Green Empowerment, a Portland-based nonprofit, offers internship opportunities with two of its partner organizations: AsoFenix in Nicaragua and Appropriate Technology Collaborative in Guatemala.
Green Empowerment was founded in 1997 by a Portland-based human rights attorney who was inspired by the life of Ben Linder, a neighbor and friend who was killed in Nicaragua. Its mission is to develop renewable energy and clean water delivery projects in Latin America and Southeast Asia to alleviate poverty and restore the environment. Green Empowerment’s projects support improved community health, education, and economic benefits. Their development model is to cultivate lasting partnerships with local NGOs in each country who work with rural farming communities to set objectives and priorities. At present, they are partnered with NGOs in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
With 8 paid staff in the U.S. and 8 overseas, Green Empowerment has been instrumental in successfully establishing locally-owned hydroelectric, solar, water and wind projects as well as community-development programs in several countries. To date, through renewable energy, they have helped 23,500 heads of household gain lighting in their homes, secured local access to clean water for 10,600 people, and improved schools, clinics and small-businesses for an additional 177,500 villagers. Green Empowerment has a strong track-record and close working relationship with AsoFenix, ATC, and the various other NGOs they are affiliated with.
AsoFenix’s projects are designed to promote income generation in the communities they serve. This leads to greater capacity in the community and promotes protection of the environment. AsoFenix’s mission is to be a leader in driving the diffusion, development and application of renewable energies to improve the standard of living in communities and protect the environment. Its objectives are to:
- Prioritize the most impoverished communities for the development of projects;
- Develop renewable energy projects; and
- Empower community leaders.
AsoFenix has teamed with Green Empowerment on feasibility studies, technical trainings, project construction, commissioning, organizational planning, public relations and fund raising. Since 2004, the partners have installed solar water pumps in 4 communities, supplying clean water to nearly 2,000 people. In 2007 they worked together on a 13kW micro-hydroelectric system that now serves 30 households. In 2008, they launched a small-scale biogas digester program. Each project incorporates sanitation education, starting vegetable gardens, building latrines, and reforestation efforts. AsoFenix has found that appropriate use of renewable energy-related systems does positively impact the environment and villagers’ health while boosting the local economy.
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative (Guatemala)
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative (ATC) an organization that designs, develops, demonstrates and distributes appropriate technological solutions to meet basic needs of people worldwide. Green Empowerment works in partnership with ATC to support sustainable development through the empowerment of community-based organizations via appropriate technologies. They collaborate with grassroots organizations in projects that add skills and sustainable infrastructure to meet basic needs and provide opportunities to break out of the cycle of poverty.
ATC and Green Empowerment support the start-up of social enterprises and sustainable cooperatives including indigenous solar microbusinesses and cooperatives producing organic honey, coffee and amaranth.