Why are we volunteering?
Joel: I’m volunteering because I enjoy helping people. I believe that no one should have to live in poverty. As a planet, we are more than capable of making this happen. I want to be a part of the solution. Green Empowerment has a long history of making a real change in communities, and I aim to learn how to better help people from their model. I believe sustainability projects will play a big role in the overall puzzle of overcoming poverty.
Becky: Ditto what that guy said. And, this is a way to work in a real need-based environment, where I feel pulled to be. And while I've gotten to work in the sustainability realm for several years now, this will be an opportunity to work in the most initial stages of sustainable development, instead of trying to "fix" problems created by harmful energy or water infrasctructure - and that really excites me!
Who is Green Empowerment?
We researched over 200 organizations to volunteer with, and in the end, we chose Green Empowerment.
Green Empowerment is a non-profit that helps rural farming communities in Latin America and Southeast Asia obtain renewable energy and clean water sources through technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, micro-hydroelectric systems, ram pumps, and biogas digesters. They work alongside local NGOs and community members to design, finance, and build these energy and water systems as a team. Through this process, the community members become trained and take ownership of the facilities themselves. Check out there website GreenEmpowerment.org
That is where Green Empowerment wanted our help. Nicaragua is considered the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Many communities within the country lack electricity and a local reliable water source.
When, where, what?
We arrived in mid-January 2013 and will continue volunteering until the end of the year. The majority of our efforts will be out in rural farming communities of central Nicaragua working on renewable energy and clean water systems. In the town of El Jocote, we will focus on a watershed restoration project, which will include solar installations, workshops on the environment, building latrines, and improved cook stoves, as well as developing community gardens. Other time will be in the capital city Managua, Nicaragua working on project designs.
What are we raising funds for?
The money we are raising will be used to support the installation of renewable energy and water systems ($3000 will be a direct donation to Green Empowerment). The rest of the funds will enable us to actually volunteer in Nicaragua: food and housing, flights, insurance, etc. We are raising money for the first six months of our internship. Here is a breakdown of our budget:
$3000 for solar panel, microhydro, and water pump installations
$2000 for food
$2000 for housing
$1400 for transportation to project sites within Nicaragua (the rural communities are hard to get to!)
$900 for insurance and medications
$1300 for airplane flights
$240 for visas
How can you help?
Donations of any amount are very helpful. Donations are accepted on this website or checks can be made out to Green Empowerment with the memo of “on Behalf of Joel Aftreth and Becky Miller” and sent to 140 SW Yamhill Street,?Portland, Oregon 97204.
If you are unable to donate, spreading the word also helps. You can like this page on Facebook, or send it to other friends.
Any donation you make here is tax deductible, completely worthwhile and super appreciated! There is no such thing as a donation that is too small nor too big!
Note From Green Empowerment: Although funds given on behalf of an intern are credited to the intern’s fundraising goal, donors should be aware that in accordance with IRS guidelines, tax-deductible donations are being donated to Green Empowerment and not to the participant directly. Contributions are donated with the understanding that Green Empowerment has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.