This enterprising young student at the Spirit of Youth NGOs "Zabaleen Recycling School" in the trash sorter community of Cairo is assembling a traditional flat-plate solar hot water system as part of a U.S. AID funded project that hopes to eventually create "a million solar roofs" and millions of green collar jobs in the poorest sections of his city ( at least 30 of them are being created this year for starters!) He is holding a locally welded grid of copper pipes that will be placed in the aluminum box behind him as the first step in creating a solar absorber.
But there is confusion in funding agencies about just what such an ambitious capacity-building project really entails, and how flexible and innovative to be when adapting to the rapidly rising prices of copper, aluminum and other materials, to the rapid changes in renewable energy technologies world-wide, and to the locals more-than-reasonable demand that stake-holders receive up-to-date training that will prepare them for climate-change/carbon-offset funds and green industries and not leave them behind. When a grant written two years ago finally gets funding after a long bureaucratic wait, and adaptation to current circumstances necessitates changes, should more bureaucracy and more delays be needed to review the way local NGOs spend their funds?
This blog entry explores how the Spirit of Youth has tried to deal with their mandate to build capacity for green collar jobs in solar heating amidst challenges from all sides...
Hanna and Moussa on the roof of the Samaan cafeteria after assembling and installing a modern vacuum tube solar hot water system.
(Local solar engineer Alaa Watidy, president of RSD technologies, donates his time to training local plumbers and craftspeople how to build the latest kind of German-designed/Chinese manufactured solar technology, purchased from his company for $1000 from our US AID grant using the budgeted "Tools, Workshop, Expert and Instruction funds". We learned that instead of paying such experts to come in and do training, as budgeted, it was more cost effective and more of a win-win if we bought the tools that could benefit the community from the experts and then had them come in to do free training. Thus we both "give a man a fish" AND "teach a man to fish" at the same time! After all, teaching a man to fish but not providing him with a fishing pole is a pretty bad way to go about education!)
Can we ever successfully implement our plans to provide safe, clean, economic solar-powered baths in the poor parts of Cairo, Egypt?
I know you've been there too, and sympathize!
Since 1973, when the University of California Press first published Pressman and Wildavsky's "Implementation: How Great Expectations are Dashed in Oakland; or Why it's Amazing that Federal Programs Work at All" we Urban Planning students have been treated to this book's tragic thesis as the bitter pill we have to swallow whenever we venture idealistically out into the world of on-the-ground advocacy for change. As Kenneth Walter famously said in his review in the Journal of Politics, "after finishing this book, readers wonder how any programs ever succeed!"
But like each fresh generation since the OPEC oil crisis of 1973 that started us all thinking about alternatives to fossil fuels, we somehow think "this time it will be different".
We think that Al Gore getting the Nobel Prize, and Leonard DiCaprio setting our clocks to "The 11th Hour" and NPR doing marvelous stories about Solar CITIES will somehow help us all turn the corner on climate change, environmental degradation, suffering and poverty.
How disappointing then, when you are in the midst of a successful implementation, and think you have overcome every local obstacle through stick-to-it-ivity, creativity and blood sweat and tears, when are charging forward, empowered by recent international attention, and suddenly find most of your time and energy must be spent fighting just to keep the project going because some people mysteriously start raising strange obstacles in the very path of implementation you thought they wanted to see.
I write this blog entry in the spirit of Pressman and Wildavsky's book, giving all the details of this particular so other scholars and students of planning and citizens of our lonely planet can "build morals on a foundation of [challenged] hopes" (to paraphrase the author's subtitle; I'm not saying our hopes are "ruined" in this case, unlike the famous Oakland situation, just saying we face obstacles!)
So what's the problem this time?
Another very discouraged and disillusioned email came in from Hanna Fathy this morning, yes, the morning of Weekend Edition, on the very day he should instead be celebrating his success in being broadcast to the world on National Public Radio instead.
(Hanna, in yellow, and Moussa, in green, demonstrate to the head chef of the St. Samaan cafeteria that he doesn't need to use the expensive electric water heater any more. They trained with local solar engineer Alaa Watidy of RSD technologies to assemble and install the 200 liter system on the roof of this public building so that entire community could learn how solar hot water works and benefit directly from it. Now they are being criticized for using $1000 of the $25,000 capacity building and implementation grant for not spending $350 less to build another home-made system. Their answer: "people need to experience and understand the new technologies so that they can innovate ways to improve the old ones. Otherwise people lose faith in the initiative, like they are being treated like they were and will always remain "backwards" or "behind the times.")
In it he states that not only has he and his Solar CITIES team been blocked from continuing their work in Darb El Ahmar (to learn more about that see our last post "The Disneyfication of Darb Al Ahmar and the Battle for the Rooftops of Old Cairo") but now some folks are questioning the way in which the team has gone about implementing the grant we wrote! I reproduce part of Hanna's email here, altering only the names he cites, for privacy issues:
Mr. X and Ms. Y and Ms. Z told me stop to working [in Darb Al Ahmar] , before the public
agree for the houses; just now Mr. V told me that Mrs W. said
that we haven't to buy any professional systems and we had to make the systems out of the
plastic bottles; she said that its not included in the proposal to buy professional
systems so we want to know if it's right and how can we answer her. Please answer now if
(One of the two controversy-provoking modern vacuum tube systems on the roof of the public cafeteria. It cost about $1000 from our grant budget instead of the roughly $650 we spend on materials to build hand-made flat plate solar hot water systems, and was intended to introduce the community to modern vacuum tube technology so they can train for jobs in the emerging solar industry and not be left behind. The systems still need an elevated cold water source (blue barrel) because of insufficient water pressure and sporadic availability in the area. The systems are imported from China, but assembled in Egypt. Until Solar CITIES purchased two of these systems, one for each community, they were only seen on villas and resorts. The poor complained, "why do we always have to get outdated technology? We can never progress if we don't experience the modern things." Flat-plate solar collectors, like the one's we build, have been in Egypt since Sadat had them installed in Government Buildings in the early 1970's)
This is the critical difference between risk taking when you are from a fully developed economy and have credit sources and welfare safety nets, and risk taking when you are from a marginal community in an underdeveloped economy without any of those hedges to fall back on.
The Roh El Shabab Solar CITIES grant is at a critical phase, because the agreement was that they would get the first $12,500 dollars of the $25,000 budget to spend on the first six months of the project, and then, before they would be awarded the second half of the money, they would have to prove they had implemented the grant and created half the 30 systems we promised to build.
Lucky for us, we have.
15 systems are in place, despite the halt on construction in Darb Al Ahmar (the official excuse given is not an objection to the aesthetics, it is now said that we must "prove the solar technology works" due to concerns that "solar hot water systems could leak", as if plumbers haven't been dealing with leaks with every water system everywhere. I remember that solar installers in the U.S. faced similar criticisms, negative propaganda and bad press throughout the 1970s and 80s, so this is nothing new!) But we now have 15 systems that work and do NOT leak.
But that doesn't necessarily mean we will get the rest of the money to continue.
According to Hanna's email, somebody is now objecting that we used $2000 of the grant to purchase and install two professional vacuum tube hot water systems, one in each of the communities (at a cost of $1000 each) so that the team could train on up-to-date systems and so the community could see that solar hot water systems DO in fact work! The other objection, as far as it has been related to Hanna, is that somebody is suggesting we should also be spending the grant money building systems out of plastic bottles and is criticizing that we are building them out of glass, copper and aluminum.
To help Hanna, who naturally lacks the English skills and the long-term experience in hermeneutics necessary to interpret, when confronted by nay-sayers, whether the grant implementation is proceeding according to the "letter of the law", and to help help him and his team quickly, I am reproducing the original grant application in its entirety, making it available for everyone who is interested to read and interpret and providing my arguments and defense for why they are doing EXACTLY the right thing in adapting to circumstances and spending the money the way they are, purchasing and installing two locally supplied professional hot water systems on publicly visible and/or accessible buildings in both communities, and building conventional flat plate collectors for all the private dwellings.
Let the court of public opinion judge if we are implementing this grant in the right way.
In our original grant proposal it stated:
The materials were stated to be: "copper pipes, aluminum, glass, stainless steel, tanks, insulation, silicone, glue, pvc pipe, fittings, valves, temperature gauges, flow meters, argon, gas and arc welding, etc. and per hour charges of local welders, plumbers etc." including "paying
welder/electrician/carpenter/plumber to supervise workshop participants"
In the pictures accompanying the grant proposal we showed the kind of systems we would build and have built; none were made from plastic water bottles. All the systems we built were modeled after the types professional systems that were manufactured and available in Cairo at the time we made the proposal, and my wife and I personally purchased and donated the first professional flat plate training system. Of course the technology has advanced tremendously in the past two years since Al Gore has led the global campaign to fight global warming, and we are trying to stay abreast of these changes so that Egypt doesn't fall behind. So we now train on both flat plate and vacuum tube systems.
While it is true that the water storage barrels we use are indeed recycled plastic barrels, ( a clever local innovation the communities came up with to save money), originally, when we prepared the grant, we were using stainless steel tanks. By the time the grant came
through the cost of copper and steel had doubled, and we had to innovate ways of saving materials and money to fulfill our mandate of building 30 systems, but the original grant said nothing about making systems out of plastic bottles.
(Walid and Adham, two young teachers at the Recycling School, purchased recycled shampoo barrels in Manshiyat Nasser to use as cold and hot water storage tanks for the solar hot water systems they build...)
(... and carry them for miles through the streets because hiring a pick-up truck is too expensive given the limited funds available for the project)
At my own expense, and that of Dr. Moshira Hassan at AUC, we DID succeed in inventing systems that used recycled plastic water bottles instead of copper. Until now however, we have not solved the endurance problem with these systems (they are prone to leaks over time, and we need to find a better sealant) and so we never put one penny of US AID money into those experiments.
(Milad and Mikhail, who are children at the Zabaleen Informal Recycling School created by Dr. Laila Iskander, developed a solar hot water system made out of plastic pipes, recycled plastic water bottles and the shiny insides of potato chips bags, based on their observations of the professional vacuum tube systems we purchased. Such innovative experiments, ironically, were not funded by the U.S. AID development grant)
To fulfill our grant proposal "Section 20. Demonstration of required technical inputs or expertise to complete project" we had to make very sure we weren't compromising community confidence by putting systems on roofs that might turn people away from clean energy technologies.
Without involving Egyptian experts, like Engineer Watidy and the AUC professors, and having a well-made professional systems available for demonstration and to work with, the communities would feel we were trying to sell them on inadequate materials. This has been a problem E.F. Schumacher and others have described in the "Appropriate Technology" field for years. As you know, just because people are poor doesn't mean they want to deal with faulty or outdated technologies that will end up costing them more or creating more problems for their already overburdened lives!
(Alaa Watidy teaches how to assemble a modern vacuum tube solar hot water system on the roof of building 72 near the Ayubbid Wall)
(The professional system is placed near the wall so that both the community members and visitors to the park can experience the latest technology. This practice is now controversial, as some people think solar hot water systems are "ugly" and spoil the view of the ancient poor community called "historic" or "medieval" Cairo when looked at from a stroll in the garden. To avoid admitting the "aesthetic argument" claims were made that our hand-made solar systems might be "unreliable" or "might leak" as a justification for halting the project. The installation of the type of the same professional system that works just fine on rich people's villas, was done in this specific location partially to counteract that "technological" argument that is being used against providing solar hot water to the poor.
Community acceptance is a big part of the sustainability of this project, as you know, and one of the barriers to implementation that can be exploited by those who are not enthusiastic about renewable energy is the fear people have that the systems will leak, spilling water on their roofs (as if rain didn't do the same thing!) . For that reason, since the project is about building local capacity to build renewable energy systems, we have stuck to building traditional flat plate systems that are proven, and train with well made reliable systems (like the vacuum tube system shown above and below) for comparison.
To get community approval to make the project move forward, we had to convince both communities that solar hot water systems were viable and connected to a larger global initiative. Because training solar "green collar " workers is a complex process, we have to break it into two phases -- 1) the building of the solar hot water systems 2) the
building of cold water storage and adequate pressure feed tanks (since water is often unavailable in the community) and the installation and connection with household plumbing.
Both are complex processes.
In order to do the second part of the training, creating a class of plumbers/crafstpeople who could effectively work with solar hot water systems, and in order to make the first part of the training effective, and get community acceptance, we took approximately 10,000 LE from the
budgeted 43,000 LE for "Tools, machinery and workshop space" and "Instruction/Expert/Supervision Time (22,500 each -- see the budget) and used that money to purchase two "professional" solar hot water systems, one for each community, for training and installation.
We purchased the workshop systems from local vendor Alaa Watidy (RSD technologies, Heliopolis) and he and his staff of experts and DONATED THEIR TIME (as I have done all along!) to teaching the local community how to put together, build and install these modern solar hot water systems. We used these systems as WORKSHOP SYSTEMS for instruction
and training, and consider them vital tools. Thus they should be considered fully within our budgetary specifications and should not be a source of conflict.
Only with these two systems for training and display (one on St. Samaan cafeteria roof and the other next to the Ayubbid wall) could we meet our mandate of having "existing systems" that could serve as "growth poles around which interest, confidence and expertise can be
developed." Without these systems, no interest, confidence or expertise can occur, as one cannot train people to build their own systems by copying other hand-made systems - it is like making a bad photocopy of a photocopy.
We feel the local community has to see working, professionally made systems that inspire confidence in the technology or they learn bad technique and fear it is the technology itself that
is bad instead of , perhaps, faulty design of the local system.
By having one fully functioning system in each community that can be admired, and by having the ongoing donated expert supervision and instruction of Engineer Watidy and his staff from RSD technologies, we felt we had insured the sustainability of the project.
Hanna and Mahmoud and the others are feeling discouraged that every step
they take to continue making this great project a success despite
tremendous odds is being threatened by people with much more power
than them. And they sincerely want this to work!
To make things clear and to see how these decisions conform to our original grant proposal, we reproduce section 3:
"SECTION THREE: INFORMATION ABOUT THE BUDGET
12. The total budget:
To be effective in our community, vocational training must start with "on the job training"; people simply cannot afford the time or opportunity costs that come from completely giving up work to participate in educational activities without a realizable outcome.
Thus, we have to pay expert welders, carpenters, machinists, electricians and plumbers to both do work on the systems and to supervise training, and, for the participants, some of the hours spent learning to build the solar hot water systems, during which participants actually build the technology and infrastructure under the supervision of local welders, plumbers, electricians and carpenters, should be considered wage labor costs for them. This model is well established in our community, for example, the Aga Khan foundation, pays its trainees and gives them tools and a certificate at the end of the training."
"We anticipate that building an additional 30 solar hot water systems will cost approximately 135,000 L.E., based on a conservative estimate from the first three completed systems (3,500 L.E. in materials, 1000 L.E. in labor, from start to finish, without including instruction or
installation costs). We think that in the future, with a trained workforce, better machine tools and volume discounts on materials we could build each additional system for a marginal cost of 2000 L.E. , with 1500 L.E. in materials and 500 L.E. in labor per unit and may be able to start a small competitive business, turning our communities into net producers of solar energy and other environmental service systems. "
Happily, the team is on target, having built the first 15 systems and brought them in within the initial cost estimates in the budget. With the second flush of money they will easily achieve our stated goal, once the AKTC approves the new locations. Then we can move on to the
future goal of the project, as stated in the grant proposal:
"Once the craftspeople of our communities know how to build and operate solar hot water systems they will be able to serve not only the rest of the community but the entire region. Our experience has shown us that solar hot water systems are cost effective and efficient, even when built using local tools and materials. A trained work force in renewable energy systems manufacture from neighborhoods already adept at recycling, building and repairing appliances, we believe, will help kick-start Egypt's industrial ecology based economy."
Our method of implementation, we therefore feel, is "fulfills the letter of the law" as stated in the original proposal, and, by adapting to circumstances and meeting the needs and demands of the communities at a time of rising energy and commodity prices, food riots, and deep mistrust of "appropriate technology" solutions that can seem like "shabby hand-me-downs" to people who want to participate actively in the global economy, brings us closer to helping make Cairo a true "Heliopolis" -- a "City of the Sun".
Applications may be sent to the above addresses at any time of the year.
Section One: Information About the Association
1. Full name of the Organization Applying:
Spirit of Youth
Mustafa Hussein (Darb Al Ahmar), Ezzat Naem (Manshiyat Nasser)
Mailing Address: 6 Zuqaq Bahariya, Harith Aslan, Darb Al-Ahmar
Physical Address, Town, District, Region where Project is located:
Al Azhar Park Gate, Darb El Ahmar, Cairo, Egypt
Mobile: Mustafa: 0107201983 Ezzat: 0125823686
Email: Mustafa: Mostafa_planet@Yahoo.com
2. Background, Membership, and objectives of Organization
Spirit of Youth Association for Environmental Services is a newly formed NGO (established June 2004) representing the dreams and aspirations of the youth of the Manshiyat Nasser area.
1) protecting the local environment from pollution through activities such as recycling solid waste materials
2) raising the health and reputation of the garbage collector community
3) improving education and social opportunities for the residents.
3. List the Organization's past and present projects and how they have aided in developing the community and district:
Projects to date have included 1) the “irregular education school” where children who cannot attend normal school can get the same skills while continuing to contribute to the family income, 2) awareness campaigns for source separation of waste materials and 3) training for brick makers in ‘Arab Abu Sa’id in Helwan.
4. Has your Organization received any financial aid from other Embassies or International donors? If yes, which Embassies or donors?
A past donation has been received from an Italian Aid agency and the Proctor and Gamble Shampoo Company.
SECTION TWO: INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT
5. Description of the Project:
Solar C3ITIES (Connecting Cairo Communities Integrating Technology for Industrial Ecology Systems) is a project undertaken by the Manshiyat Nasser/Darb El Ahmar Communities to bring together craftsmen and craftswomen, artisans, carpenters, welders, electricians and plumbers to build and introduce grassroots sustainable development infrastructure and technology through a new kind of vocational training program.
The C3ITIES pilot program began in the spring of 2006 by training a small group of children and adults from both of our communities to work cooperatively to create 3 fully functional solar hot water systems built completely out of local materials – even recycled solid waste – using local labour and expertise. These three units now sit on top of 2 residences in Darb El Ahmar and the Zabaleen recycling school in Muqattam, Manshiyat Nasser. A fourth system is under construction on the roof of a multi-occupant apartment building in Jumhuriya street neighborhood where Gamal Khudra lives. Gamal is one of the welders who used to live in Manshiyat Nasser and is now a contributor of in-kind material, training and labour to the project.
6. Purpose of the Project:
The purpose of the project is to build local capacity and create a knowledge and resource base that can “help our communities to help ourselves” and improve our environment, infrastructure and services using sustainable, cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and energy efficient technologies and materials. Our goal is to use the ongoing local construction of renewable energy systems as the basis for teaching vital vocational skills such as carpentry, welding, plumbing, metalwork and bending, computer aided design (CAD), internet-based research and micro-economics. The finished renewable energy appliances (solar hot water systems initially) will serve as a flagship in our communities (Manshiyat Nasser/Darb El Ahmar) for inspiring the area to use its skills and improve upon them, creating a more livable environment in the old city and its surroundings.
7. Organization of the Project:
The NGO "Spirit of Youth" is a registered Egyptian Non-Governmental Organization. It is a local initiative founded in Manshiyat Nasser. The C3ITIES renewable energy vocational training project that Spirit of Youth embarked on in the spring of 2006 involves many young community leaders and skilled craftspeople, from the recycling experts among the Zabaleen to the manufacturing experts, welders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and artisans of Manshiyat Nasser, Darb El Ahmar and Jumhuriya Street. Based at the “Irregular Edcuation School” in Muqattam and utilizing small workshops in Manshiyat Nasser and Darb Al Ahmar, it has used existing informal and formal networks that link the communities to widen its circle of opportunities and effectiveness. The Spirit of Youth C3ITIES project has advisors from the American University in Cairo, the German Technical Development Organization (GTZ), and the Egyptian Association for the Protection of the Environment. Spirit of Youth has chosen Mustafa Hussein, a 23 year old carpenter originally from Manshiyat Nasser, now living in Darb Al Ahmar, whose father owns a small workshop in Manshiyat Nasser, to run the program. Mustafa created C3ITIES with backing and assistance from professors, teachers and students from AUC's Science Department and Environmental Science Club, UCLA's Institute of the Environment, and the Zabaleen Recycling School. Working in tandem with teachers from the Irregular School, Mustafa has been the chief organizer, designer, instructor and builder of the existing solar hot water systems – the first in the area.
8. The duration and timeline of the proposal activities:
This project aspires to train small teams of residents from our communities in the vocational skills pertinent to the design, construction, maintenance and repair of environmentally friendly technologies and systems. In our first year we plan to increase the number of trained participants by building an additional 30 solar hot water systems. These systems will be placed on the rooftops of the participants homes. This will act as a positive incentive for program participation since up to 60 % of the families in our neighborhoods have no hot water service at all. By using vocational training to build actual infrastructure that satisfies a real community need we thus increase the relevance and usefulness of our project.
It is expected from experience that a local team can be trained and produce an average of 3 systems per month using the local facilities in which the first 3 systems were built. Each month a different team of 3 to 4 individuals whose homes lack hot water provision will be invited to work with us in the building of their own family system. Graduates of the training become trainers of trainers. Thus, including the introductory theory and design classes and the system evaluation and follow-up, C3ITIES will have trained over a hundred individuals and produced and installed at least 30 “solar roofs” within approximately 49 weeks, a little less than 1 year from the start. Training of new team members (capacity building) and construction would begin immediately upon receipt of the funding, which would principally go for locally sold construction materials and building and installation costs (the fees of welders, plumbers, carpenters, glass cutters). We would hope to begin in December of 2006 and finish by December of 2007.
9. Beneficiaries (who and what number):
Beneficiaries will be over 100 individuals and at least 30 families who currently have no hot water service. Recent surveys by the GTZ and the Aga Khan foundation reported that in both communities up to 3/4 of the residents currently have no hot water service. This is principally a burden on women, who must take care of bathing the children and washing the clothes. It is expected that subsidizing the construction and installation of solar hot water systems would lessen the burden on women and improve their ability to keep their homes clean and their families safe. It is also known that improved hygiene and appearance from more frequent washing improves job possibilities.
The lack of hot water also produces health risks since the neighborhoods have inadequate sewage and waste removal infrastructure and the streets are frequently sources of contamination. Water over 55 degrees has been shown to kill bacteria.
Beneficiaries will be picked on both a needs-based and willingness-to-contribute basis. Those with the greatest need who agree to make in-kind contributions (according to the 30/70 model already in place for home renovations in Darb Al Ahmar) will be selected for the first 30 systems. Labor costs and material donations will be compensated for by owning the system after it is built.
It is expected that after this enough local capacity will have been built, and interest and demand generated to justify further investments. Eventually we hope that the entire communities can benefit, so that everyone has efficient, reliable, inexpensive, safe and environmentally healthy hot water.
10. Location of the project:
Muqattam Hills, Manshiyat Nasser, in the area surrounding our first demonstration solar hot water system at the Zabaleen school; Darb Al Ahmar renovation zone, in the area surrounding our second demonstration solar hot water systems at multioccupant building 72 and the individual unit belonging to the family of Mustafa Hussein; Jumhuriya street neighborhood, in the area surrounding the multioccupant apartment building where Gamal Khudr, a welder on our team, is installing our 4th system and where some of the material (copper pipes, tools, insulation) are procured. The existing systems will serve as "growth poles" around which interest, confidence and expertise can be developed. The systems should be built in roughly concentric rings around the sites of original installations, until the communities in C3ITIES are connected by visible solar hot water roofs.
11. About the project area:
Manshiyat Nasser has been identified as a Type B informal settlement, Darb Al Ahmar has been identified as a Type C slum and Jumhuriya Street is an entrepreneurial enterprise zone where tools and construction materials are made and sold and where small workshops do light manufacturing and repair of refrigerators, water coolers, air conditioners, and electric and gas hot water systems. The residents of Manshiyat Nasser and Darb El Ahmar shop for materials and outsource work to Jumhuriya street and there is a considerable informal flow of materials, people and expertise between the three communities. Up to this point, however, there has been no project connecting our communities, and no way to formalize the connections. The Spirit of Youth C3ITIES project is the first to make use of the informal relations between our areas and focus them on a forward thinking agenda for improving the housing stock, services and infrastructure of our city.
SECTION THREE: INFORMATION ABOUT THE BUDGET
12. The total budget:
To be effective in our community, vocational training must start with “on the job training”; people simply cannot afford the time or opportunity costs that come from completely giving up work to participate in educational activities without a realizable outcome. Thus, we have to pay expert welders, carpenters, machinists, electricians and plumbers to both do work on the systems and to supervise training, and, for the participants, some of the hours spent learning to build the solar hot water systems, during which participants actually build the technology and infrastructure under the supervision of local welders, plumbers, electricians and carpenters, should be considered wage labor costs for them. This model is well established in our community, for example, the Aga Khan foundation, pays its trainees and gives them tools and a certificate at the end of the training.
We anticipate that building an additional 30 solar hot water systems will cost approximately 135,000 L.E., based on a conservative estimate from the first three completed systems (3,500 L.E. in materials, 1000 L.E. in labor, from start to finish, without including instruction or installation costs). We think that in the future, with a trained workforce, better machine tools and volume discounts on materials we could build each additional system for a marginal cost of 2000 L.E. , with 1500 L.E. in materials and 500 L.E. in labor per unit and may be able to start a small competitive business, turning our communities into net producers of solar energy and other environmental service systems.
Our budget assumes material and labor at the rate we experienced building individual systems. If we can get volume discounts we can build more than thirty systems and train more than 100 people.
13: The local contribution (amount and type of contribution):
In kind: As a prerequisite for joining the initiative, and receiving the completed solar hot water system, families are expected to donate labor, materials, workshop space, tools and assistance valued at approximately 30% of the system cost. The principal local contribution besides space and tools is expected to be the donated time, labor and expertise of the “trainer of trainers”. Each team member, after completing a system, becomes a “trainer of trainers, supervised by community vocational experts, insuring sustainability of the project after the initial funding is used up. The feeding of workers and provision of transportation and accounting services are also considered in-kind contributions. Thus we expect roughly 1500 L.E. worth of in kind contributions per system (750 LE value in workshop space and tool rental, 750 LE value in instructional time -- estimating 1 day drilling and welding copper pipes, 1 day building collector boxes, 2 days stand construction, 1 day constructing heat absorber fins, 1 day painting, 1 day installing glass, 1 day installing and insulating tank and 2 days plumbing – 10 days total at 75 LE value per instructional day), or 45,000 LE for the 30 systems.
Cash: Those who would prefer to give cash rather than offer their time or labor and assistance in order to get a completed system on their roof, are expected to contribute money, again, amounting to roughly 30% of the system cost. So far, Dr. Jeffrey Miller of AUC has put 10,000 L.E. into the construction of the first systems. We anticipate other amounts from our institutional partners if we receive the grant funding, to ensure that we can finish the project.
14: The amount requested:
We are requesting the maximum grant level, 142,500 L.E.
15. Breakdown of Proposed Budget:
Items Cost per unit Total cost SDA contribution Grantee contribution
30 Solar hot water system materials 3500* 105,000 102, 000 3000
30 Solar hot water system labor costs 1000* 30, 000 30,000 0
Tools, machinery and workshop space, transaction costs (purchasing time and transportation) (overhead)
750 (equivalent) 22,500 0 22,500
Instruction/Expert Supervision time **
(overhead) 750** (equivalent) 22,500 10,000 12,500
* Full cost breakdown available upon request (i.e. per unit costs of copper pipes, aluminum, glass, stainless steel, tanks, insulation, silicone, glue, pvc pipe, fittings, valves, temperature gauges, flow meters, argon, gas and arc welding, etc. and per hour charges of local welders, plumbers etc. )
** This figure includes paying welder/electrician/carpenter/plumber to supervise workshop participants
We believe that our project will be self-sustaining because demand for solar hot water and other energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies is growing at an accelerating rate. Once the craftspeople of our communities know how to build and operate solar hot water systems they will be able to serve not only the rest of the community but the entire region. Our experience has shown us that solar hot water systems are cost effective and efficient, even when built using local tools and materials. A trained work force in renewable energy systems manufacture from neighborhoods already adept at recycling, building and repairing appliances, we believe, will help kick-start Egypt's industrial ecology based economy.
SECTION FOUR: REQUIREMENTS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS:
17. Brief environmental review (if involving sanitation, solid waste, etc.)
Our communities not only suffer from a lack of hot water heaters, but most areas have inadequate water pressure, making it impossible to use gas heaters. Many of us suffer from insecure income streams, making high cost electric water heaters financially risky. Inadequate or poor wiring also make electric heaters dangerous. Furthermore, the community has a poor sewage and waste disposal infrastructure, which increases the need for bathing, yet we do not have reliable ways of providing hot water to our families. Solar hot water systems with their own thermosiphoning storage tanks can solve many of these problems.
18. Brief plans or drawings if construction is anticipated.
19. Obtaining required permits from local authorities.
Our work was presented at the 2006 San Diego Energy Conversion Conference sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In attendance was Dr. Essam Khalil, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Cairo, who told us that he would help with the proper permits and municipality connections.
20. Demonstration of required technical inputs or expertise to complete project.
Our first three systems, built by Darb Al-Ahmar carpenter Mustafa Hussein, Jumhuriya street copper welder Gamal Khudr, Zabaleen school instructors Adham Fawzy and Medhat Sharkawy, along with the school children, and local plumbers and welders from all three communities, under our supervision, demonstrate our capabilities (see photos of completed systems above).
As technical advisers, donating their time and expertise, we have UCLA Ph.D. Urban Planning student Taha Rassam Culhane, AUC Professor of Engineering Salah El Haggar, AUC Professor of Physics Salah Arafa, Wadi Environmental Science Center Instructor Hala Moheddin, former AUC Environmental Science professor Jeff Miller, AUC Master's Student in Industrial Ecology Lama El Hatow, Egyptian Society of Scientist's and Engineers director Alaa Watidy and San Diego based Solar Thermal Engineer Kurt Lund.
21. Demonstration of capability to operate and maintain the project (particularly if equipment will be financed. )
Spirit of Youth has embraced the C3ITIES initiative and will carry its benefits forward past the initial 30 solar roofs. Our initiative has been embraced by planner Seif El Rachidi of the Aga Khan restoration, who has given us permission to build our systems in the restoration area of Darb Al Ahmar, and by the GTZ, who have given us permission to build our systems in Manshiyat Nasser. Both have told us that they agree this is a much needed initiative for our communities, and will help to oversee its continued success and expansion.
The original grant application form is reproduced here:
USAID Small Development Activities Cairo, Egypt
A special fund to assist communities with the development of small scale, local initiative projects is available through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Egypt. This fund, known as the Small Development Activities program, assists limited, grassroots and community run efforts in Egypt.
The goal of the Small Development Activities program is to improve the basic economic and social conditions of the community or village. Because the needs of each community vary widely, the assistance is based on the local circumstances. Previously approved projects include: infrastructure improvements, the establishment of carpentry workshops, computer and vocational training centers, as well as programs for goat raising.
Small Development Activities
To qualify, a project must respond to a pressing community need and result in a lasting improvement to the community. The associations must start the project themselves and donate labor, material, or money. The associations must show that they can complete the project in less than one year and continue to maintain it in the years ahead.
There is no ideal Small Development Activities project. However, successful projects share similar features. Small Development Activities should:
- Respond to community needs and plan to improve basic economic and social conditions of the local community;
- Show local initiative and involvement
- Benefit a substantial number of people in the community;
- Involve women as participants and beneficiaries;
- Involve a significant contribution of labor, money or materials by members of the local community;
- Be within the means of the local community to operate, maintain and sustain; and
- Be able to implement the activity within the one-year agreement period.
While it is not possible to list all restrictions, Small Development Activities funds may not be used for the following:
- Start-up costs;
- On-going administrative or operating costs, such as salaries and rent;
- Purchasing vehicles and office equipment;
- Religious activities;
- Activities that receive USAID funds or have recently received a Self-Help grant.
The grant ranges between US $10,000 and US $25,000 (currently about LE 57,000 and LE 142,500 at a 5.7 exchange rate).
TYPES OF PROJECTS
- Small-scale infrastructure projects
- Improvement of the position of women
- Improvement of the living condition of disadvantaged children
- Vocational training
- Benefiting the environment
HOW TO APPLY
If your organization has a project that falls within the guidelines of the Small Development Activities program and you wish to apply for a grant, complete the application form and send to:
Fax: 516-0678 or
Mail: Small Development Activities Program
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
P.O. Box 32, Maadi
Postal Code: 11435
Further information can be obtained from the USAID by contacting the Small Development Activities Program assistant by phone 522-6754/6755/7000
Email: CairoSDA.PSD@usaid.gov/ firstname.lastname@example.org
or through the website: www.Egypt.USAID.gov .