Ecological Arts and Media Center, Dominican Republic and Haiti

This Entry has been submitted.

Ecological Arts and Media Center, Dominican Republic and Haiti

Haiti
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ecological and creative development innovations for the DR and Haiti that are chosen and introduced by local community leaders.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

International attention following the earthquake has come and now waned. Organizations dedicated to Haiti’s long-term development have seen resources go toward rescue efforts, but little has changed in the lives of millions of Haitian families who still have few job prospects or reasons for hope. Haiti is less than a two hour flight from Miami. Haiti is located on what can once again be, for Haitian people, a lush tropical island where all their needs can be locally sustainably supplied. Haiti can grow to be an international example for international sustainability. If Haiti can be assisted toward its own ability to thrive, the results will be wonderfully plentiful jobs in Haiti, a dramatic increase in the standard of living for families in the Dominican Republic, and a strong growth in related jobs in the USA too. Global media is reaching Haiti now. Technologies are being quickly adopted. Now everyone wants a smartphone. It is time to let the local people share their own stories. But locally produced content is scarce on both sides of the DR / Haiti border. Schools don’t even have books or pencils when the students crave media. The world needs to see their first hand stories too.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Eco Arts and Media Center is scheduled to open in January, 2012, serving the sister cities of Pedernales, DR and Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti. Plans call for local production of arts products from local and recycled materials, including concrete from Port-au-Prince and the discarded fabrics from the local clothing distribution centers. Assistance from this competition will allow us to expand the center to provide the community with video editing, production and upload facilities, along with training on the equipment. Once training is completed by a member of the local community, they will be designated as a certified producer and eligible to check out one of the media center’s cameras. Local residents with their own video recording device will also be able to edit and upload in our production studio. Completed videos can be uploaded to Google Video to share with the world. Current plans also include the introduction of the Sun Oven Curriculum into the local schools on both sides of the border. Our facility will allow for the video conferencing portion of the curriculum to go live, as is displayed in the video featuring Rowena Gerber. Facility equipment will also be able to be used by local schools on a rotating basis to introduce media accessibility and skills to local students. This specific region has many reasons for resources to be deployed to local residents. Little of the island’s tourism financial benefit reaches the area. The sister cities are one of the best success stories of Dominicans and Haitians working together with much less conflict than in other areas.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

As displayed in the video, featuring the work of Rowena Gerber in the Miami Country Day School produced by the Hero Project, the information technology and media elements of our Sun Oven Curriculum provide crucial connection for the local community, to other solar cooking projects around the planet and to the greater global community. The staff of FdS has also been producing informational videos about the project since 2006. With the advent of the Media Center, our website’s videos at www.elfuegodelsol.com will be expanded to include the work of local community members. This site will be cross promoted with www.HaitianHands.com and future pages dedicated especially to work produced in each local community. The work of FdS to introduce Sun Ovens and other ecological technologies, including ceramic water filters (please see photos) and ecological building materials: https://www.changemakers.com/sustainableurbanhousing/entries/el-fuego-del-sol-structural-steel-insulated-panels-and is based on our direct connections with local grass-roots community organizations as well as NGOs active in the border region. These same organizations will be directly empowered by the new media center. Partnerships and innovation are two cornerstones of the FdS network. US Citizens may now make tax-deductible donations of Sun Ovens to families in the DR and Haiti through our US partner, Solar Household Energy (SHE-Inc.) The joining of forces of so many dedicated organizations will be celebrated and promoted. Thus, more key organizations will know of our work and be encouraged to join as well.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Haiti’s ecological development has a direct competitor which has emerged. The US government is being actively lobbied by petroleum related organizations to subsidize the introduction of LPG (propane) gas as a cooking alternative in Haiti. While LPG is generally a more ecological cooking option than traditional charcoal cooking, the lack of LPG infrastructure in Haiti, the poor road conditions in most of the country, and the fact that all LPG must be imported into Haiti, with no prospect for domestic production in the foreseeable future, makes LPG an expensive, heavily polluting, invasive, counter-productive technology introduction. The LPG industry has every right to promote itself in Haiti, and LPG has a role in larger cities as one aspect of the multiple-technology solution. However, the technology, the gas and its infrastructure should not be subsidized by the US or Haitian government as an attempted solution for deforestation or any other systemic problem. Local and sustainable programs must be developed and encouraged. Details are displayed at: https://sites.google.com/a/elfuegodelsol.com/elfuego/big_oil Domestic ecology will benefit from the visibility of the Media Center.
About You
Organization:
El Fuego del Sol
About You
First Name

Kevin

Last Name

Adair

Twitter URL
Facebook URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

El Fuego del Sol

Organization Country

, PD

Country where this project is creating social impact

, SE

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Established (you've got demonstrated success)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

Kevin Adair has been environmentally active and created companies for 25 years. He came to the DR in 2005 to work for resorts, but soon realized his calling was to work with the people and the island’s vast ecological resources. Kevin developed FdS GeoTourism EcoVillage, hosting tourists, volunteers, and the Sun Oven factory. In 2007, FdS partnered with DR NGO Grupo Jaragua (GJ) for outreach into Haiti. FdS customizes trips anywhere on the island.

Efforts to introduce solar cooking internationally have been hobbled by inferior technology. Solar advocates have favored cheap solar cookers under the concept that local families could not afford the more effective Sun Oven technology. However, family cooks can’t wait hours to boil a cup of water, and cheap solar cookers can easily be destroyed in the rain. Kevin empirically and market-based tested all commercially available solar cookers. Results indicated that the Sun Oven is the only viable solar cooking product worth promoting. The Sun Oven is a durable solar cooking appliance with reasonable cooking times for large volumes of food. Using a Sun Oven offsets over one ton of carbon per year; the unit can last for over 20 years.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

FdS has partnered with US NGO, SHE-Inc. and the GJ program. US citizens can make tax deductible donations to support the Sun Oven distribution / adoption program, and thus offset their own carbon footprint. Everyone directly benefits from their participation. FdS manufactured 400 Sun Ovens in the DR, following Fair Trade job standards, and over 180 of them were distributed through NGOs in the DR, Haiti and Africa. Most importantly, our methodology, initiated with GJ, has created great demand for Sun Ovens in the DR and Haiti and is immediately ready for scaling throughout Haiti and the border region of the DR. We are generating statistically significant data and now embarking on CDM certification through the Gold Standard Methodology. This solar cooking intervention is one of the most successful on record and one of the few to demonstrate success among families who live in their own homes, not solely for families who are displaced through tragedy. The success is directly attributable to the local community leaders actively embracing the ecological technology. The same local leaders, especially the youth leaders, will be empowered to share their stories through the Media Center.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

In 5 years we plan to introduce 10,000 Sun Ovens. This could be expanded with international attention and support. The FdS initiative introduced the concept that each Sun Oven in use has more stakeholders than just one family. Individuals who donate Sun Ovens benefit by supporting a verifiable ecological initiative. CDM carbon trading can reduce the price of Sun Ovens so more units can be introduced for the same donation. If an aluminum manufacturer joined our network to donate anodized aluminum, costs would reduce further. Our entire project is designed for scalability and replication. The key is for local leaders to embrace the skills and advantages of solar cooking with a quality solar cooking appliance, and for those leaders to in turn introduce the technology to their community.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Open expanded Pedernales / Anse-a-Pitre Location

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Initiate and progress with the Gold Standard Methodology project certification process

Task 2

Complete site selection process and commence with moving of our headquarters

Task 3

Plan and coordinate our Fall / Winter funding drive

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Ecological Arts and Media Center Grand Opening

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Complete Gold Standard application process and receive CDM certification

Task 2

Complete our move to new location and start video / website training program

Task 3

Facilitate the delivery of 1000 more Sun Ovens

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001 - 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Hybrid model

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

When we began the project in 2005 we were amazed at the lack of development services and financing options available for ecological and social developmental projects in the DR / Haiti. So, we developed methods to maintain and grow our program related income so our project has been profitable for the past three years. We see two possible future paths: Either we will continue to be solely self sustaining gradually adding partners as we go, or we will find one or more major developmental partners who recognize the dramatic potential benefit of working together with the project we have started. Our program is immediately ready to scale up and assist in the DR and Haiti becoming energy independent. Once these small countries prove it possible, the US will feel greater pressure to follow suit.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

More and more local residents will have video recording / video streaming functions on their own devices. Our Media Center will help the residents access more of the capabilities that their devices offer. We will provide editing / upload services, and community based contests and screenings which encourage residents of all ages toward digital representation. We will expand our video conferencing accessibility to give local students a greater scope of the benefits of ecological development including reforestation, solar cooking and other renewable fuels.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

All the connections that we have made through our Sun Oven and GeoTourism corporate development, including all of our partnerships and government connections, are exactly the contacts that we will need for each compatible product and service that we add to our company's offerings.

FdS projects are diligently documented with the goal of replication and scalability, e.g., our Whitepaper at elFuegodelSol.com. Our factory has produced 400 Sun Ovens and nearly 200 of them have been distributed. Our top solar chef is Olga who is a community leader and a baker in Oviedo. Olga used to bake cakes in the kitchen of her church, but she needed to pay for propane plus the ingredients. Now, she coordinates cooking in the Sun Ovens at the GJ Community Center at noon, and uses the Sun Ovens in the afternoons to bake cakes to sell for her business. Olga is now on staff and travels to train leaders in other communities. Olga is featured in the first video.

Our building materials business is detailed at changemakers.com/node/99579. For our design of an efficient basic housing unit, we have included the designs and suggestions of local Dominicans and Haitians for a small comfortable home. Our design can be implemented in an initial temporary configuration in a camp setting (with separate camp-kitchens, latrines and showers) then each of our 320sf homes can temporarily house two families. When space and finances allow, additional homes can be provided and the existing 320 sf homes can be converted for permanent use for one family. Or the home can be relocated for permanent installation. The same unit can be assembled into single homes, duplexes, quads, or multi-story buildings up to 4 stories high. The Sun Oven program success will be replicated in the comfortable homes we will build. The success of our GeoTourism program is detailed at changemakers.com/node/95278.

The skills and contacts we have gathered also help us greatly in the consulting services we offer other companies and individuals. Through our multi-sector approach we have achieved, sustained and grown profitability. All indications are that this growth and traction will continue.

sites.google.com has been a huge benefit in the media development and promotion of the project. We will continue to share the skills we have learned of website development and video production and all the other aspects of the world of media with everyone who is involved in the project. There is no failure, only growth.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

FdS was started with conscientious funding from family and friends. Our network of supporting individuals has continued to grow with visits, investments, donations, volunteering, advice and economic and educational participation opportunities. Foundations have provided us insight, networking opportunities and have been our clients for consulting work in the DR and Haiti. NGOs have partnered with us on all our major projects, from Sun Ovens, to GeoToursism, to project promotion. Since the products and services we offer tend to be licensed from US companies, we create jobs in the US, the DR and Haiti. Our model is not to outsource jobs from larger countries, rather to import tested ecological technologies to produce products locally that are used locally. We continue to grow sustainably.

Tell us about your partnerships

FdS collaborates with non-profits, corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, artists, innovators and activists toward improving the environment and society. A true Hybrid Network, we form close working relationships with for-profits and non-profits to work together to improve ecological and social environments. We partner with Conacado, the DR Cacao growers coop, to present the Fair Trade Chocolate Lovers tour. Our complete partners list is in our Partnering for Excellence entry. We are interested in expanding our Ashoka connection.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

Frantz FanFan, Dominican Resident of Haitian decent is our General Manager. He is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish and English and is an employee owner of FdS because he's been a leader in the program from the start. Frida Hypolite, Dominican Citizen of Haitian decent is our Youth and Young Adult Coordinator and fluent in Creole, Spanish and English. Ernst Rupp is the Project Coordinator for GJ and working with us for Gold Standard Certification. Olga Vidal is our Head Solar Chef and Solar Trainer. Extensive support staff and volunteers are on board.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

We are specifically interested in an Ashoka Fellowship. We have participated in Changemakers competitions since 2006. We have joined every GeoTourism Challenge, and every competition that was germane to our projects. We greatly enjoyed our participation in the GeoTourism Summit in Washington, DC in 2010. Our work is based on incorporating every innovative concept that can potentially bring ecological and/or social development to the DR and/or Haiti. All of our ideas are designed to be replicable and scalable. We would like to play a strong role in the development of the Change Shop platform. We hope you will consider Kevin Adair and El Fuego del Sol for an Ashoka Fellowship. After 6 years of dedication to making a positive impact, it would be wonderful to achieve an Ashoka Fellowship.

Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

Comparative product analysis, market research, social entrepreneurs, grass-roots leaders, multiple country network & GeoTourism.

randomness