Feb 10, 2021

On Way to Solarize Culebra

Town Hall Meeting (Archive)
Town Hall Meeting (Archive)

As lockdown restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic became flexible by the second half of 2020, we were able to gain some track to accelerate our goal: to solarize small business and non-profit organizations in Culebra, a small island-municipality of Puerto Rico. 

 

A contract agreement for the Architecture/Engineering was submitted to Economic Development Administration (EDA)* and it was approved, we had a full flesh contractor by the end of September. This allowed us to visit the community in October and hold a Town Hall Meeting to present the Project to the community at large, including NGOs and merchants. The purpose of the meeting was to engage community participation and generate a since of pride in the endeavor we were set to accomplish.  Sixty-five (65) individuals filled out a commitment form to become active participants in the project.

 

By December 2020, 84% of the institutions were surveyed and the initial design phase began. Once the design phase is approved by EDA, we will start the installation: 2,695 solar panels with hurricane-resistant racking in more than 40 sites, AC inverter batteries, metering, and appurtenances that will allow solarizing most of the small business and non-profit organizations in Culebra. The installation is planning to occur on the 2 quarter of 2021.

 

We thank all our supporters through this GlobalGiving platform, for believing in our work and Culebra's potential of becoming an EMPOWERED community.

 

* This proposal was presented to EDA in late 2018. During the summer of 2019, a $4 million grant was approved and allowed us to define a specific quantitative goal.

Jan 7, 2021

Strengthening community aqueducts in time of crises

Algarrobo Aqueduct in Aibonito, PR.
Algarrobo Aqueduct in Aibonito, PR.

Since our last report, the initiatives to strengthen the community aqueducts have achieved significant progress. The community aqueducts are the only source of drinking water for hundreds of vulnerable communities on the island, and their challenges increased after Hurricane María, the earthquakes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support the operations of these community structures during the Covid-19 emergency, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (FCPR) awarded 13 grants to same number of aqueducts. The greatest need of these community organizations was personal protection equipment and products to chlorinate the water. From those, seven received grants from FCPR for the first time, and are in remote communities in the towns of Yabucoa, Orocovis, Barranquitas, San Lorenzo, and Caguas.

The thirteen grantees are: Acueducto Comunitario Algarrobo, Acueducto Rural Comunidades Especiales Bayamoncito, Inc., Cuyon Water Services, Inc., Asoc. De Vecinos del Sector Los Oquendo Bo. Hato Arriba de San Lorenzo, Inc., Acueducto Pellejas, Inc., Acueducto Saltos Pellejas, Inc., Acueducto Sector Pachín, Inc., Comunidad Limones, Inc., Acueducto Comunidad Tortuguero La Tiza, Inc., Acueducto Rural El Manantial, Inc., Comunidad Corujas, Inc., Acueductos Barrio Guayabota Yabucoa, Inc., and Asociación Residentes de Villas de Oro, Inc.

On the other hand, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico received a grant of $1.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to execute the first phase of a mitigation project, focus on strengthening or incorporate solar infrastructure in the 242 community aqueducts of the island in order to avoid the interruption of these systems that provide water to thousands of families -the total amount granted to this project was $25 million. This first phase should end in May 2021. It includes recruitment, execution plan, feasibility analysis, and environmental impact. Besides, the FCPR was also awarded with a grant of $150,000 from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to strengthen five or seven community aqueducts in the South part of Puerto Rico, affected by the earthquakes of 2020. This project should benefit 500 residents. In this zone, there are 31 community aqueducts.

All these initiatives are part of Agua Pa’Nosotros, a program of the FCPR started in 2017 to strengthen the community aqueducts of the island. It has counted with the generous support of the organizations above and Oxfam, Hispanic Federation, and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Nevertheless, to continue strengthening these community structures is indispensable to facilitate more support for infrastructure issues, compliance, community organizations, and management.  

Nov 24, 2020

A community respond than has led to ZERO DEATHS

PryMed participants
PryMed participants

Eight months into the pandemic, and we’ve had ZERO DEATHS in the supported communities

Our ZERO DEATHS strategy has led us to support more than 46 non-profit organizations in their quest to educate and contain the virus and; in their process of providing other essential services. Sixty-four (64), out of our 78 municipalities have been impacted with $802,966 in grants. One of those organizations is PryMed, a community health clinic in Ciales, a municipality in the central region of the island. They have been able to serve 1,000 elders, some of them with mobility problems or homebound. They focused on providing baskets with local produce and non-perishable food items to help avoid visits to the stores and minimize contagious risk. One of the participants voiced out her gratitude, when part of the staff brought groceries on a Friday afternoon, it was not until Sunday that her son had planned to visit with some groceries, as she explained to PryMed staff that she was already out of food supply.  “¡Gracias mija!”, which translates to ‘thanks my friend’. “I was waiting for my son to come over the weekend to buy some little things…”, told the old lady, according to the organization's report.

In addition to educational and preventive services, our strategy supported microbusinesses affected by the pandemic to reduce closing risks and facilitate the operation. One of the grantees was Agape Tiendita Solidaria y Café, a thrift and consignment store in Arecibo -a municipality on the northern coast of the island. “One of the biggest challenges we faced has been keeping up to date with business operational payments. The lack of income has accumulated debts”, said the business owner report to FCPR. He explained that they had to close temporarily from March 16 to July 28 to keep the employees and clients safe. “This grant served as a fund to pay off some outstanding debts and start with a new impulse”, added.  The grant was used to pay the rent, license, energy service, and payroll. Another five micro businesses received grants.

The supported organizations have reached more than 14,981 people; have provided over 10,098 grocery bags and boxes of nutritional supplements; and 3,073 Covid-19 tests have been being administered in coordination with private laboratories. Also, 31 organizations and academic institutions have become allies of the initiative expanding educative initiatives in many communities around the island.

 
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