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Community Leaders Learn First-Hand About bE Projects

By Angela Cacciola -- Earlier this month, blueEnergy happily hosted 25 local community leaders from the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region of Nicaragua to demonstrate its projects and work areas. The group’s time with blueEnergy was part of a four-segment course being held by the coastal development organization FADCANIC in coordination with local university URACCAN that focuses on understanding how renewable energies contribute to slowing climate change. This collaborative event signified yet another push forward in blueEnergy’s efforts to bring together diverse teams, technology and resources to create opportunities in some of the most challenging contexts that address the pressing global challenges of tomorrow.

The group began their morning at INATEC, the Nicaraguan technical school in Bluefields where blueEnergy houses its workshop and technical systems. The head of bE’s technical team, Pedro Neves, gave an overview of the energy team’s solar dryer and solar panel projects. He recognized the vast amount of knowledge and skills communities have developed to function, and the difficulties brought about when outsiders try to impose their customs or ideas. “What I’ve learned is that in the end, the best solution is the one you get by the community,” Pedro says. “The community people have so much knowledge already. If you add a little bit of knowledge from the modern world, they come up with the rest and you have the solution.”
Pedro Neves explaining the solar dryer

Such is the case with solar dryers, an idea that originated through communities who dry their food to preserve it, but face troubles related to insects and unpredictable rain. Hortencia Hernandez, vice president of the Rama Key Organization of Women, emphasized how important it is to for the women in her community to dry their shrimp and what a blessing it would be to have the solar dryers that would eliminate those problems. She also expressed her joy at attending the course, “This is the first time I’ve been to a place where they show you how they mechanically do the environmentally friendly stuff. It’s a pleasure for me to come here and see what systems you have and contribute to the changing of climate situation.”

Pedro’s presentation was followed up with comments from blueEnergy Nicaragua Director, Guillaume Craig, who said, “We work together. That’s the idea. Most people can’t pay $100 or more for their system, so they come and they contribute [to the building].” This was acknowledged by a community leader from San Vincente, John Sambola, who later commented, “[What we are learning]…It’s very important. All you have to do is let the people work together.”
Jorge explaining the water filters

Local blueEnergy technician Jorge Perez along with French engineer, Thibaut Demaegdt, presented the water and sanitation team’s projects of wells, water filters and solar latrines. After visiting a beneficiary home where a well was installed this year, the group was off to their next place of learning. In the future, blueEnergy hopes to continue working with FADCANIC, URACCAN and other local organizations to facilitate similar exchanges of knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see blueEnergy continuing to facilitate and foster cross-organizational collaboration with many critical stakeholders in the region. The learning imbued from these types of meetings creates long-lasting impact in blueEnergy's adaptable model and implementation strategy. Congrats to the entire Bluefields team for pulling off this successful event!