In the day-to-day minutiae of working life it’s easy to get hung up on the bad stuff:
The stresses of multiple deadlines. Or the pressures of huge fundraising targets. Exasperations with organisational bureaucracy, which exists everywhere, in spite of the efficiency of your processes and procedures. Or anxieties about re-structure, as experienced by Practical Action’s UK staff for the last eight months.
But last week a very wise colleague reminded me:
“Just remember – everything you do here is for the people of Bangladesh. Or Kenya. Or Peru. Sudan. Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe. Nepal. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re trying. The people are the only reason.”
Her words were like a bell tolling me back from encroaching negativity to a place of clarity. I looked at the photos beside my desk and once more started to marvel at Practical Action’s work around the world:
The dreamlike magic of a floating garden which allows the poorest families in Bangladesh to grow enough food to eat and sell all year round, even during the floods.
The simple genius of a solar powered water pump that harnesses the energy of a resource which exists in abundance in Kenya – the sunshine – to produce one which does not – clean water.
The quirky innovation of an eco-san loo which gives farmers in the mountains of Peru decent sanitation AND a means of preserving dry human waste to make good quality compost for their crops.
No matter how frustrating my day is, I do feel very blessed that I can go home safe in the knowledge that I spent my time trying my best to make life better for someone in need of a helping hand. That everything I do here is “for the people of Bangladesh. Or Kenya. Or Peru. Sudan. Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe. Nepal.”
I repeated my colleague’s words to a friend this weekend and he warned me that I risked sounding holier-than-thou. I don’t feel pious or saintly, and I certainly hope I don’t sound like that. I just think that sometimes it’s important – perhaps even essential – to remember why we’re here.No Comments » | Add your comment
A recent study by Practical Action indicates that about 61 per cent households in Nepal do not have access to minimum energy required for lighting. Addressing Nepal’s energy problems requires an increase in access to modern form of energy.
Devi has three children to look after. All day long she has many chores to complete – cook and clean. By the time she finishes her daily chores its already dark. She does not have kerosene left to light her room and she cannot afford it either. She wants to comb her hair, wash her face, and change into something comfortable for a good nights sleep but she cant because she cannot see a thing; forget finding anything. You and I can still do many things after dark but Devi’s day ends once the sun sets.
The only source of lighting left is the kitchen fire, once the fire is out there is not even a single source of light left in the house. You and I have access to many kinds of energy to light our homes as we have the resources but Devi does not.
Devi has to walk an hour to get to the nearest motor able road access and wait for a taxi (which may or may not come) to take her to the nearest market which is an hour drive. But she also needs money to buy kerosene and money is scarce. With little money she has she purchases basic necessity such as salt, sugar and cooking oil. Devi’s life is hard. Can you imagine living like her in the dark after the sun sets?
Recently, Practical Action installed a 400 watt vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) in her village of six households. All six households now have access to clean energy.
“My life is so much better now that we have clean energy for lighting in our homes. We could barely afford the trip to buy kerosene,” s aysDevi.
The newly installed wind turbine supplies energy equivalent to 2 light bulbs for each 6 households in Devi’s village. She is happy with the change and say “We can also charge our mobile phones and watch TV.”
Devi’s niece now has light to study and complete her homework.
This is a power station operator showing us how he controls the flow of power to each household. The wind turbine is integrated with 260 watt peak of solar energy system.
“I am so happy now,” says Devi. “I can do so much even after the sun sets. I don’t have to hurry and finish my chores and we don’t eat dinner at 5pm anymore. We have the luxury of eating when we want. Time is no more a restriction, all thanks to the wind energy.”
Most of the rural hilly villages in Nepal are not connected to the national grid. Go to www.practicalaction.org and see how you can donate and change the lives of women like Devi.
Watch more success stories from rural Nepal at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgg3s3m-7sQ8 Comments » | Add your comment