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 9, 2011

The Gift of Heat, The Preservation of Culture

Leonard Little Finger
Leonard Little Finger

“The heater works great,” says Leonard Littlefinger of the solar heater that Trees, Water & People supporters donated to his Lakota language school. Our partner, Henry Red Cloud, installed the heater in the school’s meeting room, which Leonard said came in handy this winter as he consulted with tribal elders who are helping him establish his curriculum’s vocabulary and grammar. In Leonard’s words, the heater “did the trick.” “It just quietly did its job,” he added, “you know, when you get to be our age, you need a good heater.”

Leonard is the founder of the Sacred Hoop (Cangle’ska Waka’n: “chan-GLAY-shka wah-KAHN”) School, which is a part of the efforts on the Pine Ridge Reservation to preserve traditional Lakota culture. Part of learning a language, says Leonard, is understanding the way a society’s culture is integrated into its words. For instance, the Lakota word for hoop carries with it undertones of “the circle of life”. It is for this reason that Leonard chose the word hoop instead of circle for his school’s name.

The Sacred Hoop School’s first group of students is scheduled to arrive this June. Currently, Leonard is finalizing his curriculum with, as he puts it, “the combined knowledge of over 500 years of Lakota language and culture” between himself and the other elders. At this inaugural two-week immersion program, Lakota students, parents and siblings will be invited to bring traditional language back into their home.

Leonard is truly a leader in his community and has been selected for an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Ohio, where he is delivered this May’s commencement address. We hope all Trees, Water & People supporters take the same pride that we do in playing a small role in the amazing endeavor of preserving the Lakota language.

Links:

Apr 11, 2011

Update from Haiti: The Zanmi Pye Bwa Cookstove

The Zanmi Pye Bwa (Friend of the Forest) Cookstove
The Zanmi Pye Bwa (Friend of the Forest) Cookstove

Trees, Water & People (TWP) continues to push forward with projects in Haiti, as Deputy International Director Sebastian Africano and International Program Coordinator Claudia Menendez prepare for a three week trip to the country to launch new operational partnerships. 

In Port au Prince, TWP has partnered with International Lifeline Fund (ILF) to develop the Zanmi Pye Bwa charcoal cookstove (literally translated as "Friend of the Trees") for the urban, charcoal dependent population. The design of the stove is based on local needs, cooking preferences and long-term sustainability - using local skills and materials ensures that it can be repaired, refurbished or replaced over several years at a low-cost.  The goal is to create a quality product that reduces fuel consumption at levels comparable to industrially manufactured imports, but for one half to one third of the cost. 

The Zanmi Pye Bwa project will be commercial in nature, harnessing Haiti's entrepreneurial spirit to drive an energy efficient consumer product into the marketplace.  TWP and ILF believe that strengthening local economies is one of the best contributions we can make through our work. This project will increase families' disposable income by reducing their dependency on charcoal, while creating desperately needed employment in their communities through manufacturing and a commission based sales program. 

GlobalGiving donations will allow the project to subsidize the price of the stove to families affected by the 2010 earthquake, and enable us to provide replacement parts and refurbishment services at little to no cost. Donations will also help us to develop the commission structure for our vendor program, putting valuable cash into people's pockets that will circulate into the local economy, building resilience back into these vulnerable Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) communities. 

Please help us rebuild Haiti from within by supporting the Zanmi Pye Bwa project, and stay tuned for updates!

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Jan 12, 2011

Haiti One Year Later: TWP’s Progress and Plans

Josanie LaFortune with her Rocket cookstove
Josanie LaFortune with her Rocket cookstove

Hello Friends,

It has been one year since the devastating 7.0 earthquake rocked the country of Haiti, killing some 230,000 people and displacing another 1 million. Trees, Water & People (TWP) is reflecting on the past year in Haiti and looking forward to the future.

In the weeks and months following the earthquake, and continuing through the end of 2010, TWP received a tremendous outpouring of support for our efforts in Haiti. Now, we would like to share with you how these generous donations have made a real and lasting impact, as well as our plans for 2011.

2010 Accomplishments in Haiti 

With our partners Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT), International Lifeline Fund (ILF) and StoveTec, we were able to distribute thousands of fuel-efficient Rocket cookstoves to internally displaced Haitians. The following summarizes our impact in the past year:

  • Distributed 2,798 fuel-efficient cookstoves to Haitian families, directly affecting over 16,500 lives (with an average family size of 6 people). These cookstoves greatly reduce fuel costs, deforestation, environmental impacts, and injuries due to open-fire cooking. In addition, with a great need for clean water, these cookstoves allow families to prepare food safely, and boil water to reduce deadly water borne diseases such as Cholera.
  • With our partner ILF, we were able to train cookstove beneficiaries. Every training session included an overview of the stove parts, stove use and maintenance, and the environmental, economic and social benefits of a fuel-efficient cookstove. Trainees also participated in a cooking demonstration, where each woman cooked a meal on their new cookstove.
  • In addition to distribution and training, TWP and ILF have done extensive monitoring and evaluation of the cookstoves distributed. These stoves have been very well received due to the fuel-savings and safer cooking conditions they offer. In fact, through the monitoring and evaluation program, we have found that beneficiaries save over 50% on their average daily fuel expenditures with their new cookstove. As one woman commented:

“With my stove, I am able to purchase less charcoal and I help protect the environment….the stove program is helping us to rebuild our country so that Haiti can be more beautiful than before the earthquake.”

  • We funded our partner AMURT’s installation of the Integrated Healing and Wellness Center (IHEC) at the SINEAS Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Port-au-Prince. The IHEC consists of 11 pavilions and 22 classrooms, 10 composting toilets, 8 rainwater catchment systems, a reservoir, a composting site, a tree nursery, a permaculture demonstration site and organic garden. These child-friendly spaces gave 820 children the chance to attend preschool and after school programs, providing an important safe haven during a time of crisis. The vision for this center is that it can be replicated in other camps, with youth and women's leadership as a main priority.
  • Working with the Haitian government, we participated in drafting the Haitian National Improved Stove Strategy with our partners from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Paradigm Project, and ILF. Working with the Haitian government’s Bureau of Mines and Energy (BME), we will continue to address the problems of deforestation caused mainly by charcoal production and fuel-wood consumption.
  • In 2010, TWP became a partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the GACC in New York City in September with a commitment to saving lives, improving livelihoods, empowering women, and combating climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean cookstoves. Since the launch, the Alliance has been working on activities that will help them achieve the goal of 100 million homes adopting clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020.  Our international staff will be participating in two working groups for the GACC: "Reaching Consumers" and "Monitoring and Evaluation."

Moving Forward in Haiti: 2011 Plans

  • Working with AMURT, who runs multiple tree nurseries throughout Haiti, we will continue to address the critical deforestation issue in Haiti. According to the Haitian Bureau of Mines and Energy, 75% of the energy consumed in Haiti comes from biomass in the form of wood and charcoal; 80% of this amount is used for cooking meals at the household level. Halting the severe deforestation in the country is a critical task, as the current rate of reforestation is only 26% of the rate of forest removal.
  • In 2011, with our partner organizations, we will undertake extensive research and development to continue the process of designing a best-fit cookstove for Haiti that can be produced in country, by Haitians, using local materials with an end-product that is economically accessible to those most in need. 

With your continued support, TWP and partners will also continue the distribution of fuel-efficient cookstoves, as well as the training, monitoring, and evaluation process that is critical to the success of this program.

Thank you so much for your support of this project and your compassion for the Haitian people!

Child-friendly space at SINEAS IDP Camp
Child-friendly space at SINEAS IDP Camp

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