at least 50% of the project’s total budget with 25% in cash and 25% in-kind.)

Yes

Does the applicant organization have experience managing projects co-financed by international organizations? Please describe below

Yes. The Sun Oven Donation Program has received funding from several US NGOs and from additional European NGOs through our project partners, Grupo Jaragua.

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

Enterprise/Profit corporation

What problem-area does your project address?

Access to markets.

How will your project address this problem?

Financing from the IDB would facilitate our project’s expansion to develop the Center of Educational Employment in Pedernales. At the EEC we will create a small factory and training center. Pedernales is in the Border Region Industrial Zone which was established by the DR government to encourage business in the area. We can move our Sun Oven factory to this location and also assemble solar panels, Bio-Briquette stoves, Bio-Briquette presses, three wheeled delivery bikes, ecological building construction panels, and other easily sellable ecological items. The center will create an income base for the region and provide training for local residents in key employment skills. Pedernales is under a Sister-Cities agreement with the neighboring Haitian city of Anse-au-Pitre. Both Dominicans and Haitians will be able to work and learn on a daily basis at the EEC. Initial training will be in the construction and manufacturing skills required for the products’ construction, but when proceeds and/or partnerships allow, the center’s curriculum can be expanded to include computer training, languages (including Spanish literacy training), administrative assistant skills and basic accounting. The EEC will also provide an entrepreneurial incubator program in conjunction with the Techological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) and the DR government’s ProIndustria PyME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) program. This location will be a prime Sun Oven distribution center and will bring additional visitors to the Pedernales eco-hotel, Hostal Dona Chava.

Who is benefited by the initiative? (Please highlight the type and number of beneficiaries, and their role in the tourism value-chain.)

The region where the Sun Oven Distribution Program is located is the poorest in the DR and one where Dominicans and Haitians live and work closely together. The current Cholera tragedy has limited Haitian access to the Dominican side, but in the region is generally considered relatively free of conflict between the two nationalities. With Grupo Jaragua, EFdS has connected with local community organizations including local women’s groups and youth groups. The success story of Olga is highlighted above. The same successful model of engaging local leaders to introduce new technologies will continue and scale up dramatically with additional international support and exposure. The DR government has designated the Southwest as the next region for major tourism development. Expanding the EFdS presence in the region at this crucial time can add additional support to the local initiative to develop this region with the local residents and the ecology truly considered. Greenwashing has become common in the DR. It is time for a beefed-up activist ecological triple-bottom-line Hybrid-Network Geotourism in the Dominican Southwest, right now. The entire region of hundred of thousands of residents can be assisted, not to mention, additional locally based protection of one of the most jeopardized forests in the hemisphere.

How will the project's results assist the region’s tourism sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises?

Many regions of the DR have plenty of educational options and significant tourism income. The Dominican Southwest has few advantages in either category. The region also is in desperate need of job creation. Our entire program will focus on encouraging entrepreneur efforts, introducing ecological technology, sharing the glorious waterways and forests with international visitors, involving local leaders and grass-roots organizations. One place where Geotourists could make immediate ecological improvements is that there are large areas of land that were strip-mined 50 years ago for aluminum oxide. They have never been reseeded. Geotourists will be able to visit our training center, assist in Sun Oven distribution, see unique geological features and wildlife, and then literally get their hands dirty planting new indigenous trees. Geotourism at its best, and a real chance for local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

A. Total Budget (100%)

US$825,000

B. MIF Contribution (up to 50% of total budget and US$. 500.000 max)

US$200,000

C. Cash co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)

US$125,000

D. In kind co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)

US$500,000

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191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair said: Here is the link to many of the comments from the 2009 competition: http://www.changemakers.com/node/20392 We will be happy to ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
191 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
192 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.
192 weeks ago Kevin Adair updated this Competition Entry.