Jan 2, 2020

On our way to empowering Culebra

Public notice
Public notice

During this past quarter, we continued with meetings to engage the community-at-large to solarize the municipal island of Culebra. We’ve also been identifying the potential sites and the feasibility of the development of micro-grids on them. Some of the sites might need an environmental impact assessment for which we’ll work directly with EDA and potentially EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). We foresee to start on-site construction by Summer of 2020. We also engaged in the design of the human resources infrastructure and the publication of public notices to hire the project manager and other professional resources.

As our planning phase continues, we had previously engaged Prudential and Global Giving with a support of $220,000; we recently engaged an anonymous donor who granted $25,000. The $245,000 coming from philanthropic partners will be used to match the $1 million match requirement from EDA. We are still needing $755,000 to match.

The municipal island of Culebra is located to the northeast of our mainland with a population of approximately 1,400. The island received proper energy supply by March 2019, almost a year and a half after Hurricane María hit our shores. Since we had already empowered, through a participatory process, the first solar community in Toro Negro – Ciales, where 20 energy systems form the community’s solar microgrid providing energy to 28 residences that benefit more than 70 residents, we set a goal to transform Culebra’s energy system into a renewable energy system.

Dec 30, 2019

Aqueducts continue to strengthen to benefit their communities

Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening

With more than 250 community aqueducts in our island, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico has been able to work with 65 of them through technical assistance, grants and provoking peer learning experiences through a series of convenings.

As we approach the end of the year 2019, we were able to provide six grants, totaling $229,560, to support the improvement of the physical infrastructure in six communities that provides access to clean and drinkable water to 760 families. The long-term sustainability of these systems is very important, and the community wants to be a part of it.  

Fundación Comunitaria provided a grant to Asociación de Residents Villa de Oro in Caguas and Humatas Deep Water in Añasco respectively, to install water metering equipment. These aqueducts provide access to water to 100 families. The metering system will allow measuring water consumption per family in order to charge families for the use of the water. This is a very important step for community residents, as the amount charged will allow for maintenance, repair of the infrastructure and, better yet, becoming self-sustainable.

On the other hand, twenty families will benefit from a new water storage infrastructure in Cidra through a grant given to Asociación de Residentes Villa Vigia. The grant will allow for this community to have clean water with new water storage and distribution system as their current infrastructure is contaminated with lead and copper putting at risk the community’s health and well-being. Meanwhile, Acueducto Rural Bayamoncito in Aguas Buenas is a community aqueduct with which we’ve been working for more than a year to strengthen its community organizing, administrative, and compliance capacity. With the grant provided to this community of 180 families, they will be rebuilding the water storage and distribution system. And the Comunidad Gabino Negrón in Aguada will build a solar infrastructure that will allow uninterrupted water access and; Comunidad Perichi Aqueduct in San Germán, will rebuild the filtering and disinfection system that provides water to 250 families.

With these six grants, we have been able to provide grants to 18 community aqueducts and provided direct technical assistance to 30 of them, the other 35 aqueducts have received some sort of minimum technical assistance and have participated in our community aqueducts convenings. 

As we continue to listen to the community, we were able to convene Third Community Aqueduct Convening, celebrated in Adjuntas, with the participation of 45 individuals from thirteen communities belonging to the following municipalities: Ponce, Jayuya, Aguas Buenas, San Germán, Coamo, Caguas, Arecibo, and Adjuntas. The previous two were celebrated in Corcovada community in Aguada (western region) and Las Corujas community in Aguas Buenas (eastern-central region). Forty-three (43) community aqueducts have participated in these two convenings. As the aqueducts are at different stage levels, this type of convening is a very rich way to have a thorough peer to peer exchange of ideas and learnings, and serves as well, as a platform to share the challenges faced by these communities and how to solve them.

Our community aqueduct initiative is also supported by Oxfam and Hispanic Federation.

Our long-term goal is to work with the 200 community aqueducts in a five-year period. The approximate cost per aqueduct varies between $30,000 to $50,000, depending on the needs and opportunities it represents for the community. Our goal is to raise $8 million to continue to work with the remaining 170 community aqueducts.

Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Participants, Third Community Aqueduct Convening
Oct 8, 2019

On our way to empowering Culebra (Report 2)

As we were approved a $4 million grant from Economic Development Administration (EDA), the project expanded its scope with a goal to provide up to 2,695 solar panels with hurricane-resistant racking, AC inverter batteries, metering, and appurtenances, that will allow to solarize most of the small business and non-profit organizations in Culebra. This will allow for the small island to become sustainable in terms of energy but also in terms of economic development, as these infrastructures will guarantee economic activity among the islanders. It will also create construction and installation jobs in the short term and potential maintenance and repair entrepreneurship activity in the long term.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three areas where Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico wants to strengthen inside our institution and within the projects that we support and empower. This project will be no different, we seek to incorporate gender diversity and provide equitable access to the benefits of the project.

We believe the project will strengthen the community capital in Culebra: human, social, physical, financial and ecological and; we also believe that we will be supporting the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: gender equality, affordable and clean energy, industry-innovation- infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and finally, partnerships for the goals.

During most part of the Summer and the months of August and September, we continued our community meetings to engage the community-at-large with this project. We’ve also been identifying the potential sites and the feasibility of the development of micro-grids on them. Some of the sites might need an environmental impact assessment for which we’ll work directly with EDA and potentially EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). We foresee to start on-site construction by the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

As our planning phase continues, we had previously engaged Prudential and Global Giving with a support of $220,000; we recently engaged an anonymous donor who granted $25,000. The $245,000 coming from philanthropic partners will be used to match the $1 million match requirement from EDA. We are still needing $755,000 to match.

The municipal island of Culebra is located to the northeast of our mainland with a population of approximately 1,400. The island received proper energy supply by March 2019, almost a year and a half after Hurricane María hit our shores. Since we had already empowered, through a participatory process, the first solar community in Toro Negro – Ciales, where 20 energy systems form the community’s solar microgrid providing energy to 28 residences that benefit more than 70 residents, we set a goal to transform Culebra’s energy system into a renewable energy system. 

 
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