WISIONS of Sustainability

Our mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform the production and use of energy so that it effectively enables sustainable development. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

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Outcomes: Research Workshop on the Diffusion of Sustainable Family Farming in Colombia

News from WISIONS posted on August 8th, 2016

A few months ago, the WISIONS team participated in a research workshop on the diffusion of sustainable family farming in Colombia. The workshop took place from 30th March to 1st April 2016 in Riosucio, Caldas province, Colombia and gathered a team of 25 experts from farmers’ associations and non-governmental organisations, as well as scientists from different disciplines.Read moreMinimize

The workshop was conceived as a case-based mutual learning session. This is a transdisciplinary format allowing for the integration of knowledge and experiences gained in different contexts through a mutual learning process on a single case study. In Riosucio, the participants had the opportunity to learn at first-hand about ASPROINCA, an association of indigenous and peasant farmers of Riosucio which has been fostering sustainable family farming practices in Colombia for more than 20 years.

The different units of the workshop aimed to induce mutual learning by transfer and by knowledge extrapolation. Mutual learning by ‘transfer’ implies both the search for lessons from the ASPROINCA experience (which might be useful for other farmers’ associations or other kinds of organisations) and the formulation of recommendations for ASPROINCA based on the knowledge and experiences gained from other cases. The process of ‘extrapolation’ aims to extract recommendations for RedBioCol, which is a network of individuals and organisations committed to contributing to the sustainability of the Colombian family farming sector by promoting the use of organic residues for energy generation.

Some of the key recommendations extracted during the whole workshop are:

At the organisational level of ASPROINCA

  • To examine and improve capacity building strategies for the associates and the ‘promoters’ staff 
  • To examine and improve strategies to increase the political impact, particularly at municipal level
  • To improve and/or resume strategies for establishing appropriate commercialization channels
At the organisational level of other associations or NGOs

  • A revolving fund contributes to the financial autonomy of an association
  • A staff of own 'promoters’ provides autonomy in knowledge building and transfer within the association
  • The promotion and advice of family farmers requires a toolbox of methodologies that can respond to the heterogeneity of farms and families
At the level of the RedBioCOL

  • To maintain and emphasize the integral approach of the network and the solidarity principle guiding its operation
  • To be aware of and link to other regional and national platforms with similar and/or complementary visions
  • To emphasise the role of the network in building an energy system concept alternative to the current one
  • To promote the systematisation of and thorough reflexion on the numerous sustainable family farming experiences available in Colombia 
The report which describes the whole process and includes a collection of the workshop results, is available online here (mainly in Spanish): Report - Workshop on the Diffusion of Sustainably Family Farming in Colombia

Selected Projects & Exchange Activities– SEPS Call in Latin America and the Caribbean 2015

News from WISIONS posted on July 14th, 2016

Following our last SEPS call at the end of 2015, which was focused on Latin America and the Caribbean, we are pleased to communicate the list of the 5 projects and 3 knowledge exchange activities that have been selected for SEPS support:Read moreMinimize

Biogas from Slaughterhouse Waste Water Treatment for Heating Purposes
Country: Ecuador
Project’s Aim: to demonstrate the potential for producing biogas from slaughterhouse wastewater treatment in Ecuador. 

Biogas Demonstration Unit for Sustainable Rural Energy Development in the Humid Pampas of Argentina
Country: Argentina
Project’s Aim: to tackle rural energy scarcity, exploit high volumes of biomass feedstock and address problems arising from waste disposal by installing an anaerobic biodigester in the region of Los Pinos, Balcarce.

An Integrated Biogas-Water System for Sustainable Water Heating and Food Production in Arid Environments
OrganisationUniversidad Icesi
Country: Colombia
Project’s Aim: to address the challenge of water scarcity in mountainous regions of Colombia by introducing an integrated biogas-water system in a local hotel.

Gasification and Biodigestion to Improve Small & Medium Scale Colombian Coffee Farms
Country: Colombia
Project’s Aim: to implement a suite of three technologies: gasification-fuelled cookstoves, tubular plug-flow biodigesters and biogas-fuelled coffee dryers.

Validating a Novel Approach to the Productive Use of Biogas to Empower Medium Scale Dairy and Pig Farmers in Costa Rica
Country: Costa Rica
Project’s Aim: to validate the feasibility of an innovative approach to the productive use of biogas in dairy and pig farms in Costa Rica, avoiding the use of electrical generators.

Community Trainers for Renewable Energy Technology Use in Sustainable Food Production and Water Management
OrganisationCENSAT Agua Viva
Country: Colombia
Exchange Activity’s Aim: a social alliance and collective learning process between NGOs and rural communities from three regions of Colombia (Santander, Córdoba and Antioquia).

“Where the Winds Meet” – Local Construction of Small Wind Turbines in Última Esperanza, Chile
OrganisationAsociación Ciudadana Última Esperanza
Country: Chile
Exchange Activity’s Aim: to create a local knowledge group for the self-construction of small-scale wind turbines in the south of Chile, through an international exchange of knowledge with Argentinian members of the WindEmpowerment network.

Modular Power to the People: Democratising Energy Access through Modular Power Electronics Systems
OrganisationWind Empowerment
Country: Latin America
Exchange Activity’s Aim: to create an open-source power converter that can be used in the implementation of self-built wind turbines as well as for other technologies.

Empowering Rural Entrepreneurs in India

News from WISIONS posted on July 11th, 2016

One of our SEPS projects, which is taking place in Bhamane village, India, aims to demonstrate the viability of a hybrid hydro power plant consisting of a hydrokinetic turbine and photovoltaic panels to power a local rice and flour mill, while also enhancing the population’s wellbeing. Project activities are currently in their third working phase.Read moreMinimize

The project is carried out by Smart Hydro Power GmbH, together with local partners Gram Oorja and Sanjeevani Seva Trust. Gram Oorja was responsible for importing the technology to India and transporting it to Bhamane, as well as for installing the micro-grid at the project site, which was completed in March 2016. 

The system at Bhamane comprises of a 3 kW solar PV system, a turbine and an inverter cabinet. A distribution system handles the electricity supply to 84 households through a so-called service wire. These households have been equipped with LED bulb holders, a socket and energy meters to measure consumption.

Furthermore, a rice mill (50 kg/hour) and flour mill (25 kg/hour) have been installed at Bhamane, meaning that villagers no longer need to travel 20km to mill their produce. The supplier of these systems offered technical operation and maintenance training to two villagers, who are now responsible for running both the micro grid (turbine, solar panels and distribution system) and the mills.

This is the first time that local villagers in Bhamane have had access to a reliable electricity supply and, as such, the excitement level of the villagers was palpable. They volunteered to help with the offloading of materials at the site, as well as with the installation of mounting structures, poles, the turbine and the dam structure. 

The direct impact of the training activities on the level of education of the individuals and the positive effect of the mills on the families’ economic wealth are obvious. A thorough analysis of how the electrification will impact on the distribution of wealth and social structures in Bhamane in the long term is still in progress.

More general information is available on our SEPS project page: Empowering entrepreneurs in rural India in the un-electrified village of Bhamane

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