Trees Water & People

Trees, Water & People is committed to improving people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. We believe that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management.
Jun 13, 2012

Creating a Cookstove Market in Port-au-Prince

Haiti Program Manager Jean Maire Gabriel
Haiti Program Manager Jean Maire Gabriel

With more than 15 vendors recruited to sell the Zanmi Pye Bwa (ZPB) Cookstove at different points throughout Port-au-Prince, Trees, Water & People’s Haiti Program Manager, Jean-Marie Gabriel, has taken to the TWP cookstove program like a fish to water.  This is only moderately surprising – he grew up in Port-au-Prince, and his 10 years in the U.S. have not allowed him to forget the ins and outs of this vast, urban labrynth.  His strategy is methodical: identify popular retailers of common goods in high-traffic sectors of the city, build a relationship, show them the product, and invite them to be trained at TWP’s Port-au-Prince office.

Most accept.  Once there, the group of vendors is shown an educational presentation about deforestation, the impact of excessive charcoal use on a family’s budget and the environment, and how the Zanmi Pye Bwa can help to alleviate these impacts.  Features and benefits of the stove are highlighted, and the vendors are encouraged to come up with sales tactics – an innovative, interactive challenge that leads to role-play, laughter, and confidence that the ZPB cookstove has value that other stoves do not.

The Zanmi Pye Bwa pays for itself in a matter of six weeks, and then saves users hundreds of dollars in its first year of use.  Apart from that, it provides a healthy profit margin and a new source of income to vendors who typically only make a few dollars a day.  The first batch of 10 stoves is given on consignment, but almost all have come back for more with a handful of cash – half to pay off the first batch, and half to purchase new stock.

To keep the venture as sustainable as possible, we focus on keeping retail prices high enough to cover materials costs of the stove, and fundraising to pay for the labor required to produce more.  This strategy leads us to work with only the most motivated vendors who are willing to learn, develop their sales skills, and stand behind a product that will cost their customers 5 times more than the less-efficient local alternative, but which will deliver previously unimaginable savings to families that depend on charcoal daily to feed their families.

Please join us in fueling this growing program, and creating a better future for the charcoal-dependent families of Haiti’s urban areas.

To learn more about Haiti Clean Cookstove Program and to make a donation please visit www.treeswaterpeople.org.

Clean cookstoves for Haiti
Clean cookstoves for Haiti
Zanmi Pye Bwas are sold throughout Port-au-Prince
Zanmi Pye Bwas are sold throughout Port-au-Prince
Double-burner ZPB clean cookstove
Double-burner ZPB clean cookstove
Vendors sell ZPB cookstoves around the city
Vendors sell ZPB cookstoves around the city

Links:

Jun 12, 2012

New Hope to the Navajo

Navajo Green Jobs event
Navajo Green Jobs event

This spring, the Tribal Renewable Energy Program realized a long-term hope of bringing solar heating to the Navajo (Diné) Nation.

In late February, I traveled with Henry Red Cloud, our Tribal Program partner and proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), two members of his crew, Silas Red Cloud and Leo White Bear, and one of our most amazing Trees, Water & People (TWP) interns, Christy Proulx, to Shiprock, New Mexico. I have known that it has long been an aspiration of Henry’s to take his life-changing technology South, but it wasn’t until a few unexpected photo opportunities that it occurred to me that this trip was a real treat for Henry.

Of course, the real purpose of our trip was to bring our simple and replicable solar air heaters to the Diné people, and we received an inspiring, warm welcome. Claudia Jackson of Navajo Green Jobs arranged our demonstration installation for Pete and Eva Stokely, retired Diné teachers from Shiprock and respected elders in the community.

We also met Melton Martinez for the first time, for whom we installed a second demonstration solar heater, in the hopes that these two are just the first of hundreds for the Navajo Nation. Working with off-grid clients through Eagle Energy, Melton works to save Navajo families money on expensive Kerosene lanterns. The thing that affected me most about his work, however, was his dedication to eliminating the use of harmful fossil fuels. Even though Melton has electricity, he has a solar-powered night light by his bed in his south-facing bedroom. He told me, “Every time I use the solar light, it’s one less lump of coal that gets mined from our mountain and burned.” To Melton, reducing fossil fuel use is not just about having a tiny impact on the huge issue of climate change; it’s about fewer friends dying in coal mines, fewer children with asthma, and a better life for his people.

It was only because of our TWP donors that we were able to take this trip, bringing a little extra light into Henry’s life and a lot of warmth to the Stokelys and Melton. The next step in bringing solar air heaters to the Diné is to host a training with local champions like Claudia and Melton. Please support our growing relationship with the Navajo!

Hot air from the new solar air heater
Hot air from the new solar air heater
Solar Warriors!
Solar Warriors!

Links:

Mar 21, 2012

TWP Welcomes New Haiti Program Manager

Haiti Program Manager Jean Maire Gabriel (left)
Haiti Program Manager Jean Maire Gabriel (left)

It gives us great pleasure to welcome the newest member of the Trees, Water & People (TWP) family, Jean Marie Gabriel.  Jean is our new Haiti Program Manager, and will be living in Port-au-Prince representing TWP locally, and moving our projects forward.

Jean was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, and held a diverse array of occupations before moving to the United States to pursue University in 2000.  Most interesting to us was his work in the banking sector, working as a Loan Officer for Fond d’Assistance aux Entrepreneurs Moyens (Fund for the Assistance of Medium Entrepreneurs - FAEM) and as a Service Agent for one of Haiti’s biggest banks, Sogebank. 

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University and while completing a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College in New York, Jean helped to found the Knowledge is Wealth Learning Center, an alternative education service for low income residents in Palm Beach County, Florida. 

Jean is a proven leader and we are thrilled to have him managing our clean cookstove and reforestation efforts in Haiti.  Currently, he is in the process of setting up our in-country office, and setting TWP up for success in the coming years.  Please join us in welcoming Jean to the team by supporting TWP in 2012!

Jean (right) visits with cookstove vendors
Jean (right) visits with cookstove vendors
Jean promoting cookstoves in Port-au-Prince
Jean promoting cookstoves in Port-au-Prince

Links:

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