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Anya has been raising awareness about the demand for human trafficking and the horrors of modern day slavery for the past five years. Understanding that so many of the worlds poor find themselves in devastating situations when left with no option but migration for survival, Anya decided to try a new angle: If so many women and men find themselves in bad jobs because they are forced to take risky offers to survive, why not create an alternative for thema space for choice? Running a local social enterprise could lead to financial stability, improved mental and physical health, and an earned sense of respect within ones household and community.
Bennett has been implementing fossil fuel use reduction strategies and studying natural
resource management for the past five years. After years of working to affect change in the developed world he had an idea: why not get it right the first time with community-scale
renewable energy projects in the developing world?
So we decided to join forces and combine our passions to promote gender equality and clean energy in marginalized communities. We set off for Asia in search of inspiration and understanding. We met with organizations in Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand running community development projects, setting up social enterprises, micro-financing, fighting against sex trafficking, and bringing renewable power to marginalized communities. Everywhere we went people were interested in using renewable power in their communities and creating more jobs at home to reduce the need for migration and improve womens social position (check out our BLOG for more on our adventures).
In Nepal, we experienced power cuts and rolling blackouts firsthand, holding meetings by flashlight and learning how difficult it is to run a business without access reliable energy. We learned from womens organizations providing services for victims of sex trafficking, government biogas promotion projects, youth groups organizing for a public voice, community-run public health and education initiatives and womens microcredit associations. We also met some individuals enthusiastic about starting gender-conscious social enterprises that promote renewable energy. We are grateful for all that we have learned and to all those we met. Our time in Nepal supplied us with the power we need to generate the first sparks to make something happen!
WHAT WE'RE DOING
We're launching Empower Generation (EG)an initiative to advance community sustainability and gender equality through the promotion of renewable energy technology (RET), micro-enterprise and natural resource management.
Promoting the use of RET and gender-conscious social enterprise in Nepal is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. Lots of pieces have to fit together to create benefits for the entrepreneur, their community and the greater ecosystem. By providing project management services and building a a network of grassroots organizations, women's microcredit cooperatives, business trainers, monitors and mentors, we can assemble, piece by piece, opportunities for viable local employment and energy provision in marginalized areas.
Our vision is to become an international hub for local communities interested in RETs and gender-conscious social enterprise. We want to provide project management services, network connections and feasibility research on appropriate technology and scalable business models to partner organizations and clients.
HOW WE'RE STARTING
We've teamed up with ChangeFusion Nepal for
our first pilot-project: creating an Empower Generation Revolving Fellowship
Fund. ChangeFusion Nepal was founded in 2008 to help local youth direct their
vision and skills towards benefiting people and the planet through social
entrepreneurship. ChangeFusion supports young Nepalese with innovative ideas
to solve social and environmental problems but without the money or knowledge
to implement them successfully, using four components: Mentorship, Knowledge,
Funding and Networking.
The money raised in this campaign will become a revolving micro-fund for entrepreneurs to go through ChangeFusions Fellowship programme. The chosen entrepreneur will be provided with knowledge relevant to her enterprise, mentoring and guidance, a seed loan in installments and help to secure any additional subsidies or financing. In addition, ChangeFusion will promote the Fellows business by making connections with appropriate financial management resources and a network of investors, mentors and interested stakeholders.
The outcome for the EG Fellow will be a start-up renewable energy enterprise in their community. The outcome for the community served by the EG Fellows enterprise will be access to affordable and reliable energy for use at home and in shared spaces. The outcome for EG will be the chance to mentor and participate in building a successful pilot business. This will allow us to better learn the logistics of promoting community sustainability and gender equality through RET promotion. EG will grow its network of local partners and stakeholders for future projects and start putting the puzzle together.
The EG Fellow will be required to payback the seed-loan. The repaid loan will be used to fund next years EG Fellow. This means that over the years, our initial investment will change the lives of many. By donating to create this revolving fund you will be part of a continuous cycle of new opportunity for marginalized Nepali youth, advocating for RET, gender equality and social enterprise in their communities.
If the funding goal isnt met then the EG Fellowship will not be created this year and a Nepali entrepreneur will not have the opportunity to participate in ChangeFusion Nepals Fellowship Programme. EG will lose this chance to start our business off the right wayby learning from the experts and the people on the ground and working with a dedicated local entrepreneur as she learns and starts her business.
WHAT WE NEED
For the EG Fellowship
The exact amount (in Nepali Rupees) needed to start a renewable energy enterprise is estimated to be a little higher than other enterprises traditionally funded by ChangeFusion Nepal. The seed-funding amount is dependent on volatile local markets, government subsidies for both entrepreneur and customer, and the local environment and context. The final operating budget for this years EG Fellow will be decided based on their business plan and finalized at ChangeFusions Capacity Building Workshop in Dhulikhel, Nepal on April 15-19. For now, weve settled on $3000US (1.5 times the average budget for previous Fellows).
Since the EG Fellowship will include a revolving fund that will serve several rounds of entrepreneurs, we wanted to set a target fundraising amount that was flexible enough to cover most renewable energy business ideas in Nepal. This is why we decided on $4000US as our fundraising goal for this campaign.
As the EG Fellow is selected and works with mentors to settle on a budget at the Capacity Building Workshop, we will update the campaign on the final amount needed for this years EG Fellow.
For Empower Generation
Any extra funds raised will go towards EGs program expenses. This means helping us participate, collect data and support the EG Fellow. Since EG is not yet an official NGO, we are paying for all our work and travel on our own. We really need to get to Nepal this summer to help out, learn and work side by side with our EG Fellow as she executes her business plan. We also have another larger project in the works for which going to Nepal this summer would allow us to collect the data we need to do a proper feasibility study and ensure access to the grant funding needed to make it happen.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
Become an Empower Ranger
Connect to the Empower Grid and help us spread our ideas. Transmit the energy to your friends and contacts by:
Posting, liking and sharing this link on your Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites.
Liking our video on Vimeo and encouraging your groups and networks to do the same.
Emailing your friends and family with this link and maybe the downloaded video file (available from Vimeo) and encourage them to keep pass the sparks along.
Become part of our Empower Generation team on Indiegogo and promote the campaign.
Become EGs Featured Empower Ranger
-by generating your own sparks and building out the Empower Grid. Spread this campaign to all your networks as fast and frequently as you can. If at least three of your network contacts make donations (make sure they mention you in a comment!), Empower Generation will feature you in their next EG Power Rangers blogpost (coming next month!)
-by signing up to be part of our indiegogo team and helping us share our idea! Let us know if you want to join the campaign as an indiegogo team member and we'll add you right away! Leave a comment or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Your donation will be made to ChangeFusion Nepal, in the name of Empower Generation, minus a transaction service fee (2-3%) and
-a 4% fee from Indiegogo if we reach our fundraising target
-a 9% fee from Indiegogo if we dont reach our fundraising target
ChangeFusion Nepal is a registered NGO in Nepal (Registration Number 350). Unfortunately, they do not hold 5013 registration status in the US or any other country. This means that there is no guarantee your donation will be tax deductible. If you are interested in finding out more about donations made to ChangeFusion Nepal, please contact them at email@example.com . They may be able to help you claim a deduction by providing a letter acknowledging your donation to a Nepali NGO.
If you are interested in supporting your own ChangeFusion Fellow or getting involved in the ChangeFusion Nepal programme some other way please contact the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Team on This Campaign: